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Dean’s Update, August 14, 2012

Entrepreneurship Certificate Attracts CSULB Students to Free Summer Program

The CBA partnered with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Long Beach City College to offer an Entrepreneurship Certificate to CSULB students interested in starting their own businesses. SBDC Program Director Mike Daniel developed the 8-week program, and SBDC Business Advisors Bruce Sparks (CBA MBA 2012) and Kimberly Gros led the classes, delivered the lectures, and organized the projects.

This certificate program was completely free for all CSULB students and met Tuesdays, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., from June 5 to July 31. In just eight weeks the students received comprehensive training in entrepreneurship and related topics. By the end of the program, the students had constructed a complete business plan by building different parts one week at a time.

On the first night, 137 students showed up, and at the end we gave out 95 certificates. This shows not only the dedication of our students but the enthusiasm for entrepreneurship knowledge. Student teams put together business plans on a wide range of ideas and some of the business plan topics included: on-call executive assistants, cake-flavored donut shops, portable indoor/outdoor plant growing systems, video sharing systems for personal and business use, personalized stuffed animals including social media connections, and computer-aided golf training systems.

One goal of the Entrepreneurship Certificate was to help CSULB students be better prepared for the annual Innovation Challenge business plan competition that is co-sponsored by the CBA and the College of Engineering. The Innovation Challenge begins in the Fall Semester and ends in early April. The team that writes the winning business plan receives $10,000 in seed investment, plus legal and accounting services, to start a business. The Entrepreneurship Certificate allows students to begin thinking about their innovations, teams, and business plan during the summer in order to be ready for the start of the Innovation Challenge in September.

The 2012 Entrepreneurship Certificate was not limited to students who plan on competing in the Innovation Challenge. All CSULB students were invited to participate, whether they want to start a business now or sometime in the future. The Entrepreneurship Certificate documents that they have completed all the assignments.

The certificate program unfolded as follows:

Week 1: Idea Generation
Week 2: Business Planning
Week 3: Market Research
Week 4: Marketing
Week 5: Marketing with Technology
Week 6: Financial Projections
Week 7: Preparing for Your Pitch!
Week 8: Sales and Investor Pitch

Without the support of the SBDC, the Entrepreneurship Certificate would not have been possible. The SBDC, part of the national Small Business Administration (SBA), helps small business owners succeed with low-cost training and no-cost one-on-one advising from experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts. The SBDC has been hosted by Long Beach City College since 2006 and has helped hundreds of area business owners increase their sales, obtain loans, streamline operations, utilize new technologies, expand into new markets, and position themselves for long-term growth.