THE "UNDERCOVER BOSS" VISITING SDSUThe Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and San Diego State University (SDSU) were excited to welcome Mr. Stephen Cloobeck, CEO of Diamond Resorts International, on March 28th, 2013. Mr. Cloobeck shared his experiences in the service and hospitality industries and explained how to build an international brand from scratch. He gave entrepreneurial insights to the Lavin and Hospitality and Tourism Management students. “The most important asset for the business is human capital; without it there is no company and no brand,” he said. Mr. Cloobeck also emphasized the practical facets of learning. He believes that “oftentimes, it is not only what you study, it is on the job training and internships you accept to learn the most.” Later that day, Mr. Cloobeck visited the Zahn Center Incubator and met with several teams, then led a class on Management and Organizational Behavior. He discussed the difficulties and differences between establishing a company and fixing an existing company.
Mr. Stephen Cloobeck is the Founder and the CEO of Diamond Resorts International Holdings, LLC. He purchased and reorganized Sunterra Corporation into Diamonds Resorts International in 2007. Currently, it is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world and has a network of 200+ vacation destinations and resorts located in 28 countries across the globe. Mr. Cloobeck is the only CEO who appeared on the CBS TV show “Undercover Boss” twice, and has stated that “the show was the most miraculous journey a CEO can take.”
Diamonds Resort Int.     Undercover Boss
MEETING OF THE CLUSTER MINDS AT SDSUSDSU was honored to host the inaugural annual “Meeting of the Cluster Minds” on Tuesday, February 26 and Wednesday, February 27, 2013 in Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. This event was organized and sponsored by the San Diego Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the San Diego Regional Innovation Cluster (SDRIC) at SDSU. The main purpose of this two-day gathering was to share best practices, accomplishments, information, and experiences at each of the eight clusters from across the US. The objective was to maximize the sphere of influence, leverage the capability and resources, and introduce new companies and technologies to the cluster participants.
“Meeting of the Cluster Minds” was extremely beneficial to SDRIC and the San Diego community because it created opportunities for development of partnerships with companies from across the nation, it connected different industries within the US to advance their high-technology innovations in governmental and commercial market places. This year, there were representatives from eight clusters, the representatives from the SBA local and Washington DC offices, and the US Department of Defense. The 23rd Administrator at the SBA, Karen G. Mills, participated in an interactive discussion and provided constructive feedback to the cluster companies.
As the principal partner and administrator of the SDRIC program, SDSU’s College of Business Administration and the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center provide valuable mentoring, marketing studies, assistance in investment decisions, and networking with governmental customers. The SDSU Faculty and graduate students are actively engaged with the projects. The SBA and SDRIC encourage students to utilize their knowledge and acquire cutting-edge working experience by working on market research and business development projects for the cluster companies.
SBA      Karen G. Mills     SDRIC
LEANMODEL COMPETITION SPRING 2013 RESULTSThe Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and SDSU are excited to announce the 2013 LeanModel winners! The LeanModel Competition is a new competition that recruited student teams from California and Baja California Universities to SDSU where they got a chance to present their business ideas for financial and in-kind rewards. This year, the two-day competition was held on March 14th and 15th. Fifteen teams from eleven universities participated in this event. This year’s finalist panel of judges included Larry Petersen, the founder of LP Marketing, Brian Ramphal, the founder of Ramphal and Associates, Inc., and Doug Wall, the co-founder of PureForge.
Congratulations to the following teams!
Overall LeanModel Competition Awards:
1st Place – Bosse Tools (Loyola Marymount University)
2nd Place – Luna Light (Cal Poly San Lois Obispo)
3rd Place – Epsilon Micro Devices (San Diego State University)
Show Stopper Awards:
Mr. Eco (Cal Poly San Lois Obispo)
Bosse Tools (Loyola Marymount University)
Joboiz Inc. (San Diego State University)
Pitch the Investor:
Bosse Tools (Loyola Marymount University)
Luna Light (Cal Poly San Lois Obispo)
Blue Igloo (University of California, Irvine)
LeanModel     Loyola Marymount University      Cal Poly     UC Irvine
STUDENT ENTREPRENEUR AT SDSUPieter van Niekerk is a Bioengineering Undergraduate student at SDSU. His main research focuses are Lab-on-a-Chip and Neuro Probe Microtechnologies. Recently, Pieter and two other SDSU students, Tanja Muetze and John Waynelovich, founded Epsilon Micro Devices, an innovative technology company that strives to provide the micro fluidics industry with low cost, alternative techniques and equipment. Epsilon Micro Devices won the Lavin Venture Start competition in December, 2012, and went on to win 3rd place in the LeanModel Start-up Competition in March 2013.
Pieter’s experience as a swim instructor and as a lifeguard has provided him valuable people skills and financial resources to get through his college years. He now spends most of his days in the lab, where he is employed as the lab manager and where he continues to love developing micro electromechanical systems.
VentureStart Competition     LeanModel