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Tuesday, July 16th 2019

Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Community Newsletter

July, 2018



Earlier this year, SDSU celebrated the newest addition to its campus: The Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences (EIS) Complex. This state-of-the-art, 85,000 square-foot complex is designed to provide an area of collaboration and foster creativity and innovation amongst the students and faculty.

These new, joint facilities include the brand new, 4,200 square-foot William H Leonard Entrepreneurship Center, the ZIP Launchpad, and the H.G. Fenton Idea Lab. Lavin Entrepreneurs will now regularly interact with teams of entrepreneurs developing business ventures with the Idea Lab and Zip Launchpad. Director of the Idea Lab at SDSU, Kevin Popovic, says the new center is providing more opportunities to gain valuable face to face interaction that can spark new ideas. “With this new space, the ZIP Launchpad, the Idea Lab and the Lavin Entrepreneurs are able to connect and collaborate more often and because of that we’re coming up with more new projects and we’re able to support more entrepreneurs.”

The new building was made possible thanks to a generous endowment of $90 million dollars, including $30 million from private donors. This addition more than doubles the number of classrooms available to engineering students and offers 17 new labs and research facilities. Named after our 6th president, the Thomas B. Day Quad is the central meeting point of the complex.

Executive Director of the ZIP Launchpad at SDSU, Cathy Pucher, agrees that the space is benefiting the efforts of the student entrepreneurs working out of it and hopes it will help the programs gain exposure on campus. “It’s an amazing resource for us and the students that come to work here. I think everyone feels grateful to have such a beautiful center to work in and it also gives more people on campus a chance to stop by and discover these tools and opportunities,” she says.


New Lavin Students

One of SDSU’s leading clubs has bid farewell to their graduating president as they welcome a new one. Talena Handley, a recent SDSU graduate, served as president the SDSU Entrepreneur Society over the last year. This esteemed, student organization works to bring together entrepreneurially minded students on campus, and helps students turn their passion into a profitable business.

Handley says she saw the club as a way to make the most out of her two years at SDSU after transferring to study business. “I realized very quickly that I wanted to take advantage of every possible experience that SDSU could offer me,” she says. “We have top CEOs who speak to our group, wonderful mentors, and the space to develop your ideas.”

As Handley continues to pursue her career in business, fourth-year marketing major and Lavin Entrepreneur, Blake Meyers will take the reigns as new president of the club. Meyers’s background is in digital marketing and he hopes to use his skills to improve the organization’s exposure on campus while he’s president. “I’ve been a part of the society since my freshman year so I’m really excited to give back to the organization by making it even better,” Meyers says.



SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and CETYS Universidad are working together to create new cross-border collaborations and partnerships between the universities and entrepreneurial leaders in Tijuana. Last year, 18 deans and faculty members from SDSU met with their counterparts from CETYS Universidad to tour the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

Professors and deans from the Colleges of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, Arts and Letters and Engineering and Sciences visited with businesses and nonprofits during the tour, stopping at Estacion Federal, a former 1940s-era bus station that was converted into a mixed-use plaza and La Granja, a social entrepreneurship initiative in the distressed Camino Verde neighborhood.

SDSU and CETYS have maintained mutual exchange programs for decades. SDSU professors began teaching classes on the global marketplace and international entrepreneurship at CETYS Universidad in 2015 and now SDSU professors and deans are working to build programs that will benefit students in both cities. Brenda Garcia is among the SDSU students who has made the trip down to Mexico to explore entrepreneurship practices there. “The opportunity to collaborate with students from another country has really opened my panorama of how to interact with other cultures,” she says.

Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Executive Director Dr. Alex DeNoble says he is working with CETYS to establish an entrepreneurship program and graduate program in entrepreneurship in their business school. “We want to foster strong relationships among the students and faculty at both of our University’s and establish more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life,” DeNoble says.


Local Internship

A team of innovators working out of the ZIP Launchpad has been accepted to take part in a selective international startup competition in Stuttgart, Germany later this year. This futuristic startup called Rosey began as an extracurricular project and has grown into a collaborative business venture which may change grading and education forever. Their revolutionary web app allows students to photograph their work and receive accurate and timely grades which founder and CEO, Michael Green, says will create more efficient and fair grading for students. The focus of this year’s “Code_n” competition is artificial intelligence and teams from around the world will travel to Germany to present their business plans to a panel of judges.

This state-of-the-art web app combines the efforts of students and faculty at San Diego State University and utilizes artificial intelligence to identify errors in students’ work. Much of Green’s vision for the project was influenced by his family’s experience in education. “My parents are both teachers and I’ve been a teaching assistant, so I was aware of a problem: teachers spend extremely long hours grading and at times grading fatigue can become a real problem,” he says. He hopes this new app can help improve the grading process for students and teachers of all levels and in turn, improve people’s lives.

The Rosey team is made up of four members including CEO Michael Green, COO Andre Hale, SDSU Professor and CTO Scott Linda and VP of Engineering Logan Lasider--each bringing unique expertise and perspective to the table. Green grew up learning about computer science and teaching himself how to code and eventually met Linda while working at a teaching assistant in the computer science department. Now the two of them have linked up with Hale and Lasider in preparation to launch their online application. “We would talk to Scott about nerdy things like JavaScript and the state of tech and he would give us advice. He’s really a great professor,” Green said. “We built a relationship over time and after I started to work on Rosey, I wrote some demo programs to show Scott so he could suggest some computer vision work. He thought it was an interesting idea and agreed to participate.”

Green recently completed his first year with SDSU’s ZIP Launchpad and says that the program has helped provide a huge amount of exposure and support. “When you're a new entrepreneur you might not know how to raise money, or how to create a business plan and ZIP helps you figure out how to do all these things,” he says.

After recently performing beta testing with Linda’s computer science course, the team is now getting ready to launch their app and green says he is already really excited to see how his algorithm can impact other fields.

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Building the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University serves SDSU students, entrepreneurs and business leaders through entrepreneurial curriculum, workshops, internships, resources and events. For information browse the Programs section of our website, subscribe to the Lavin Center Calendar and sign up for the Center's Entrepreneurial Fuel Newsletter. Entrepreneur resources such as the Lavin Center resume guide, marketing and business planning tools and more can be found in the Resources section of our site.

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