In The News

CSUF’s Center for Entrepreneurship: Inspiring investable ‘social innovation’

By Lou Ponsi

Excerpted from the Orange County Register

Fifteen years ago, Cal State Fullerton students seeking to become entrepreneurs were driven by the dream of one day parking their Lamborghini in the driveway of their mansion on the Newport Coast, said John Jackson, director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship.

While today’s future entrepreneurs still endeavor to live comfortably, Jackson said, their motivations are as much altruistic as they are capitalistic.

The types of startup businesses launched to better the lives of individuals and communities are examples of “social entrepreneurship,” said Johnson, who graduated from CSUF in 1977.

A group of California lawmakers, led by 29th District Sen. Josh Newman, support such business models, which is why the Center for Entrepreneurship just received a two-year state grant that will help further the center’s mission to educate and inspire social innovators with a desire to solve issues impacting the environment and society.

The grant is for $500,000 in the first year. The second-year award will be announced later in 2023.

“I think it’s validation that what we are doing is meaningful and matters,” said Jackson, a full-time professor teaching entrepreneurship courses while also serving as director of Center for Entrepreneurship. “The funds will allow us to expand our center at Cal State Fullerton. I think that all of us want to leave a trail behind us that includes doing good, and we want to be remembered for doing something that is substantial.”

Much of the grant funding will go toward reaching the first-generation population, Jackson said.

John Jackson, director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship (Courtesy of CSUF News Media Services)

The grant will help the center expand its center’s Startup Incubator, a six-month residency program in which students meet with an expert startup coach, have opportunities to meet with more than 1,000 entrepreneurs and receive monthly feedback from the center’s incubator staff of entrepreneurs and investors.

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