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San Diego State University

@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

The Next Big Thing, Here at SDSU

Long before Friday nights were spent watching Mark Cuban and his fellow billionaire panelists make or break dreams on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank, and before websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo invited regular folks into the entrepreneurial dream-making process, San Diego State University was supporting students on their path from idea generators to full-fledged business owners.

In fact, from wholesale big box giant Costco, to the surf/skate/snow fashion and lifestyle brand Volcom, SDSU students and alumni have created some of the most iconic brands in our culture and abroad.

On Wednesday, March 5, Entrepreneur Day will bring together the Aztecs behind budding startups as well as long established corporations to celebrate SDSU’s thriving spirit of entrepreneurship, turning Centennial Walkway into a trend spotter’s paradise from 10 am to 2 pm.

photo: Entrepreneurs showcase their products and services

Approximately 35 student-run companies will be showcasing their concepts and products at Entrepreneur Day, and many will be selling their offerings for the first time.

“This event is so important because it’s providing students with an opportunity to experience what it’s like to get out in the world and sell a product they’ve developed,” said Nolan Rakow, president of the SDSU Entrepreneur Society and senior management information systems major.

The mini business experiment, as Rakow referred to it, also puts students face-to-face with alumni who have successfully launched business ventures while enrolled at SDSU or after graduation. About 20 alumni companies, including Oggi’s, Rubio’s and SOLO Eyewear, will be represented alongside the student entrepreneurs, highlighting the ingenuity of Aztec-run businesses and inspiring current students to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

Nurturing a Culture of Entrepreneurship

Embracing entrepreneurship on campus isn’t confined to a one-day event, however. Programs and initiatives such as the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, the Zahn Innovation Center and the new minor in entrepreneurship are continuously underscoring SDSU’s sharp focus on developing up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Last fall, SDSU professor Alex DeNoble’s appointment as president elect for the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) put SDSU in the national spotlight for entrepreneurship education. In January, he took off his president’s hat to represent SDSU during the USASBE annual conference, where SDSU competed as a finalist for its 2014 National Model Undergraduate Program Award.

Hey, I Thought of That First!

If you swear Steve Jobs stole “his” idea for the iPod from your 3rd grade coloring book sketches, or you spent winter break outlining the next big idea in food service, chances are there’s an inner entrepreneur just waiting to shine. Contact Amy Checho at for more information on obtaining a booth at Entrepreneur Day and learn more about the Entrepreneur Society at its Kickoff Event on February 5.