Tag Archives: #CSUFEntrepreneur

A CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Launches!

aidtreeBen Yip is the Resident from the CSUF Startup Incubator who has now launched the alpha platform for his company Aidtree and he is aiming to revolutionize philanthropy! It’s a great story and we hope there will be a lot more to come from him in the near future. You can read more about Aidtree, see upcoming events and office hours, and other ways to get involved in the CSUF Entrepreneurship community in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

I’m looking forward to the start of the semester in a couple of weeks because with the metaphorical ringing of school bells chiming across campus once again comes a lot of activity. Students will fill classrooms once again, CSUF Consulting projects will start shortly thereafter, and student clubs will get into full swing. The beginning of every semester is an exciting time because you don’t know what exactly will happen over the next four months but you can be certain that a lot will happen.

Four months is a long time in the life of a startup as well. One such startup, a former Resident of the CSUF Startup Incubator, is Aidtree. Last week, we published a story explaining how Aidtree’s goal is to revolutionize philanthropy through the purchase of coupons. The founder, Ben Yip, is a passionate member of the community and saw many worthy causes struggle to stay afloat for a lack of funds. He knew that causes like student clubs or local schools could accomplish so many more great things if only they had more resources.

One day he had an epiphany: Why not create a virtuous circle connecting businesses, individuals, and worthy causes through the sale of coupons on an easy-to-use online platform? On Aidtree’s alpha platform you can now purchase coupons to some of the establishments you already frequent and the really cool part is that up to 90% of the amount you pay for a coupon goes to a worthy cause.

The platform is simple to use. All you have to do is go onto the Aidtree platform, pick a cause (the Center for Entrepreneurship is currently listed and many more causes, including student clubs at CSUF, will be added over time), browse the available coupons (Titan Shops currently has a number of fantastic ones available), pick the ones you want to purchase, and complete your order. The price you pay for each coupon is usually half of the value of the coupon so if you purchase a $10 coupon you will only pay $5.

What Ben is attempting to accomplish with the Aidtree platform is the creation of a virtuous circle. Causes receive a continuous flow of funds from the purchase of coupons from businesses who have a desire to create a closer relationship with their customers who get a discount from the purchases they would normally make while also supporting the causes that are near and dear to their hearts. It’s a win-win-win scenario.

It’s exciting being a part of a startup like Aidtree and you too can join Aidtree by adding your business or cause to the platform or by purchasing coupons there. I look forward to a time when many more worthy causes have the resources they need and I believe Aidtree can help make that into a reality.

Sincerely,

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

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How a CSUF Startup Incubator Resident will Revolutionize Philanthropy

170107-aidtree

Think about all of the purchases you make with coupons. You have probably used a coupon to buy a meal, to do an activity while on vacation, or maybe even when getting a procedure like Lasik surgery done. Now, what if I told you that there is a company that is a CSUF Startup Incubator Resident that has created a new way to use coupons that will support your favorite causes, charities, and nonprofits?

That company is called Aidtree. At its core, Aidtree has created a virtuous circle connecting businesses, consumers, and the causes that they support. A primary use case for Aidtree would be as a supplement for school fundraisers. With Aidtree, causes passively run fundraisers nonstop. Every time someone who supports a cause buys a coupon on Aidtree a large portion of that purchase price goes to the cause of their choice, the supporter receives a discount, and by participating in this philanthropic business model local businesses get valuable PR that helps to create goodwill in their community. As Aidtree founder Ben Yip says, “Aidtree creates a win-win-win scenario.”

Aidtree’s mission is to connect the purchases you make with the causes you support. But how does it work?  Ben’s simple description is, “Where AirBnB is for hotels and Uber for taxis, Aidtree is for cause giving. Businesses create coupons, which are purchased by the cause supporter. Money is then split with up to 90% of the coupon purchase price going to the cause.” The payment system used for Aidtree is the same that is used by shared-economy platforms like PayPal. Ben, however, considers Aidtree to be shared-philanthropy.

One such community is California State University, Fullerton. The Center for Entrepreneurship has already signed up as a cause, Titan Shops has posted coupons on Aidtree’s alpha site, and many other organizations on campus are working towards joining the site as well as either a cause or business. Additionally, a handful of independent businesses already offer coupons on Aidtree’s alpha site and there are many more businesses and causes that will be added to the site soon.

While still early in the development process, Ben has come a long way in launching Aidtree through his own hard work and with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator. Before joining the Incubator earlier this year, Ben had made a lot of progress in creating the site and started laying the groundwork for bringing causes, businesses, and customers into the Aidtree community.

Once Ben joined the CSUF Startup Incubator we helped him put his efforts into overdrive. As is the case with all of our Residents, we helped Ben in many ways, including: working with Ben to fundamentally understand his market, conducted a top down review of his website, assistance with writing a business plan, conducting long interviews with potential users of his platform, creating a business model canvas, and help in forming strategic partnerships on campus.

A key partnership is with the CSUF Philanthropic Foundation. Funds from Aidtree for a CSUF club or charity are automatically deposited into a cause’s account, which means no checks or tracking for cause leaders. This also allows CSUF causes to continuously raise funds in addition to their usual events. Ben has also worked closely with students at Cal State Fullerton and with other community organizations on the launch of Aidtree.

Ben’s plan incorporates initially working with the clubs and local businesses around CSUF. Club supporters can help their organization raise money with purchases on the growing list of businesses on the Aidtree Coupon Network. A great fundraising benefit will be for clubs with smaller memberships. Those members can use their social networks to promote their club, promoting the discounts, and fundraising.

It is exciting to watch the growth that Ben and Aidtree are experiencing while working at the CSUF Startup Incubator. We are confident that Aidtree will revolutionize the way causes operate so that they can focus more of their time on doing what really matters: helping their communities.


#CSUF #CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

How A CSUF Entrepreneurship Alumnus Follows His Passion

Geoff Pascual '16 creating art and a business

Geoff Pascual ’16 creating art and a business

Happy New Year everybody! As you will read in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider the New Year is the perfect time to make this resolution: Do something you are passionate about every day. This may only lead you to starting a hobby that you thoroughly enjoy or, as was the case with Geoff Pascual ’16 it can lead you into creating a business that you are thoroughly passionate about. Either way, your life will be enriched.

Happy New Year!

Since this is the time of the year for resolutions let me make one simple recommendation: Resolve to pursue something you are passionate about every day. Even if you only have a few spare moments during a day you will be astonished to find out how all those small actions can become something much bigger in just a few weeks, let alone months.

Geoff Pascual ’16 is the embodiment of this ethos. From a young age he had a passion for creating art. He diligently honed his craft over the years and became quite good. Family and friends would frequently make glowing comments about his creations and painting was a fulfilling part of his life.

His passion for water color sustained him artistically but with some encouragement from his sister and the lessons he learned as a CSUF Entrepreneurship student his passion compelled him into taking the risk of selling his paintings to the public. That has proven to be a good move as Geoff has realized a good deal of success as a commercial artist and as a Resident of the CSUF Startup Incubator it is my hope that we can help him achieve even more.

We recently published an article titled Pop Art for a New Generation that goes into a lot more detail about Geoff’s background and how he has become an entrepreneur. And, even though the giving season is behind us, you should go to his site, Pascual Productions, if only to see the amazing pop art pieces he has already painted. (You can also see a number of Geoff’s prints at the CSUF Startup Incubator!)

Geoff’s passion for art drove him to create a burgeoning art business and it all started with small but consistent actions. Doing something you’re passionate about sounds like a pretty good resolution to me.

Sincerely,

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

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Pop Art for a New Generation

Geoff Pascual '16 creating art and a business

Geoff Pascual ’16 creating art and a business

Children are taught to embrace life and experience different activities and hobbies like art. For most most people, art is a hobby and for those who pursue art as a vocation many find commercial success elusive. Cal State Fullerton alumni Geoff Pascual ’16 has already had some commercial success with his company Pascual Productions through which Geoff sells his pop art originals and prints online and at conventions. Earlier this year, Geoff entered the CSUF Startup Incubator where, with the help of Incubator staff and mentors, Geoff explored new avenues to promote and sell his creations, one of which is close to coming to fruition (more on this on a later date!).

Starting from a young age, Geoff was a skilled artist and received compliments from teachers and students who admired his work. “I started to see my identity as an artist form in elementary school. After getting a lot of positive feedback of my artwork from my friends, I wanted to get better. My classmates would ask me to draw them stuff and I would basically draw whatever they wanted.”

As he continued to grow and increase his skills, Geoff began to branch out and test various mediums for his art. Through a process of trial and error, he found his niche after working with water colors. While water colors are difficult to master, the challenge that it provided for Geoff only helped to make him a better artist.

“I first tried a bunch of different mediums: oil, acrylic, tattooing, markers, spray paint, sculpting, etc. and watercolor was the medium I decided to stick with. I enjoy watercolor because it’s the most difficult. You have to manipulate it to do what you want it do. Traditional art in general has a very alive feel to it,” said Pascual.

As a young artist just entering college, Geoff continued to improve his work while adding more pieces to his ever growing portfolio. With the knowledge attained from his classes, and the support of his sister, Geoff decided to follow through on the next step of his dream and began selling his artwork online. Unbeknownst to him at the time, selling his artwork online was the best move that Geoff could have made.

“I wanted to start selling my artwork online using Etsy. It prompted me to have to think of a store name, so with the help of my older sister I came up with Pascual Productions. At that time, I hadn’t intended to or even expected Pascual Productions to be where it is today, and I’m glad I stuck with it,” said Pascual.

By using the knowledge he attained from his entrepreneurship classes at CSUF, Geoff was able to make his work stand out from the competition. These tactics became invaluable as Geoff continued to build Pascual Productions so that his work reflected the lessons and ideals he was taught as a business major.

“Being a business major in and of itself sets me apart as an artist. It’s a decision I made for myself that worked for me, and I’m positive that my time in business school has contributed to the success of Pascual Productions. From inventory management to business communication situations, I see myself using the skills I learned at Fullerton every day,” said Pascual.

With his continued success online and at local conventions, Geoff was accepted into the CSUF Startup Incubator as a Resident entrepreneur. Looking back at this, Geoff felt that working with the Incubator was the most beneficial move he could have made for business.

“The Incubator has great mentors from all walks of life that I can go to for any questions I have. I would say the networking and information shared at the Incubator is very valuable. It’s opened a lot of opportunities for me in improving my business. It helps to get another person’s perspective,” said Pascual.

Currently, Geoff continues to be met with success as he continues to sell his artwork online and at conventions like Comic-Con.

“The fun part happens when I get to interact with customers and meet a bunch of artists and people in the industry. It’s also a great place to network and get your name out there. You have professionals from the comic, video game, and movie industries just walking the convention floor seeking new talent. If you haven’t been to a convention before, you really need to just experience it for yourself. I’ve meet some of my best friends at these conventions and it’s a close knit community that I’m glad to be a part of,” said Pascual.

By creating a successful business, Geoff has blazed a path for future entrepreneurs in the pop art industry at CSUF. While Geoff’s love of art started out as a hobby, Geoff’s passion and dedication in creating his own business has made him into the success he is today. In terms of those looking to start a business like Geoff, he suggests that students do anything they can to make it work: perseverance is critical. While struggle and hardships are to be expected in the initial stages, the passion and drive of a person has for their idea is much more likely to lead them to success as long as they continue to believe in themselves.

“Use the talents and skills that you’ve been given in a way that works for you. There’s a lot of wasted talent because people get stuck thinking there’s only one way of doing things. You have to make moves. If something isn’t working change it up. There’s always another way. Connect with others because you can’t do it alone. No matter where you’re going there will be people out there willing to help you if you let them.”

As Pascual Productions continues to grow, one thing is abundantly clear. Through the help and support of the CSUF Startup Incubator, anything is possible for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.


#CSUF #CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Happy Holidays from CSUF Entrepreneurship

CSUF Startup Incubator staff with MBA consulting team

CSUF Startup Incubator staff with MBA consulting team

This is the last CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider of 2016 and we want to thank everyone who contributed to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community! Without all of you we could not have accomplished nearly as much as we did.

2016 is winding down and we sincerely hope that you are finding some time to spend with family and friends.

I know that this is a busy time of year for everyone but I wanted to take some time to highlight a couple of recent activities at CSUF Entrepreneurship.

First off, we have accepted our 21st Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator: a current CSUF student majoring in Entrepreneurship, Jonny May. Jonny is an exceptional student and budding entrepreneur and you can learn more about him and our entrepreneurship classes by reading this article.

As part of a university, our primary mandate is to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs but our efforts do not stop with students like Jonny. Every year, we host dozens of seminars aimed at helping the broader CSUF Entrepreneurship community and we publish videos of many of these talks. One recent talk that I think will resonate well with everyone who is thinking about starting a business was given by serial entrepreneur and author Damon Brown, titled: Why You Can And Should Start Your Side Hustle Immediately. Clicking on the link in the previous sentence will take you to the video of his talk and I hope that it inspires you to start something innovative in 2017.

All of our events can be found by going to our Eventbrite page and they include talks by entrepreneurs and subject matter experts in a wide range of fields as well as office hours hosted by mentors from our program and staff. This week, Entrepreneur in Residence Travis Lindsay will be hosting office hours from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday at our CSUF Startup Incubator office in Placentia to help with any startup or business related questions attendees have. (No promises, but I might also be at his office hours on Wednesday.)

For members of our community that already have businesses we have the CSUF Consulting program. Every semester the CSUF Consulting program works hand in hand with businesses large and small to identify powerful new opportunities that they would have otherwise missed out on. One shining example of this is the work we did with Hilton Hotels to help them identify substantial cost savings by doing a deep dive into their operations.

No matter how you contribute to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community I just want to say Thank You. None of this would be possible without the contributions of thousands of individuals like yourself.

Sincerely,

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

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Ask an Entrepreneur!

ask-an-entrepreneurAs you will read in this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider, we are launching Ask an Entrepreneur! We hope that this will become a great way to answer questions that many people in our community have and that these answers will help people become better entrepreneurs.

One trait I frequently witness in the entrepreneurs I work with is that they are curious. They want to understand the “why” of things and while they do not question everything (because that would be exhausting!) they do not shy away from asking questions.

That is why I am happy to announce “Ask an Entrepreneur!” Ask an Entrepreneur! is your chance to ask our Entrepreneurs in Residence (these are our mentors and startup experts) questions about anything business-related. Maybe you want to know the best way to market your new product or how to deal with a capable but under-performing new hire. Or maybe you are curious about what one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence thinks about a particular niche you’ve been researching. The sky is the limit.

Our goal with Ask an Entrepreneur! is to publish an answer to at least one question a week either in a written article or video and that these answers prove to be valuable to the CSUF Entrepreneur community at large.

If you have any questions, please go to the Ask an Entrepreneur! form and submit your questions. We look forward to answering your questions soon!

Sincerely,

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

PS: Happy Holidays! I hope you are able to enjoy some time with your loved ones this year and share in the optimism of the season.

Creativity is the life blood of business and our consulting teams are filled with students brimming with creative solutions in a wide range of areas. Now is the perfect time to inject some creative solutions into your business by working with one of our CSUF Consulting teams.

To find out how we can tailor a project to fit your business’ needs contact our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina at (657) 278-8243 or to request an application email entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

We look forward to working with you!
 

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A Closer Look at CSUF Consulting

Business TeamIn this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider (sign up now!) we highlight a very successful CSUF Consulting Project and announce the acceptance of one of our current students into the CSUF Startup Incubator as a Resident!


A couple of weeks ago I highlighted the Hilton Hotels project that one of our CSUF Consulting teams completed. That project is one of my favorites for a number of reasons and I recently went into more depth about this project in an article titled How a CSUF Consulting Team Helped a Hilton Hotel Save Money by Going Green.

In this article I also shared my process for doing effective CSUF Consulting projects, and it includes:

  • Define the client’s current state
  • Define the client’s desired state
  • Identify the problem or opportunity (often called the “gap”)
  • Analyze the situation and gather information
  • Identify possible recommendations
  • Analyze and compare possible recommendations
  • Final recommendations
  • Implementation plan for the recommendations
  • Describe the costs involved
  • Establish a timeline for implementation with the action steps required
  • Return on investment

The article goes into greater detail about all of these steps and there are more insights into the Hilton project as well.

We are currently recruiting clients for the CSUF Consulting program. If you know of a business (or, better yet, have a business) that is looking to make improvements I think you should give serious consideration to working with us during the spring semester. For more information please contact Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243.

I am also happy to announce that we have accepted current CSUF Entrepreneurship student Jonny May into the CSUF Startup Incubator! Jonny has channeled his passion and skill as a pianist into a business called Piano with Jonny. This semester, he has been a student in my New Venture Creation course and we recently published an article about how he has leveraged the knowledge and experiences he has had during the semester and at the recent CSUF Entrepreneurship Investor Panels to improve his business. We are looking forward to working with him over the next six months to set up his business for sustainable growth. We will keep you updated.

Sincerely,

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

Creativity is the life blood of business and our consulting teams are filled with students brimming with creative solutions in a wide range of areas. Now is the perfect time to inject some creative solutions into your business by working with one of our CSUF Consulting teams.

To find out how we can tailor a project to fit your business’ needs contact our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina at (657) 278-8243 or to request an application email entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

We look forward to working with you!
 

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