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Tuesday, October 23rd 2018

Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Community Newsletter

September, 2018

Student Entrepreneur Provides Nutrition Through Cross-Border Social Venture

student entrepreneur Fourth-year business major and student entrepreneur, Tony Chavez, is working with the Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad and social innovators south of the border to develop a social entrepreneurship venture that supports an impoverished community in Tijuana, Mexico.x

For the last year, Chavez has been working with Torolab, which is a collective consisting of engineers, artists and entrepreneurs seeking to address the public and political phenomena of growing cities through analysis and creative projects.

Tony says his participation in an entrepreneurship course lead by Social Entrepreneurship Professor Mike Sloan, was the start of his cross-border business endeavors. “At the beginning of the course, Professor Sloan told us that we would work on creating a social venture model and if one of the projects was good enough, that we could compete at TCU’s social venture competition. I am very competitive, so when I heard that news, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.”

While participating in the course, Chavez was introduced to Torolab and social innovator, Raul Cardenas Osuna. Torolab is a social entrepreneurship endeavor that seeks to develop and improve communities through education inspired by art, music, dance and nutritional understanding. “La Granja”, Torolab’s Tijuana endeavor is a social plight project focused on providing sustainable, nutritional true foods to the residents of Camino Verde, an impoverished community in Tijuana, Mexico which faces high crime rates and periodic flooding. Osuna eventually decided to bring Chavez on to the team to provide entrepreneurial insights and help create an effective business strategy.

The project operates with the slogan of “true foods that empower,’ and Chavez says he was immediately interested in the concept and believes it can improve people’s lives. “There are millions of people in the world living in nutritional poverty, so if we can make this project a success in this community, hopefully it can be applied in many other places,” he says.

Chavez says it is no coincidence that California and it’s neighbor, Baja California serve as a hotspot for innovation. He says that the collaboration between people of different cultures and ideas leads to opportunities for creative solutions, including the project that he is currently involved with that uses hydroponic farming to provide nutritional food to impoverished communities. “90 percent of the water is recycled and the remaining 10 percent is consumed by the plants,” he says. “The gastronomic culture in Baja California has exploded in the last few years and this project at the La Granja facility can serve as an example for other places in the world.”

Lavin Entrepreneur and Former L.A. Dodger Launches Crypto Hedge Fund

L.A. Dodger At one point, SDSU Lavin Entrepreneur, Tyler Adkison, was a standout athlete on SDSU’s Baseball team before being drafted into the Dodgers organization. Now, Adkison works out of a coworking space in Downtown San Diego where he and his team are working on growing their cryptocurrency hedge fund, called BlockTerra, which focuses on connecting athletes with new investment opportunities.

During his sophomore year, Adkison applied to the Lavin Entrepreneur Program after a friend and former SDSU teammate and Lavin Entrepreneur recommended it to him. “I wanted to surround myself with like-minded people and the initial idea was to bridge the gap between sports and business,” he says.

Adkison has dedicated himself to providing financial opportunities to athletes who he feels are underserved in this regard. “If you look at the numbers, odds are most athletes are not going to be able to support themselves solely off of the money they make from their sport. I wanted to have something to fall back on,” hey says.

Adkison grew up in an entrepreneurial family and started testing markets at a young age. “In middle school I was selling candy out of my locker to buy an ipad,” he says. “I only realized later that I was actually an early adopter of this brand new tablet technology. I think it also planted the seed of how good it felt to create something out of nothing.”

Adkison also spent time taping up people’s bats to make extra money and he believes it helped him become the entrepreneur he is today. “I mean the things I did may not be so impressive, but I think that those things create the DNA of who you are,” he says.

Eventually, he left San Diego State University to play in the Dodgers farm system. While with the team, he was abe to earn capital which would help him build his company. He had been with the Dodgers for one year before he sustained an injury that would change his life and lead him to focus his efforts on entrepreneurship. “It was the last weekend before the season started, and just another game, except this time it was different,” he says. “I got hit by a pitch and it got me perfectly and I was out.”

Adkison spent a week in the hospital and didn’t play baseball for another year after the injury. “I started thinking of baseball being at an end and thought “what's next” and I had no answer. It ended up being kind of an early wake up call,” he says. “In the moment it sucked, but I have always been able to perceive things positively and looking back, it is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Before leaving the Dodgers, Adkison was able to participate in an independent study course, overseen by Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Executive Director, Alex DeNoble, which focused on Blockchain technology.

“Many athletes are released from their teams and are left wondering what to do next. I kind of had that forced upon me and it made me ask questions that I didn’t have all of the answers to,” he says. “It is not a coincidence that right after I got back on my feet I started reconnecting with the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. I met with Professor DeNoble and shared my vision and dream of helping athletes and that has been the theme of my life ever since,” he says.

Adkison’s local hedge fund concentrates on connecting athletes with new investment opportunities, specializing in web 3.0 companies and cryptocurrency technology. “The educational curve is the toughest battle we face. Many people do not understand this technology and where it is headed, but perhaps we can shape it and help people at the same time” he says.

Lavin Accounting Intern Grows Medical Tourism Startup

Lavin Accounting Emmanuel Gambino Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Accounting Intern, Emmanuel Gambino, is participating in both San Diego State University’s ZIP Launchpad (The Entrepreneurship Center Incubator) and the Lavin Entrepreneur program. He is developing Meditour, a medical tourism facilitation company which seeks to provide local communities with reliable access to medical services across the border.

Gambino is the seventh accounting intern to work alongside the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Finance and Programs Analyst, Beryl Pratts, who has over 30 years of experience in the accounting field. Under her guidance, the accounting intern helps maintain budgets and develops financial projections. “The work that these accounting interns do here translates well into what they will be doing in their future jobs,” she says.

Pratts says most accountants must earn their CPA degrees because of how fast accounting methods have changed and because of how complex the industry has become. “It is different than when I started. With international accounting and fraud security, the field has become quite involved, so this experience can be a good introduction to their careers,” she says. “We also get a lot of applicants because there are not very many opportunities for accounting students to have real experiences on the job while they are in school.”

Gambino has spent the last year sharpening his accounting skills at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and he says the biggest benefit of the internship is the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. “When you work in an entry-level position, you might just end up filing papers, but I am here actually getting my hands dirty trying to organize a real budget,” he says.

Gambino will graduate from SDSU with a master’s degree in accounting next year and plans to use his accounting knowledge to continue growing his company. “If you know the numbers for you business, then you are always going to be able to make an educated business decision,” he says.

Former Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Employee Launches Virtual Business Playbook

Kylie Peters After working at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center as a marketing specialist, Kylie Peters, is now the founder and CEO of her own full service web design and digital marketing agency and has also launched an online guide to starting a virtual business. Peters started working at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center after graduating from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “I moved out here to do something different. The day after I landed, I had my interview with Bernie Schroeder at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and a week later I was hired,” Peters says.

While working at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, Peters took the lead in marketing the center and organizing the newly created Lavin VentureStart programs. Peters says that through her employment, she was introduced to business practices that have helped her start her own business. “I did not know a lot about entrepreneurship or creating a business model or getting funding, so working at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center was an amazing learning experience,” she says.

After spending over a year working at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, Peters moved to Chicago to begin her career in digital marketing. She worked at several digital marketing agencies and eventually founded her own web design and digital marketing company called Brainchild Studios.

This year, Peters also launched a comprehensive online guide to help entrepreneurs navigate the first six months of starting and running a virtual business. “It would have been nice if someone had laid out the steps and the order of things to do when I started. So that is what I am trying to do for other would be entrepreneurs,” she says.

Peters interviewed Program Director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, Bernhard Schroeder, and over 50 other industry experts and colleagues as part of her new digital training course. “There is a lot to be said about building your network and doing good work.” she says. “People want to work with good people who they like and you need to build your network everyday. If you do the work on yourself to become comfortable with who you really are, you will be able to build real relationships.”

Peters maintains a low overhead while running her company and traveling back and forth from Milwaukee and Chicago. She says that anyone can do it and hopes that more people will take advantage of this growing industry. “You have to figure out what works for you and I encourage everyone to take control of their destiny,” she says. “It is not easy, but I believe anyone can do it if they have got that grit and determination.”

2019 California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference

Transforming the Field of Entrepreneurship

2019 conference At the 2019 conference, we will be discussing the disruption that is currently taking place in the way in which we have traditionally taught and conducted research in the field of entrepreneurship. The field is being transformed by all of the informational and educational resources that are appearing rapidly on and offline. Students are able to turn to the Universities of “Google” and “Youtube” for their educational information, thereby making it possible to bypass traditional education institutions.

Additionally, various entrepreneur evangelists are continuing to advocate that students consider dropping out of school so that they can devote full time in pursuit of their ventures. In order to adjust to these rapid changes affecting the entrepreneurship academic professional, we need to transform how we teach and learn about the evolving nature of next generation entrepreneurs and the contexts in which they operate. Come join us for San Diego State University’s sixth annual California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference in April of 2019.

The California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference was created so that attendees can hear from a lineup of leading entrepreneurship educators, researchers and thought leaders. This conference is highly interactive, creating an environment to learn more, share and collaborate. Attending this conference allows educators from all around the country to network, and engage with one another to help bring something new in entrepreneurship education and research back to their schools.

We invite you to get inspired and see how to push the envelope in entrepreneurship education and learn how to successfully help future entrepreneurs along their paths. Every year we have an amazing lineup of speakers, session leaders, and researchers who share their knowledge and engage in rich interactions with conference participants.

Registration :

Dates: April 11th, 12th, and 13th, 2019
Location: San Diego State University
Full Conference Fee: $349
Single day fee: $249 per day

Register Now


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Transforming Entrepreneurship

California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference 2019
April 11-13, 2019


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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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