Bay Area Community Colleges Celebrate Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Collaboration!
By DSN Gabriela Sapp, MBA
In the spirit of entrepreneurialism and national small business week, Deputy Sector Navigator Gabriela Sapp and a group of five Bay Area Community Colleges hosted a regional business pitch competition at the beautiful College of San Mateo campus on May 5, 2018.
California has become the 5th largest economy in the world according to a recent economic report, and it is mostly due to innovation and entrepreneurship fostered in the State. It is in this framework, that CA Community Colleges are committed to provide students with access not only to experiential learning opportunities and entrepreneurial skills, but also with an ecosystem that rewards creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
Nine students pitched their business ideas in front of a selected group of judges composed by Nancy Hayes, former SFSU Business School Dean and current angel investor, Chuck Eason, Statewide Sector Navigator for the Business & Entrepreneurship Sector, and Tom Yeh, serial entrepreneur and investor.
The top three pitches received cash awards: Jacob Straub “FinPrep” from College of San Mateo, Peniel Takele “Nesty” from Chabot College, and Katerine Gonzales “Katerine’s Beauty” from College of San Mateo.
This event was the culmination of the Spring 2018 regional entrepreneurship program led by faculty champions in each of the participating colleges. Faculty shared their knowledge, time, but also their hearts to empower their students to participate in the competition, and that by itself is a great accomplishment!
Over 70 people including students, family members, college deans, and SF small business owners attended the event. Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, former Air Force pilot, honored by the Obama administration as one of 10 Women Military Veteran Leaders, “Champions of Change” was the keynote speaker. Graciela is also an author and through her unique literature, Latino students are introduced to role models that may be missing in their lives, and aspire to pursue higher educational pathways. SF Small Business Development Center client, Lana Porcello owner of Outerlands Restaurant supported the event by donating a $100 gift card for a raffle.The event was made possible due to a regional collaboration among faculty champions and college leaders from College of San Mateo - Pete Von Bleichert and Robert Shoffner, Cañada College - Alex Kramer and Lale Yurtseven, Chabot College - Miguel Colon, City College of San Francisco - Michael Needham, Monterey Peninsula College - Bruce Barrie, and the sponsorship of the Chancellor’s Office Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy initiative.