Center for Entrepreneurship's 10th Anniversary Celebration Recap

Founded during the Fall semester of the 2001-02 school year by Dr. Michael Ames, the Center for Entrepreneurship is a self-sustaining entity funded through program fees, individual donations and corporate sponsorships. In the Entrepreneurship Program we have 180 full time and part time students studying Entrepreneurship as a major and 44 students minoring in Entrepreneurship. We also have 15 MBAs who are concentrating in Entrepreneurship.

Each of these students is taking on a huge task by studying Entrepreneurship at CSUF because the courses in the Entrepreneurship Program require a massive time commitment. In each course in the Entrepreneurship Program there is a semester long project. In two successive courses students form teams and create a business plan and then in the next semester they launch that business. The other Entrepreneurship courses feature semester long student consulting projects where our students develop reports to help local businesses improve in various areas including: operations, marketing, accounting and leadership.

For each class volunteers are need to coach our student teams. These volunteers have extensive business knowledge and each of them selflessly give dozens of hours of their time every semester to help guide our students through these semester long projects. Others volunteer their time for special projects the Center for Entrepreneurship undertakes.

That is why on Wednesday, May 30th the Center for Entrepreneurship celebrated its 10th Anniversary with all of those people who make the Entrepreneurship Program such a vital part of CSUF and the local business community. In attendance were volunteers, Board Members, students, alumni, professors, CSUF staffers, local businesspeople, scholarship winners and assorted family members.

Networking was the first part of this event and was a good opportunity to catch up with those who hadn’t seen each other in a while. During the networking portion a couple of our student entrepreneurs showcased their wares. Diana Ho of Diana Ho Designs showed off her handcrafted shoes and Chris Aaron handed out his delicious kettle corn.

After that we dove into the presentation of awards. Each of the volunteers in attendance was presented with a certificate and personally thanked for their service. Dave Kinnear was singled out as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year for his exemplary dedication to the Entrepreneurship Program at CSUF. All of our volunteers are great people and we sincerely thank them for their contributions.

Next we recognized two of our most successful student consulting teams. Each year our program enters two of our student consulting projects into the Small Business Institute’s competition. Over 200 universities are a part of the SBI consulting process and our MBA entrant won 3rd place on the national level and our undergraduate team won the national competition.

Dr. Dmitry Khanin led the graduate team to third place nationally with their project for Connection III Entertainment. John Bradley Jackson, professor and Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship, led the undergraduate team to the national championship with their project for Fortis Resource Partners. CEO Kira Bruno ’89 was in attendance for the award presentation and Chuck Pavia was the team’s volunteer coach.

Next, Dr. David Obstfeld, one of our great Entrepreneurship professors, presented the Steve Keller Memorial Scholarship funded by Bill Bemus to Diana Ho (she had a busy day!).

After that, a special award sponsored by volunteer Jack Hayden was presented by Dr. Atul Teckchandani, another one of our great Entrepreneurship professors. The recipient of this award was the student team called Titan Motor Sports and it is for one of the team members to travel to a national competition. Titan Motor Sports is a special team that was created to partner up with a CSUF team comprised of Computer Science and Engineering students who have created an open wheel racing vehicle for a national competition. Titan Motor Sports’ contribution is an excellent business plan that is a crucial part of the competition. Good luck guys!

Next, Jerry Conrey presented the Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship to Brian Fainzimer (Incidentally, Brian has some great pictures of the event. Check them out.) After that, the State Farm Scholarship, sponsored by Ellen Williams, was presented to Samantha Stuber.

A group of awards was presented to three of our students. Michael Sawitz, volunteer and client of our student consulting services, has created a Business Incubator that helps early stage companies grow by providing them with space, contacts and coaching. Thanks to his connections with our Entrepreneurship Program Michael decided to award tuition in his Business Incubator, Fast.Start.studio, to three groups.

The second runner up, was Thank Skinz, founded by Shawn Way, who was the winner of our inaugural Business Plan Competition. The first runner up was StatRev Legal, founded by Laura Schmitt. And the winner of the one year, all inclusive Fast.Start.studio Accelerator Program valued at $54,000 was Gamer Comps, co-founded by Steve Schoenhals. In total, $69,000 worth of tuition in Fast.Start.studios was awarded. That’s an amazing gift, thank you Michael!

Concluding the proceedings Director Jackson thanked all of the faculty including: Dr. David Obstfeld, Dr. Atul Teckchandani, Dr. Dmitry Khanin, Robart Kovacev, Zack Dafallah, Tom Miller, Barbara Samara, Guy Knuf and Brent Evans. Director Jackson also recognized the amazing contributions of Charlesetta Medina who is responsible for acquiring all of the clients for the Entrepreneurship Program and me, Travis Lindsay, for doing most of the administrative tasks for the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Over the course of the next week we will be posting some of the media from this event so be sure to check back to see the pictures and videos of the event.

If you want to become a part of our award winning program you can learn more about becoming a mentor by contacting us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu and if you are considering hiring a CSUF Student Consulting Team go here.

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