I just realized that it was exactly one year ago that we accepted the first three Residents into the CSUF Startup Incubator. That was an exciting time but we were also worried; I guess that’s how you normally feel when you are doing something that you haven’t done before.
I don’t want to go through everything that we’ve done like some list that needs to be checked off but I will hit on a couple of events that happened over the last year at the Incubator. If you are looking for more narrative and less highlights than I strongly suggest you read the article about the Incubator in the latest Mihaylo Magazine (we were on the cover!).
Obviously, the first day when we accepted Mike Kirtland (Bastion Privacy), Soheil Divani (O2 Free), and Casey Farmen (Rescuewares) as Residents at the CSUF Startup Incubator. We have worked hard with these three intrepid entrepreneurs and I’m pleased to say that they have all made significant progress.
Our Open House took place during the spring and we had over 200 people come to tour our facilities. That was a hectic night but we all loved seeing everyone come out to see what we were up to. At the party were Placentia city officials, CSUF Deans and administration, entrepreneurs, investors, bankers, mentors, our Board Members like Andrew Carrol, and many, many other people associated with our Incubator. It was at this event that many people got the opportunity to try Professor Dafaallah’s Sudanese cuisine; the lamb was delicious!
It was around this time, maybe early summer, that we also started to hit our stride when it came to our (almost) weekly events. We weren’t sure how many people would attend these talks at 6pm on Wednesday nights (without any food) built specifically for early stage entrepreneurs so we were a little surprised once we started regularly getting twenty or more people showing up in our small conference area. We have brought in experts to cover topics ranging from how to make a pivot to the art of promotion to how to choose the right kind of legal entity to the one we had tonight on etiquette. All future events can be found by going here – http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents – and we look forward to seeing you at our next event (which is next Wednesday night at 6pm)!
Besides the (almost) weekly talks we have hosted a couple of networking events that have brought together our Residents, mentors, CSUF students from all across campus, and other entrepreneurs. One of the things we are most proud of at the CSUF Startup Incubator is that the CSUF Entrepreneurship community has grown to such a large extent that we can hold multiple networking events throughout the year and always be meeting new people. This is of tremendous value to the Residents, to us, and to everyone else in the community.
Another highlight from the Incubator is that we are now hosting Investment Panels three or four times a year for our Residents. At these panels we bring together all the Residents, Mentors, staff, and some select investors, entrepreneurs, professionals to evaluate the progress that our Residents have made and the quality of their ideas. We have done three of these panels in the last year and plan on doing four a year going forward.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t sincerely thank the City of Placentia for providing us with this location; we could not have done this without them. The space is great for us: private rooms for team work, a gated parking section, and a conference area for our speaker series or for larger meetings. Placentia gave us a good deal to launch our incubator in their city and we are glad that they did!
I’m sure I’ve missed some things here – if you have any memories you’d like to share please do so in the comments – but my general point here was to look back on the last year’s worth of work for a moment before moving forward to what we are doing next at the Incubator. Getting the opportunity to work with JJ and Phillip, the Residents and the Mentors, our Board, our speakers, and everyone else who has been associated with the Incubator has been a joy and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do going forward.
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More info on the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship
More info on the CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup
For more of our awesome events please go here: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents