Category Archives: News

Southwestern College Sun Features Student Entrepreneur

Category : News

The Sun—Southwestern College’s student-run newspaper—featured a video of student Marco Chavez and his Motiv clothing line, which uses fabrics made with bamboo fiber. Marco recently participated in a “Shark Tank” style regional business pitch competition and placed 5th and was awarded a $500 scholarship. To prepare for the competition, Marco took the YEP online training and participated in a series of group labs and one-on-one counseling sessions hosted by CITD Business Advisors and Southwestern College Business Professor, Yvonne Lucas.


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.

Idea2Innovate Business Plan Pitch Competition

Category : News

The Idea2Innovate Business Plan Pitch Competition is a regional Shark Tank style business idea competition where community college students compete head-to-head for a chance to win cash scholarships and advance to a statewide competition. The event, which was developed by the Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator as an experiential learning activity for students interested in entrepreneurship, will be hosted at Mesa College.

Southwestern College (SWC) students interested in participating in the regional competition will receive assistance with developing their pitch and business presentation, as part of a mini-grant awarded to Southwestern College business professor, Yvonne Lucas. Two competition submission development labs will be held at SWC’s main campus at which students will receive tips and information on how to to put together a winning pitch video and business plan presentation, in addition to one-on-one business counseling from Center for International Trade Development Business Advisors, Gabriel Reyes and Monica Rosas.

In addition to the assistance with developing their entries to the regional competition, students will have an opportunity to practice their pitch at SWC’s Business Club’s “Jaguar Cage” pitchfest event. The event, which will be held on March 23rd, 2016 will give SWC students an opportunity to receive constructive feedback from a panel of business professionals to help fine-tune their pitch and plan for the regional competition, and also a chance to win a package of resources and prizes from the Business Club.

For more information about the competition and the submission development labs, click here.

White House and SBA Will be on Shark Tank Tonight

Category : News

The White House and SBA will make a cameo appearance on tonight’s episode of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ (airing 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central), celebrating innovative entrepreneurs at the Millennium Entrepreneurship Conference held this past May at the White House.

On tonight’s episode, America will see how the Obama Administration is investing in global entrepreneurship—creating innovation and expanding opportunity for small businesses and savvy entrepreneurs.

We expect viewers will go to to learn firsthand how we are propelling entrepreneurs and innovators to compete in today’s marketplace.

As we head into Global Entrepreneurship Week November 16-22, let us be encouraged by our Agency’s impact. Everyday we reach thousands of small businesses through our counseling, financing and federal contracting programs. I am so proud of and grateful for your continued dedication to our mission.

Please tune in tonight. Help us spread the word and the SBA spirit!

TEDx San Diego 2015

Category : News

On 10/17, TEDx San Diego will host Innovation Alley to showcase San Diego’s most innovative companies and entrepreneurs. Featuring 12 speaker and three performances in Copley Symphony Hall, as well as 20 startup companies hosted in Innovation Alley on B Street, the event is sure to impress. Take advantage of the San Diego Regional EDC’s 15 percent discount. Register here.

YEP Highlighted at Southwestern College Business Club’s Entrepreneurship Workshop

Category : News

gabe_entrepreneurship_swcOn November 20th, Southwestern College’s Business Club held its first event of the Fall Semester. The event, organized in conjunction with the college’s Club Web, was attended by more than 80 students and featured a panel of local business owners and experts. CITD Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) Coordinator, Gabriel Reyes, kicked off the panel discussion with an overview of YEP and its online business training, after which each panel member provided a brief introduction and discussed their experiences as entrepreneurs. Event participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the panel as a whole or approach each panel member individually after the initial discussion.

The aim of the event was to provide students interested in starting their own business with information on entrepreneurship resources, as well as guidance and advice on navigating the pitfalls associated with running your own business and making it successful.

YEP Business Plan Competition Winners Announced

Category : News

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 YEP Business Plan Competition! The winning plans were submitted by Harvey Williams, Robert Zaragoza, and Greta Wilson and the Reel Delicious team at High Tech High San Diego.

Harvey, a veteran and current student at Phoenix University, submitted a plan for a delivery service that will start with local food delivery and branch out to delivery of other items as it grows. Harvey is very determined to get this business, called Premium Rush, up and running within the few months and is currently working on developing the mobile app that customers will use to access his service.

Robert, a fitness buff, submitted a plan for a gym called Total Fitness that would cater to both youth and adults and feature video game based excercise. This business has always been a dream of Roberto’s and he plans to start a smaller business to help him raise the capital needed for his dream project.

Greta and her classmates submitted a plan for a food truck that will feature movies playing on screens outside of the truck, hence the name Reel Delicious. This started out as a class project that is quickly turning into reality. The students have been able to successfully raise $35,000 through Kickstarter for their business and are about to purchase their first food truck and equipment.

The winners of this year’s business plan competition received a prize package that included an iPad Mini, free workshop attendance, PR assistance, and other services and resources designed to help them launch and manage their businesses.

YEP Featured in San Diego Union-Tribune Article

Category : News

The San Diego Union-Tribune featured our Youth Entrepreneurship Program in its SD•B2B section on January 18th, 2014. The article, which is in a Q&A format, is based on a discussion with YEP Coordinator, Gabriel Reyes, on the importance of teaching entrepreneurship to today’s youth.

Click here to read the full article.

San Diego Unified School District Holds 2nd Annual Student Store Competition

Category : News

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) held its 2nd Annual Student Store Competition on January 16th, 2014 at Madison High School. The competition, developed and organized by SDUSD’s College, Career & Technical Education department, provides a way for students involved in their high school’s student store to learn key business concepts and develop critical thinking skills. The schools that participated in the competition were Serra High, Clairemont High, Kearny High, Mission Bay High, and San Diego High School. This year’s competition focused on having students come up with a merchandising strategy and proposal to help boost sales at their stores.

Preparation for the competition started with a tour of SDSU and USD’s student stores where students learned about the merchandising strategies those stores use. The students were then paired with a mentor from the business community to help them develop a SWOT analysis and come up with a merchandising strategy that they could implement and test. The students implemented their strategy for a week, collected data, and analyzed the results, which they turned into a written proposal  and presentation for the competition.

Written proposals for the competition were scored in advance of an event where all five teams were given a chance to present their proposal and results of their merchandising strategy to a panel of three judges, which included Sarah Castro, SDSU Aztec Shop Manager, Kim Missel, USD Torero Store Manager, and Gabriel Reyes, San Diego CITD Youth Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. Prior to the announcement of the winning teams, guest speaker Ruben Garcia, Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s San Diego District Office, encouraged the students to explore business ownership as a career path and provided an overview of the no-cost services and programs available through the SBA to help support small businesses. The team from Serra High School’s Super-Q Store won first place in the competition with their strategy of using mobile racks to reach more students on their campus and bringing in vendors to do product sampling promotions. Second place went to the team from Clairemont High’s Chief Hut, who implemented an express line for a top selling product, and third place went to the team from Kearny High’s Komet Corner, who tested a combo meal strategy, pairing top selling items with less popular items.