An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Economic recovery following the pandemic will require an entrepreneurial skill set. Fortunately, the CSU offers inquiring minds a multitude of resources. No wonder CSU alumni are leading the way.


“For that reason, I’m out.” This catchphrase has been introduced into the popular lexicon by Shark Tank, a show in which eager entrepreneurs pitch their business ventures to a panel of investors. ​While Mark Cuban and his team of “sharks” have helped to raise the profile of entrepreneurs, small businesses have long played an essential role in California’s economy. In fact, they account for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity.​​

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Every small business starts with an idea, a seed that must be nurtured in order to grow to its full potential. At the CSU, students, faculty and alumni are offered a multitude of resources to help bring their concepts to fruition. They include entrepreneur undergrad and graduate programs, incubators, accelerators, access to angel funding, maker spaces, mentorships and internships.

Now more than ever, as we face ​economic challenges sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, creativity and innovation will be critical. “In any economic cycle, entrepreneurs and small business owners are typically driving the renewal process,” says Mike Stull, Ph.D., director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino​. “[The CSU] can serve as the pipeline for employees who are going to be changemakers in the community.”

Here are four examples of CSU alumni who went from lightbulb moment to corner office.

A person models a shoe from Pashion Footwear.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Haley Pavone invented the world's first fully convertible heel.

Walk in Her Shoes
Maritza Gomez holds a coffee cup. 

Cal State San Bernardino DREAMer Maritza Gomez provides creators with digital printing solutions.

Dream Big
Maritza Gomez holds a coffee cup. 
John Chi works in a lab. 

Cal State Fullerton’s John Chi invented the world’s fastest fat-processing system to harvest stem cells.

Meet the Science Guy​
SDSU students work in the ZIP Launchpad. 

A team of San Diego State alumni streamlined the college experience through management software.

Unlock the Possibilities
SDSU students work in the ZIP Launchpad. 

Find out more​​ information on how the CSU supports entrepreneurship.