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Tuesday, July 16th 2019

Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Community Newsletter

June, 2018



Last spring semester, business students and art majors at SDSU came together to collaborate on original business ventures as they took part in a brand new Art and Entrepreneurship course.

The course was co-taught by professors CongCong Zheng and Min Choi who created the class structure with the goal of encouraging students focused on business to consider new ways of thinking visually while providing artists and designers with effective business strategies. “There are skills that are relevant to both majors and this class allows students to hone these skills and apply them in new, creative ways,” says Zheng.

Students in the course pitched ideas for new businesses at the start of the semester and the top 15 ideas were selected for teams of design and business students to develop. The 15-week-long course culminated in a final “Design & Conquer” entrepreneurial competition in which participants aimed to “design an idea at a time and conquer an insecurity at a time.” They presented their business models to a panel of judges, along with close to 50 local business owners and entrepreneurs.

This new course was conceptualized by faculty members at SDSU over two years and was made possible thanks to a recent grant. Professor Zheng hopes that the course will grow into a new program that is available to every business management student. “Everyone has a gift,” says Zheng. “The idea is to empower students by teaching them about the business model canvas and how they can use it to help them give their gift to society.”


Lavin funding

A select group of student entrepreneurs at SDSU have been chosen by the Lavin Center’s funding committee to receive new grants to support the development of their startups. These students have been refining their business models and testing ideas and will now have financial support to help advance their business. Lucien Eloundou is among the Lavin Entrepreneurs who have been selected to receive new financial support for his business. Eloundou’s company, called Zero Pressure, focuses on improving the health of busy and active professionals by transforming their smartphones into health management tools. He recently graduated from SDSU with a degree in public health and remains committed to improving people’s quality of life by empowering them to take charge of their health. “The dream is to help people live healthier lives,” he says.

This program was made possible by Carol Lavin Bernick. It was created to provide funds directly in support of qualifying students who are experimenting with business startups and product commercialization. Now students can take advantage of funding in order to fuel their business’s progress.

Andrea Roberts is a rising senior and Lavin Entrepreneur at San Diego State University who has been selected by the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center’s funding committee to receive new funding for her business. She has been growing her business, called Body Enrichment, while studying integrated marketing communications, entrepreneurship and cognitive & behavioral neuroscience.She says this new funding provides her with a sense of stability and will allow her to “take her business to the next level,” which includes product testing and establishing new partnerships. “It means the world to know that someone sees your vision and supports it,” she says. “Now I feel even more ambitious and motivated.”


New Lavin Students

We at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center would like to extend a warm welcome to the newest Lavin Entrepreneurs! 14 enterprising students across a variety of different majors have been selected to participate in this highly competitive program. Each of these individuals has demonstrated a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial passion and initiative through their personal accomplishments and we are excited to assist them as they progress toward their goals.

Joseph Wilk is a rising junior studying finance at SDSU who was recently chosen as one of the 14 students to recently be admitted to the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program. He believes this experience will help him make great strides in his education and career. “I’ve long been interested in entrepreneurship and I’m hoping to receive some professional insights from an experienced mentor,” says Wilk. “I really see the entrepreneurship program as a way to make the most of my time here at SDSU.”

These student entrepreneurs will join continuing Lavin Entrepreneurs as they learn new business practices and grow new business ventures.



Tammy Nguyen is a business marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship who has been awarded the Peterson Scholarship by the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. She was recognized for her hard work and innovation while participating in the Lavin Entrepreneur Program. “I’ve written essays and applied to scholarships before and didn’t get them so I really didn’t expect it,” she says. “I’m hoping that the funds will help me pay off my student loans so that I can dedicate more fiances towards starting my own business.” Larry and Madeline Peterson endowed the Lavin Center with the scholarship fund to help provide support to SDSU students enrolled in the entrepreneurship specialization or entrepreneurship minor.

While Tammy earns her degree at SDSU, she works with several other local organizations where she aims to create growth and contribute to improvements. She is one of the executive leaders and the event planner for Streets of Hope San Diego, a non-profit organization that feeds and builds relationships with the homeless. She is also a business and development intern at C3 Church where she leads the internship program. “Everything I do I want to help built it up and help it grow,” she says. “When I started working with the church we had around 15 interns and many of them couldn’t continue and now we’ve built it up to 70 interns.”

Last semester, she successfully invented and sold a product after being tasked with selling $500 worth of an original product in just a few weeks. This summer, she plans to test ideas for a brand new product that she will develop throughout her participation in the Lavin Entrepreneur program. She hopes to one day own her own business and feels that the entrepreneurship program is helping realize her goals. “It feels good to be implanted in a place where you can get the answers you need and build connections,” she says. “The mentors and staff really encourage you to make your move and have that mindset.”


Local Internship

Lavin Entrepreneurs spent last semester working with local startups and growing ventures as part of the Lavin Internship program. Through this program, student entrepreneurs are connected with internship opportunities that will further develop their skill set and professional competencies while providing companies with talented interns. These internships provide students the opportunity to build a relationship with an experienced professional who will not only lend advice, knowledge, and insights, but also guidance and support as they build their professional career. Lucien Eloundou was among the students that participated in the internship program during the last year. “It’s really great to get involved with a company that shares your vision,” says Eloundou.

The internship program includes for-profit and nonprofit companies to give students a multi-faceted business learning experiences. Qualified undergraduate and graduate students are individually matched with companies to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship and students engage in various projects ranging from operations, finance, and management to business development, research, communication, and marketing. "The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center provided SmartProperty with interns who've really helped augment our software development process," says SmartProperty’s CTO, Casey Rubano.

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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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