In order to succeed in today’s economy, thinking outside the box isn’t enough. Instead, it’s time to invent a new box. With unemployment rates as high as they are, students need to be prepared for the world they will face once they graduate. It’s time to be creative and innovative.
The San Diego State Entrepreneur Society is the place for students to access the necessary resources to start or join a unique business.
SDSU finance junior Brian Kidwell said for as long as he can remember, he planned to have his own business. Although Kidwell didn’t know how the business would start, his confidence was irrepressible.
Kidwell continues to build his business ambitions as the president of ES, which is comprised of more than 90 members from 11 countries whom Kidwell helps pursue their passions.
Kidwell believes an entrepreneur is “someone who can work endless hours and not worry about what they’re being paid or how long they’re actually working because they love it so much.”
“You can be an entrepreneur in any field,” he added.
Potential Entreprenuers may become discouraged because they don’t consider themselves to be creative individuals. Kidwell believes creativity isn’t the most important aspect of succeeding in business.
“You don’t have to be an idea guy,” Kidwell said. “You can join a team and become passionate about someone else’s idea.”
Kidwell talked about an experience during his sophomore year when ES member Keenan McCollom shared his idea of inventing a wheelchair that goes uphill easily. McCollom observed the difficulty people were having in wheelchairs around campus and decided it was an issue he wanted to fix.
When McCollom, Kidwell and other members teamed up to invent a new wheelchair for a business competition, they experienced defeat. However, Kidwell said they didn’t lose hope and continued working on the project. The team brought it to another business competition and won first place. The members recieved $11,000 to put toward their company, which is now officially a limited liability corporation. They hope to see the wheelchair in stores within two years.
ES business management senior Alexandra Eppel said an entrepreneur is “a risk taker who takes their passion, turns it into a business and makes a living out of it.”
Eppel joined the society to manifest her dreams of starting an event planning company. She wanted to find other people who were also serious about starting their own companies, rather than just studying business.
SDSU business management sophomore Anthony Chin said he joined the group this semester because he wanted to meet people while continuing to pursue his goal of becoming an entrepreneur. Chin said he has already met new people and made connections through his membership.
“I would like to start a nonprofit to help kids get off the street and send them to college,” Chin said.
His priorities are helping people who are in need, “specifically kids because they are the future.”
Membership in the society means various networking opportunities and the ability to tour companies. This semester, members will tour the Wheat Group, Inc., the accessory provider for brands such as Hurley, Puma and Taylor Guitars.
Kidwell said he plans to host events at fun, exciting venues rather than corporate offices. The leaders from various companies talk with the ES and offer them personal tips.
The society’s members collaborate and share accomplishments with the rest of the group. Members also discuss needs such as getting an internship and finding subjects to test protein bars.
Members also share their business pitches with the society and receive critical feedback. If the ideas pitched are feasible, ES and Entrepreneurial Management Center will award as much as $500 to further complete products. Entreprenuers test their products out on Entrepreneur Day, March 12, and keep half of the profits they earn. The other half goes back into to support future ideas.
An upcoming event worth noting is Start-up @ State on Oct. 30. The founders of Bump, Barnana, Anametrix and BrightScope will offer inspiration and an inside look at upcoming trends in their industries. The event will last from 4 to 6 p.m. at the SDSU Fowler Athletics Center auditorium.
ES membership is open to all class levels and majors. More information and registration is available through its website, entrepreneur.sdsu.edu/.