Monthly Archives: April 2016

Southwestern College Student Places Top 5 in Regional Business Pitch Competition

Category : News

San Diego Mesa College played host to a regional business pitch competition for community college students called Idea2Innovate, which was organized in conjunction with the Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator for the San Diego & Imperial Region and was one of 10 regional competitions throughout the state—the winners of which will compete in a statewide competition in May. The format of the competition was modeled after the popular TV show “Shark Tank” in which current and aspiring business owners pitch their business ideas to successful entrepreneurs in hopes of landing investment to start or expand their business.

For the Idea2Innovate competition, community college students throughout the San Diego & Imperial region submitted a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation and a 2-minute video pitch of their business. Judges then scored the slide decks and videos and invited the top 8 students to pitch their ideas at a live event at Mesa’s campus on April 8th. Each student had 7 minutes to pitch their idea in front of the judges and invited guests. The allotted time included 2-minutes to show their video pitch and 5 minutes for their live pitch, after which the judges had 3 minutes to ask follow-up questions. Southwestern College student, Marco Chavez—who had attended a pair of labs and individual counseling sessions put on by CITD Business Advisors, Gabriel Reyes and Monica Rosas in conjunction with Southwestern College Business Professor, Yvonne Lucas to help prepare students for the competition—was one of the students selected for the live event. Marco pitched his organic clothing business, Motiv, which sells t-shirts and other clothing and accessories that are made with bamboo fiber and organic cotton, and was awarded 5th place and a cash scholarship in the amount of $500. Although Marco will not be eligible to compete in the statewide business pitch competition, he has already launched his business and made his first sales.

(Left to right: CITD Business Advisor, Monica Rosas; Southwestern College Business Professor, Yvonne Lucas; Marco Chavez)

(Left to right: CITD Business Advisor, Monica Rosas; Southwestern College Business Professor, Yvonne Lucas; Marco Chavez)


CITD Business Advisors Help Prepare Southwestern College Students for Regional Business Pitch Competition

Category : News

Small business and entrepreneurship is a key driver of the economy with the vast majority of new private-sector jobs being created by small firms and entrepreneurially minded people. Additionally, employers highly value employees who are self-starters and possess entrepreneurial skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. This makes it imperative for educational institutions to develop programs that will prepare students to succeed in an entrepreneurial economy.

The California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) Program’s Small Business Sector Navigator initiative recognized this need and put out an RFA for a total of ten Faculty Entrepreneurship Champion (FEC) mini-grants, one for each community college region in the state, of up to $7,500 each. The purpose of the grants is to help business faculty at community colleges infuse entrepreneurship curriculum into existing classes and programs or develop experiential entrepreneurial learning opportunities for students. Working in conjunction with San Diego CITD Business Advisor and Youth Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator, Gabriel Reyes, Southwestern College Business Professor Yvonne Lucas was awarded an FEC grant for the San Diego region.

As part of the FEC grant activities, Professor Lucas and CITD Business Advisors Gabriel Reyes and Monica Rosas worked with Southwestern College students to prepare them for a regional business pitch competition by providing assistance with developing a brief business plan and video pitch for their business ideas through two group lab sessions and one-on-one counseling. The regional competition, called Idea2Innovate, was organized by the Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator for the San Diego & Imperial Region and is one of 10 regional competitions throughout the state—the winners of which will compete in a statewide competition in May. Students who participate in the regional competition will have a chance to win up to $2,500, with an opportunity to win additional cash and other prizes at the state level.