SDSU’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem: ‘Something for Every Student’

SDSU’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem: ‘Something for Every Student’

September 18, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


(Music) SDSU has such an amazing ecosystem for
entrepreneurship. Whether you’re a student or researcher, there’s something
for you on this campus. The Zip Launchpad helps students and faculty start with an
early stage idea and launch a startup. They’re getting real hands-on experience,
as well as having the opportunity to start their own business. Here at Zip
Idea Lab, we help student entrepreneurs make their vision come to life. And this
is the place where it all just comes together. What I’ve learned here in Zip
Launchpad, it’s completely different to what I’ve learned in college. In college you
just learn what needs to be done but here you get the knowledge and you apply
it, and that empowers you to become what you need to become to reach that goal
that you have. A great example of how the ecosystem at SDSU works to bring out the best experience for our students, is with SoulMuch. Our whole mission is to reduce
food waste. And the way we do that is collect cooked rice, juice pulp and
upcycle those ingredients into cookies (Music) It all started because I saw a flyer on
my way to class every single day and it said, “If you have an idea, here’s an
opportunity to win $5,000.” It got to a point where I could not walk past it anymore without feeling guilty. And at that point, I went over to the Zip Launch Pad
and I just blurted my idea. And I said, “Help me I have this idea!” And they
welcomed me with a warm welcome. There’s so many great things about working with
students at SDSU, but probably one of my favorites is when they start working
on an idea and start to bring it to life, and they get a little frustrated but
then they start to get help, and they start to work through the challenges. And
the lightbulb goes on and they see how what they’re learning in the classroom
and what they’re experiencing with their hands-on training is coming together. One of the biggest things that I took away was, instead of trying to create
something and sell that to people, find out what people want and create that. And
that was something that we really learned from Lavin and Zip. SoulMuch has won so many competitions. They’re an amazing team, great competitors. But the
way that they were able to travel to those competitions and get coached, was
through the generosity of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and one of their
donors. Without the funding to help them travel, they wouldn’t be able to. That truly was like the seed that had let us flourish. Because after that, we really
felt, “Okay we can do this, people believe in us, we’re ready, like people are
willing to spend money on us, to invest in us to go to this and we were gifted that
and that truly was an amazing opportunity that I think that we will
cherish forever. Another great example of the success coming out of SDSU’s
entrepreneurship ecosystem is ShredLights. Headlights for skateboards.
They’ve gone from working as undergrads, graduating, having enough revenue to
support themselves and beautiful office space where they build and sell and ship
all over the world, their ShredLights. (Music) The main thing that I got from the entrepreneurial ecosystem at SDSU, was the entrepreneurial mindset. Because I
came in there as an engineer, a mechanical engineer and I learned a
bunch of technical skills but I really didn’t know how to apply those to a
business in a way that would be valuable. Being exposed again and again to other
entrepreneurs, other student entrepreneurs, other mentors. That really
ingrained in me the mindset that has allowed us to become, like an effective
startup company. The other thing that makes it really cool, is when they start reaching back to the students that are one year, two years behind them and
sharing their experiences and helping them overcome barriers that they’ve
recently overcome. So now, a year after graduating, I’ve become a mentor to a Lavin student. And I think it’s really cool to show him that, you know, you don’t
have to wait to start a business. You can start a business now and I think it’s
really inspiring for him to see someone his own age that, you know, has a company. I don’t think their idea would be what it is today, if it hadn’t been for all
their opportunities to fail fast and then succeed within our rapid
prototyping lab. And all of that was free. I never learned, you know, finance or
fundraising or any of that in my film classes but I was able to go into the
Zip Launchpad in Lavin Center and ask, you know, all these different things that
I wasn’t getting in my classes, I could come, you know, get 30 minutes of
someone’s time and learn there. And through the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
at SDSU the Zip Launchpad offers $5,000, what we call, success fund. To help teams
get up and running and into production. ShredLights was able to take that
$5,000 and start their manufacturing. (Music) It doesn’t matter what you’re studying
at SDSU, you have the option to experience entrepreneurship curriculum.
If you’re a music student there’s a special program in entrepreneurship just
to help those music students. (Music) So, the professional orientation and
entrepreneurship class, sets you up to work with people that are leading
experts in the music industry. This music entrepreneurship program gives
us the tools and skills to add to our degree be able to build teams, be able to have
the building blocks of what we need to be successful in the music business. As
not just musicians but as young entrepreneurs. (Music) If you’re in a classroom, you’re going to
be sitting next to someone that’s studying kinesiology, next to a college a
business student, next to an engineer and when those same students then start
participating in the hands-on experiences like at the Zip Launchpad
or Lavin, now you have cohorts, or you have people that, really under no
other circumstances would be brought together. And here they are getting
hands-on experiences and bringing that idea to life. And helping each other and
really forming teams that represent what’s going to happen in the real world.
It’s a diverse group of people that are gonna be coming together to solve
problems. And that’s what’s happening here on our campus. (Music)