SDSU embraces entrepreneurs with week-long celebration

by Jamie Ballard, Staff Writer

A week-long celebration of entrepreneurship at San Diego State took place last week, allowing students, faculty and staff to participate in a variety of creative entrepreneurial opportunities.

Entrepreneur Day on Mar. 4 provided campus entrepreneurs the chance to engage the public with their ideas. Several student-led companies set up along Campanile Walkway to demonstrate its products and services.

Among the many entrepreneurs was mechanical engineering freshman Tyler Hadzicki with Leaux Racing Trikes, close-to-the-ground stunt tricycles capable of high-intensity spins, swerves and — for the experienced — tumbles.

Hadzicki said he has been working on the product with his dad since the seventh grade.

“We just wanted to make something different, and we hope people enjoy it,” he said.

The product has received more than $46,000 in funding through Kickstarter after setting an original goal of $15,000, and it is now available for purchase here.

Another student company was Journey On, a clothing and apparel company with a philosophical approach.

“We don’t want to be just another skate and surf company,” founder and graphic design senior Jin Salamack said. “We want people to really be getting out there and living their adventure, whatever it might be, just get out there and do something.”

His team brought some of its screen-printed wares, such as stickers and T-shirts along with them to Entrepreneur Day. Salamack said he was inspired to start the company after his endeavor to skateboard through the entire state of California last summer.

Entrepreneur Day wasn’t the only big event of the week. The California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference took place on Mar. 5 and 6. The conference was organized to bring new ideas and fresh approaches to building and coaching student entrepreneurs. Themes of creativity and innovation were a focus for some of guest speakers, and the driving force behind several roundtable discussions. SDSU and the Lavin Center co-hosted the conference.

The LeanModel Competition began on Mar. 6, and provided the opportunity for student entrepreneurs from across the country to compete for funding. Twenty teams brought their prototype to the showcase and received customer feedback on their product. Judges are among some of the customers and determine which ideas have the most potential. Part of the competition included the Aztec Tank, similar to Shark Tank. On Saturday, the semi-finals and final competition took place.

The Zahn Challenge Competition also took place during Entrepreneur Week. The finals and winners were announced on Mar. 6. The Zahn Challenge and the LeanModel competition were separate events, but groups competing in both had the opportunity to see and hear about the ideas that were pitched. The Zahn Challenge wrapped up on Friday afternoon, and the LeanModel Aztec Tank competition began almost immediately after.

Entrepreneurship Week was hosted by SDSU and the Lavin Center, which provides resources for entrepreneurial students and faculty, such as workshops, conferences, internships and professional counseling.