Tag Archives: new venture

CSUF Wins $1 Million Grant to Fund STEM and Entrepreneurship Program for Middle School Students

NSF logoA collaboration between the California State University, Fullerton Colleges of Education, Engineering and Computer Sciences and the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics has netted a grant worth more than $1 million to teach and promote STEM and entrepreneurship to middle school students. According to CSUF News, the project is titled “Strategies: Science, Technology and Engineering Mini-Business Incubator” and its goal is to “[integrate] STEM study and entrepreneurship training to engage seventh- and eighth-graders, said Jidong Huang, associate professor of electrical engineering, who will direct the project. The project also will train science and mathematics teachers [on how] to integrate engineering and computer science concepts and practices in their classrooms.”

What we are trying to do with this grant is to create more of the kinds of students who entered the first Titan Fast Pitch Competition, just like the ones pictured above.

What we are trying to do with this grant is to create more of the kinds of students who entered the first Titan Fast Pitch Competition, just like the ones pictured above.

With funding from the National Science Foundation the central goal of this CSUF project is the promotion of STEM- and entrepreneurship-related curricula. The CSUF contingent of science, education and entrepreneurship professors are well on their way towards researching and designing an innovative after-school program for approximately 160 seventh and eighth grade students in the Anaheim area. This program will focus on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), lean startup and other entrepreneurial principles.

Led by Dr. Jidong Huang, an electrical engineering professor, the group of CSUF professors responsible for this project include: Dr. Amy Cox-Petersen from the College of Education, Dr. Pradeep Nair from Computer Engineering, and John Bradley Jackson, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and professor of Entrepreneurship. Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano will also make major contributions to this project as the representative from the Anaheim Union High School District. Continue reading

Diana Ho Designs makes Strategic Changes

About a year ago we first brought you the story of Diana Ho and her boutique clothing company: Diana Ho Designs. Instead of going into a written explanation of what it is she set out to do I’ll just post a couple of pictures.

Diana Ho Designs
Making art of shoes was the original intention for Diana and what she created was truly stunning.

Making art out of a pair of Vans shoes is impressive but it wasn’t enough to make Diana Ho Designs successful.

As you can tell from the above pictures Diana definitely has artistic ability and the shoes that she was making were pieces of art. Unfortunately, it proved rather difficult for her to make a business out of this. Once she realized that making artsy shoes wasn’t going to be enough for her business she went ahead and made a change to her business; that would be called a “pivot” in our parlance.

A pivot isn’t something too difficult to grasp in the abstract as a pivot is nothing more than a fundamental change in a part of the business’ strategy. In this case, Diana made the pivot away from selling expensive shoes to selling more economical jewelry. Pivots, however, can be difficult to implement in the real world. Why? One of the reasons why is because a pivot represents a change in vision and, as is the case with most small businesses, the person(s) who started the business is/are the one(s) with the vision and for better or worse they have an attachment to that particular vision. Making a pivot to them might represent some kind of failure on their part because why would you make changes unless you had been wrong about something?

Fortunately, Diana isn’t in that group of stubborn entrepreneur who will go down with the vision (so to speak). She made some changes to her business model and is realizing the success she initially sought out. Here’s more of the story as retold by Dr. Atul Teckchandani:

Ho’s success as an entrepreneur has hinged on her ability to master the pivot. Her desire was to create a firm that offered products allowing people to express their uniqueness through their fashion. She called her firm Diana Ho Designs and initially started off selling customized shoes, which she would hand paint based on the customer’s specifications. When that didn’t go as well as expected, she pivoted to offering a seasonal collection of hand-painted shoes. While these shoes are still available for purchase, Ho realized that her primary audience was interested in more affordable ways to show off their uniqueness.

So she pivoted again and offered jewelry. And in selling her own line of jewelry, Ho has found a hit. Diana Ho Designs is currently available at Boutique Carolina in Berkeley, Taxi CDC in Los Angeles and online at www.dianahodesigns.com.

Diana Ho Designs’ Jewelry

The article written by Dr. Teckchandani goes on to talk a great deal about the benefits Ms. Ho derived from participating in the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program and is well worth the read just for that reason. It also goes into more depth about the entrepreneurial process that Diana had to go through in making her business a success.

Success Story: Vincent Yancoskie ’13

Next Level Entrepreneurship: Breaking into the Mobile App and Web Design Markets

Vincent Yancoskie '10 - CSUF EntrepreneurshipAt Cal State Fullerton, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to delve into the video game industry. The possibility arose when my friend approached me with an idea for a mobile game for the iOS platform and an offer for partnership in the game once it was released. My job consisted of creating most of the graphics interface and marketing the product once it was in the App Store. I immediately jumped on the project in late 2011 and began teaching myself to create graphics in Photoshop.

Meanwhile, I opted to take an Entrepreneurship class which involved a student consulting project. Professor John Bradley Jackson’s “Marketing for Entrepreneurs” class brought on a fresh perspective as to how I could take the business further once the game launched in the app store. Through various presentations and projects, the class raised my levels of awareness as to how I could leverage various avenues to promote the app.

One of the most significant projects in the class opened the door for me to analyze a local business with a team of students in a sophisticated student consulting project. The semester-long project permitted me to garner real-world business experience that later gave me several valuable tools to market the app and also begin contract work designing websites for two consulting groups and a doctor.

The entrepreneurship class challenged me to apply the vast majority of my marketing skills and provided me with a clear vision of drive, passion and the conviction that it takes to start a new business. It also served to invigorate my motivation to finish developing the iOS game and release it to the market.

As the last weeks of the entrepreneurship course began to draw to a close, the iPhone game, officially titled “Lightning Assault” cleared Apple’s approval process and was officially released to the world on the app store. My feelings of accomplishment and excitement when Lightning Assault launched on December 3rd, 2012 were indescribable.

Then came the challenge of marketing the game. Naturally, the first approach was getting all my friends to download the app, a resource that quickly exhausted itself. Within a few weeks of the game’s launch, I had the website LightningAssault.com up and running, as well as several social media channels in an attempt to push traffic towards the website and collect downloads. However, it was soon evident that I needed to go beyond the most obvious methods of raising awareness for our game. I decided to contact a friend in the journalism industry. She sent my name out, and I soon had an interview scheduled with the OC Register, which resulted in the following article.

Today, Lightning Assault maintains a small yet steady growth in downloads. There is still much room for experimentation in aggressive promotion techniques, yet it has been stated that the game holds potential for massive popularity. Above all, it stands as a beacon of the accomplishments of the three person team that created it, and as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Program

The CSUF Entrepreneurship Program is one of the leading university-level entrepreneurship programs in the world (and one of the most unique as well). Our program includes six main classes: four classes require student teams to work on an actual consulting project for a local business and the other two classes require the students to develop and launch new ventures.

All of this entails a great deal of effort not only from the professors and staff in the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program but also from local businesses and our gracious volunteers, who are all professionals in entrepreneurial organizations. Any given semester our program will have:

  • 200 Undergraduate and MBA students in the program
  • 65 Mentors (Volunteers from business community)
  • 50 Consulting Projects
  • 8 Class Sections
  • 5 Professors

These consulting projects are what makes our program such a unique experience for our student entrepreneurs. Please watch the below video for a more in-depth explanation of our award winning consulting program.

Our program is not for the faint of heart but, rather, for that rare student entrepreneur who wants to prepare him/herself for the rigors of the entrepreneurial world. If you would like to become involved with or learn more about our exciting entrepreneurial program please click on the links below:

If you have any questions for us please send us an email at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

NextGen Challenge OC Funding Competition

A Startup Orange County Signature Event

NextGen Challenge OC

A “First of Its Kind” Collaborative Funding Competition

Cash Investments and Prizes for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Have you ever thought about starting a business?  Have you started a business and needed a mentor or advice to prevent you from making a mistake?  Do you have a business ready to move to the next level but need capital?  Then you need to register for the NextGen Challenge OC, the signature event for Startup Orange County, to receive guidance on the key aspects to success in obtaining funding and what venture investors look for in startup business models.


  • $75 for Early Bird Registration by December 21, 2012
  • $50 for College and University Student Early Bird Registration
  • $135 for those who register after December 21, 2012
  • $85 for College and University Students after December 21, 2012

Why you should compete:

  • Every entrepreneur will receive a “priceless” critique of their entry submission and a one-page summary from three independent venture investors.
  • A three course business accelerator program focused on the key aspects to success in obtaining funding conducted by industry leaders, and venture capitalists in partnership with the SBA, SBDC and Tri-Tech.
  • An opportunity to “pitch” your business before a panel of four venture investor judges.
  • Each startup will gain exposure with venture investors, and networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs, investors, local businesses and resources.

Register and mark your calendar now!  The NextGen Challenge OC is accepting applications until January 4th, 2013.  Do not miss this opportunity to take advantage of this valuable resource and mentoring from some of the leading companies in the nation. 

Contact Virginia Lorimor at vlorimor@winopportunities.com or Jeff Duncombe at jeffd@d4media.com with questions.

2013 Quolendar

On this blog we have talked about Kickstarter a few times in the past (5 Tips for Getting Funded on Kickstarter, Project Natalia and Fund a New Business Concept with Kickstarter) and we have reason to talk about it again because another one of our alums has a project on the social funding website. This project, started by Janie Trinh, is called Quolender and, as the name suggests, it’s a calendar that features a meaningful quote for each month. But the cool thing about this calendar is that it uses letterpress printing, a style that is rarely used anymore.

From the Quolendar Kickstarter page:

Modern technologies have put many things, literally, into the “cloud.”  They have given us many digital conveniences but they have also made us rather detached from our own physical world.  Take the calendar as an example.  To view a nice calendar with minimalistic designs, many of us would need to pull out our smart phones and navigate through our touch screens.

Instead, wouldn’t it be nice to glance at the corner of your desk and see an elegantly designed letterpress calendar?  The 2013 Quolendar brings the natural beauty, sights, and touch of life…to your life.

The 2013 Quolendar is a hand-crafted letterpress desk calendar that combines vintage design with a clean, modern look.  Each month reveals a carefully selected quote that is sometimes humorous, sometimes inspirational. It’s simply meant to put a smile on your face or give you that extra motivation in life to do the things you want.

These calendars look great and they would make an excellent present for someone.

Be sure to also check out their Facebook page for updates and new product launches.