Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Community Newsletter
2014 has been an exciting year for the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center working with both students on the San Diego State University campus and with members of our local community.
As we wrap up the year, we would like to extend a warm thank you for supporting us in 2014! We look forward to continued collaborations in 2015.
Business Forum to Address 2015 Economic OutlookThe Business Forum Speaker Series is back in January featuring four industry leaders discussing San Diego's growing economic trends of 2015. Robert Gleason, President and CEO, Evans Group; Jim Ryan, CEO, Associated General Contractors of San Diego; Jerry Sanders, President, San Diego Chamber of Commerce; and one additional speaker will serve as the prominent San Diego business leaders. The panelists will discuss several industries including hospitality, construction, technology and health care.
The event is scheduled for January 27, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla and will be moderated by Todd Polling, President and Founder, Vantage Point Advisors, Inc. Event registration is now open!
Sponsors of the Business Forum include Duane Morris LLP, City National Bank, Moss Adams LLP, and Vantage Point Advisors.
Fall 2014 VentureStart Winners NamedNearly 40 student teams submitted entries for consideration to compete in the fall 2014 VentureStart Competition finals. This semester the submissions proved to be very strong, with students from different colleges across the campus turning in their final revised business canvases. From the various submissions received, the five teams selected as finalists were: Hype Audio, Intelligent Burn, KibbleKick, Wanderlust, and WaterWeight.
The VentureStart Competition finals were held on November 20, 2015, on the SDSU campus. Each of the five teams pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of entrepreneur judges for the chance to win cash prizes to invest in their company. Of the five teams, Hype Audio took the first place award, with an innovative approach to wireless headphones for surfers; Wanderlust was awarded second place, with a travel website offering destinations based on travelers’ budgets; and Kibble Kick, a pet food performance/nutrition supplement spray, was named the third place team. The judging panel consisted of three successful SDSU and Lavin Entrepreneur program alumni. The judges in attendance were: Abel Tadesse, Jon Tucker, Co-Founder, Agency Flow, and Nicholas Slettengren; Founder, Power Digital Marketing Inc. Pictures from the exciting event can be viewed on our Facebook page.
We would like to congratulate all finalists on a job well done!
Lavin Entrepreneurs Meet with Petco ChairmanRecently, ten Lavin Entrepreneur students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Brian Devine, Chairman of the Board at Petco. The lunch event took place at the Petco’s headquarters in downtown San Diego.
The students were able to ask questions and learn from Mr. Devine's successes. During the conversation, he stressed the significance of company culture, informing students that the high salary most college graduates chase is not more important than a positive work environment. Mr. Devine illustrated this by telling students that multiple times throughout his career he took pay cuts when starting at new company because the opportunity was greater than the salary. Mr. Devine stated "the company culture and the talent you bring to the table are what will make you successful." He continued to say "as an entrepreneur it is important to respect the people that you work with daily, treat people how you want to be treated and create opportunities for yourself and others around you that will help push the boundaries."
Brian Devine is currently the Chairman of the Board at Petco. He started his career working for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and later went to work for Toys R Us, where he served in various leadership roles including Senior Vice President. Mr. Devine has been at Petco since 1990, where he was CEO and President from 1990 to 2004, to his current position as Chairman of the Board.
SDSU Alum Receives Entrepreneurship AwardSan Diego State alum Zeynep Ilgaz, CEO and founder of Confirm BioSciences, a biomedical company focused on production and distribution of drug and alcohol home testing kits, was recently honored with a Stevie Award for Women in Business. The award she received was for female entrepreneur of the year in a growing business. Ilgaz was selected as the winner of the national award from a pool of applicants across the country. Of receiving the award Ilgaz said "It means so much to me. Especially as an immigrant having moved with two suitcases and nothing else. My husband and I left everything behind and built everything from scratch."
Ilgaz and her husband, Serhat Pala, moved to the U.S. in 1998, to earn their MBA's from San Diego State and officially founded Confirm BioSciences in 2008. This year their company was listed as one of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies and named one of the best places to work by the San Diego Business Journal. Ilgaz was especially pleased by the second award because the nomination was submitted by company employees. Discussing Confirm BioSciences' successful year, Ilgaz said "This is about teamwork. Hiring people that are smarter than you, and giving them the resources they need and getting out of their way so they can make it happen."
Zeynep Ilgaz received her MBA degree from San Diego State University with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and Finance. In her time at SDSU she also worked at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and received the Rising Star Award sponsored by the Lavin program. Of her experience at the university she said "It was the best experience and I made so many great connections. I will forever feel grateful about the wonderful education I received."
SDSU MBA Graduate Joins German StartupHaving graduated with honors from San Diego State with a MBA in Entrepreneurship in May 2014, David Duwe recently joined a German video communication app startup as the head of marketing. The goal of the pq app is to provide a quick video messaging service that allows users to share what they are doing in real time. The app allows users to send short videos to one another when they request them. The innovative video messaging app was recently featured as the number one messaging app in the U.S. iTunes App Store "Social Networking" category and among the top five in pq's home country, Germany. Additionally, the pq video app recently was named the official app of Europe's largest youth fair.
In his time at SDSU, Duwe was actively involved with entrepreneurial activities. He participated in the Internship Program, being partnered with local San Diego companies through the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. Additionally, Duwe served as a member of the 2014 SDSU Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) team which won the second place award overall at the Regional VCIC held at USC this year. Speaking on his time at SDSU engaging in these activities, Duwe said "Not only did this program expose me to two areas I am passionate about – entrepreneurship and finance – it provided me with the invaluable opportunity to meet, interact, and establish long-lasting connections with stunning personalities from all over the globe who share this same passion."