Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Operates Virtually During COVID-19 Pandemic
These past few months have been anything but usual. At San Diego State University and throughout the world, rapid and drastic changes related to the coronavirus pandemic have turned any sense of normalcy on its head. Classes at SDSU went virtual, academic events were cancelled, graduation ceremonies were postponed and social gatherings, including our own California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference, were forced online.
Over the past few weeks, we in the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center have been working from home. But we have been working! The Center’s physical location may lay empty for now, but that has not hindered our ability to get our jobs done. Within the first week of working remotely, we hosted a virtual LeanModel Competition with entrepreneur judges via Zoom. The students who competed in the contest impressed the judges to such an extent that they had trouble deciding on just one winner. All of our interns working in the community are also now operating remotely.
These are trying times but we will not let them get the best of us. The show, as they say, must go on. The goal of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center is to serve SDSU’s students and the local community and that’s exactly what we intend to continue doing.
California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference Reimagined
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference was held online over two days, April 16th and 17th. The goal of this year’s edition of the event was to reimagine entrepreneurship.
A variety of themes were covered, including social entrepreneurship, curriculum insights, crowdfunding and creativity and innovation. Dr. John Mullins kicked off the event with a conversation on how startups can avoid raising venture capital and Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier closed it out by discussing how entrepreneurship will play a role in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
More than 1,100 entrepreneurship educators and professionals from more than 65 countries, 26 states and 875 affiliations turned out for the conference, making it the most-attended academic entrepreneurship conference yet. In addition to offering a slew of informative sessions, the conference also provided attendees with the opportunity to virtually network with one another. Thousands of messages were sent in the conference app, Whova, and each day closed with a virtual mixer for speakers and registrants to engage in open discussion and interact in a casual setting.
The conference was powered through the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) and sponsored by the ICSB, San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business, BizStarts, Fresno State University’s Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Troesch Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC).
Lavin Startup Seed Fund Helps Students Get Going
More than $22,000 has been awarded to six SDSU student-run companies this semester through the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Startup Fund. Those students will look to grow their startups into viable businesses by using the funds to build minimum viable products, conduct clinical trials of products, alpha test products, or complete other necessary steps to expand their enterprises.
The Startup Fund was developed to encourage and support SDSU students who aspire to create their own startup, with an ultimate goal of creating more founder-based SDSU companies. Like the Seed Fund dinners, the Startup Fund was made possible by Carol Lavin Bernick.
Student-run companies that have received funding this semester include:
- Brixbo, which focuses on building a next generation energy storage solution with battery storage modules that you can connect and stack together.
- Twin Events Management, which focuses on helping companies plan and manage events.
- Clarity Car Washing, which focuses on providing customers with an affordable and efficient way to wash their cars.
- Black Dollar Beauty, which focuses on hair products for curly hair.
- TekMate, which focuses on teaching elderly consumers how to use new technologies.
- Save the Food, which focuses on helping restaurants sell leftover foods at a discounted rate.