Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Turning Your Passion Into a Business @ CSUF Startup [EVENT]

CSUF Startup Incubator Jonny May and Phillip Stinis

Come see Jonny May at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Irvine on Wednesday, June 20 at 6pm! (Jonny is the one on the right)

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to listen to a piano virtuoso and learn the secrets to entrepreneurial success but on Wednesday, June 20 you will get that opportunity! If you have followed this blog in the last couple of years you will know who I am talking about but for those of you who are uninitiated the piano playing entrepreneur I am talking about is Jonny May ’17. We will be welcoming Jonny in at 6pm at our Irvine location. Details are below and if you plan on attending please register at our Eventbrite page.

Why not make a business out of your passion?

That is exactly what CSUF Entrepreneurship graduate Jonny May has done. He has created a thriving subscription-based business out of his passion for piano playing called Piano with Jonny. On his site he has created an extensive library of lessons and educational materials for all levels of learners but it all started from his passion for playing the piano.

When Jonny was young, he took to playing the piano. He would practice for hours on end and as he grew older he became a very good pianist. So good, in fact, that he became Disneyland’s youngest pianist and he has been featured in venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and American Idol. But Jonny, like I expect is the case with you, wanted more.

Along the way Jonny also developed a passion for teaching others how to play the piano. He had many students but Jonny is only one person. In entrepreneur lingo, that meant he was not scalable. So Jonny decided to take the leap into becoming an entrepreneur and searched for ways to teach more people and help them develop the same passion for the ivories that he has.

That’s why Jonny created Piano with Jonny: to help others turn their passion for the piano into something more. And at this talk at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Irvine, Jonny will go over the many lessons he has learned at Cal State Fullerton and through entrepreneurial trial and error and help you learn how you can turn your passion into a scalable business.

And Jonny will also treat attendees to his piano playing as well! This is a can’t miss event at the CSUF Startup Incubator and we hope to see you there!

Directions and Parking

Parking is available on the Irvine campus for a fee. For more information about parking on the CSUF Irvine campus, please go here:


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: more details on how CSUF

Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:

What I Wish I Knew When I Started Up my 1st Company – CSUF Startup Event

CSUF Startup Talk

[This event is on Wednesday, June 6 at the CSUF Irvine campus. For information about reserving your seat and on how to park please make sure to visit the event page.]

You don’t know what you don’t know – that’s just the fact when it’s your first time starting anything new, let alone a startup. Avoid costly mistakes and set yourself up for success by learning from our mentors who have been there and done that. In this complimentary event, you will be learning from entrepreneurs, and afterwards, you will be able to network with our staff and resident mentors who can help coach you in starting your business.

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CSUPERB: CSU I-Corps July 2018 Summer Sprint – Extended Deadline June 25, 2018 at 5pm

Science BusinessThe 2018 CSU I-Corps™ Summer Sprint Program deadline has been extended to Monday, June 25, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

The Summer Sprint is a 5-day, in-person, full-time biotechnology entrepreneurship education workshop at San Diego State University July 15-20, 2018; projects should be completed by July 31, 2018.

With funding from NSF, CSUPERB will cover participants’ travel to and from San Diego, as well as lodging and meals at San Diego State University during the Summer Sprint. Teams also win $1,000 microgrants to help advance their research-based ideas. Follow-on funding ($50,000) from the NSF is available to teams who complete the workshop.

More information about team formation and the application process can be found here: Continue reading

Congratulations CSUF Graduates! – CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider

Rachel Herzog '18

Rachel Herzog ’18

To make sure that you get all the updates from the CSUF Entrepreneurship community make sure to sign up for the weekly CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

This past weekend Cal State Fullerton held its graduation ceremonies. I, along with all the professors, mentors, donors, judges, guest speakers, and staff, are proud to have had a part in the education of these graduates and I am very optimistic about their futures.
While all these graduates deserve special recognition for the work they have put in to earn their degrees I want to single out one in particular, Rachel Herzog. In addition to doing very well in the CSUF Startup Competition with her partner, Vanessa Ganaden, Rachel was a President’s Scholar and she earned additional honors at graduation, including the Mihaylo College Executive Council Outstanding Student Award and the Outstanding Senior Award from the Alumni Association. We posted an interview with her that delves into her academic career, what these awards mean to her, as well as her plans for the future. Well done Rachel!
Congratulations to all the graduates! And thank you to all of the professors, mentors, guest speakers, judges, donors, and staff that make a CSUF Entrepreneurship education special.
John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting, & CSUF Startup Incubator

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Choosing the Optimal Go-To-Market Strategy for your Startup – CSUF Startup Event this Wednesday

The Road to SalesThe number one metric for just about every entrepreneur should be sales. Without sales, your startup will not amount to much in the long run. So, how do you start getting sales? Attend this free seminar this Wednesday at 6pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Irvine. To register for this event and to get parking instructions and directions please go to our event page.

Sell! Sell! Sell!


You’ve got a great product or service idea. You know the customers are going to love it! But how are you going to get in in the hands of the buyers? Do you need a salesforce, marketing budgets to drive web traffic, brand awareness campaigns or a combination of it all? In this discussion we will lay out the parameters that will help you make the proper go to market decision.

Discussion topics with relevant examples:

Are you replacing an existing solution or creating a new market?

What is your ICP and what do you say to them to make them act?

How much up-front investment will you need to generate awareness?

Are there platforms you can leverage for sales/distribution?

What is the typical sales cycle?

Who is involved in the buying process?

Is there a partner eco-system you can utilize?

Andrew Meyer will be leading this far reaching discussion by drawing on decades of experience as an entrepreneur and executive. From LinkedIn: High-impact, results-driven business leader with a proven history of leading software and tech companies through explosive growth leading to high profile exits including IPOs. Transformations have included start-ups through mature businesses in security, SaaS, CRM and mobile. Key skills in general management, marketing and sales, talent recruitment and refinement, and public relations.

We hope to see you there!

Directions and Parking

You will need to purchase a parking permit to park on this campus. Our office is located in the building at 1 Banting, which is the main building for Western State Law School. You cannot park in their parking lot, you will need to park on the Cal State Fullerton side. Information for parking, including how to purchase a parking pass for your meeting, can be found here:

CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Launches!

Ayisha Fareed and Nick Panhwar, the founders of Team Knit, a CSUF Startup Incubator Resident

Ayisha Fareed and Nick Panhwar, the founders of Team Knit, a CSUF Startup Incubator Resident

In this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider (if you haven’t already subscribed you should!) Director Jackson talks about CSUF Startup Incubator resident TeamKnit’s launch, remembering Steve Forell, a rundown of all the events and office hours we will be hosting in the coming weeks, and links to other posts.

Let me tell you about TeamKnit, a startup that is being launched out of the CSUF Startup Incubator today.

Founded by the husband and wife team of Nick Panwhar and Ayisha Fareed, TeamKnit’s mission is to revolutionize the way that teams collaborate. Their critical insight into team communications that I think separates their offering from all the rest on the market is that they bring together all the components of collaboration into a single, seamless solution. These components are: communication, execution, engagement, and knowledge.

We go into greater detail about their startup in a post we recently published but the key takeaway for me in regards to the success they have been able to achieve so far is that they have a strong team of founders and engineers working on TeamKnit. Nick has a strong background in sales, Ayisha is a fantastic engineer, and they both have experience managing and running companies. Looking at it this way, it’s no surprise that this strong team has created a product that will help build stronger teams.

This exciting news is tempered by the fact that last week a dear friend of mine since high school and a member of our CSUF Entrepreneurship community, Steve Forell, passed away unexpectedly. Steve is survived by his wife, Sheri, and three children: Megan Forell, Randy Forell, and Crystal Tousignant.

John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting, & CSUF Startup Incubator

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CSUF Startup wins Pasadena Angels Competition

Alan Cerna and Branden Wells First Place in CSUF Startup Competition

Fresh off their win at the CSUF Startup Competition Alan Cerna (left) and Branden Wells (right) have gone on to win a pitch competition hosted by the Pasadena Angels. Well done guys!

Fresh off their win at the CSUF Startup Competition Alan Cerna and Branden Wells have gone on to win a pitch competition hosted by the Pasadena Angels. Their philanthropic startup Apprentice Builds’ mission of getting at-risk youth off the street and into auto shop won over a field of a dozen other startups.

What was special about this win, and shows the character of these two, is that there were no financial awards or promises of any kind. I firmly believe that one of the key things that separates entrepreneurs who go on to accomplish great things and those that don’t is the ability to show up and take advantage of opportunities that others overlook. Alan and Branden certainly have done this time and again.

Even though they did not take home any cash prizes they did, as Alan pointed out, get exposure for their business and contacts with the Pasadena Angels community that can help them out in the future. Alan summed up the experience of pitching to the Pasadena Angels by saying “It’s about the value you bring to the table and the impact that your idea will [have] on others.”

Alan and Branden will next be at the Road to a Better Future car show this Saturday where they will meet with potential sponsors of Apprentice Builds. This event is at the Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana and is open to the public. If you’re a fan of hot rods or just want to meet these two CSUF entrepreneurs I hope you can attend this event.

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