Founders of the CSUF Startup Incubator gather in front of the Placentia, California, facility in summer 2014.

Founders of the CSUF Startup Incubator gather at the new facility in Placentia

Mihaylo’s Center for Entrepreneurship is preparing to open the CSUF Startup Incubator, the first CSUF business incubator, in Placentia. The business incubator will utilize entrepreneurs in residence and industry-experienced mentors affiliated with the Center for Entrepreneurship to guide aspiring business start-ups into viable business models.

Students at CSU Fullerton often aspire to start their own businesses, yet attaining the skills, resources and knowledge to succeed can be a daunting task.

“It is my observation that we have many outstanding entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas at CSUF; with proper support and coaching for the entrepreneurs, these ideas could become viable businesses, “John Bradley Jackson, director of Mihaylo’s Center for Entrepreneurship, says. Three years ago, he wrote the business plan for the CSUF Startup Incubator, an off-campus business incubator that will open in nearby Placentia by mid-November.

Established through a partnership with the City of Placentia, which provided the small building at 120 South Bradford, the center will be a “mixed-use incubator.” Jackson explains: “This means that we do not specialize in a certain type of industry. We are looking for innovative ideas that are scalable, meaning capable of growing to a large company. The scalability requirement favors companies that build repeatable products rather than direct labor businesses.”

From Idea to Action in Six Months

Students and other members of the campus community with entrepreneurial aspirations will be welcome at the center to meet with mentors and advisors affiliated with Mihaylo’s Center for Entrepreneurship, including professionals from various industries in the community. They will assist in developing workable business models to develop startups that not only look good on paper, but will succeed and thrive in the real world, offering advice on financial, technological, legal and logistical considerations. The center will even offer web support, designed to give startups a presence in digital media, with the goal of turning ideas into reality within 180 days.

Exterior view of the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia, California, a 1930s Works Progress Administration (WPA) building.

The CSUF Startup Incubator building, 120 S. Bradford, Placentia, CA

“We can help startups by building a custom support plan to find a viable business model,” Jackson explains. “This includes mentoring by industry veterans versed in “Lean Startup” which is a new venture creation methodology that mandates a thorough understanding of the customer before you create product specification.”

With planning and good fortune, these businesses can go on to provide jobs and enrichment to the communities they serve.

Jackson notes that the center is a collaborative effort with other colleges on campus. Once operating, students from across majors and disciplines will be welcome to discuss their business visions at the center. “We will engage with students from all eight CSU Fullerton colleges, not just Mihaylo,” he explains. “The best startups will have diverse members and combine technology with business.”

CSUF Startup Incubator Criteria

For more information on the CSUF Startup Incubator, including an application, contact Jackson at jjackson@fullerton.edu or at 657-278-8413. Application criteria for aspiring innovative entrepreneurs are as follows:

  • The business concept proposed must be innovative.
  • The business concept is to be a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship.
  • The business concept demonstrates a need for our services and must be one which we can help.
  • The business concept must demonstrate the capability for business viability and growth.
  • The business plan or model submitted by the innovator is sound.
  • The innovator will submit a proper business plan or model to the center, which will be review by the selection committee.
  • If no plan of model is available, the applicant may be coached on how to prepare a plan depending on the sole discretion of the center’s selection committee.
  • The business proposed should have the potential to create intellectual capital, employment, revenue growth and profits.
  • The innovators may or may not have a track record in innovative ventures.
  • A first-time innovator should have an innovator’s profile and be of strong character. The selection committee will assess this through personal interviews, reviews of past activities, background checks, references, etc.