The University Business Center breathed with accomplishment and innovation on Tuesday as young Fresno State student entrepreneurs showcased their business concepts during the third annual 157 Entrepreneurship Expo.
Approximately 30 entrepreneurship students were required to participate in the expo as part of the ENTR 157: New Venture Laboratory class. The expo, hosted by the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, allowed for the students to receive feedback from judges and the public.
“This is probably the hardest class that I’ve had the entire time I’ve been at [Fresno] State,” said Florenza Galbadores, an entrepreneurship student. “Some of [the information] was new, of course, but a lot of it was taking the entire four years [of knowledge] that we’ve been at State and condensing it into five months of actually using it all.”
Along with the expo display, the young entrepreneurs were required to write papers on their businesses that comprised of 70-150 pages of information, said Nelson Sebra, the professor of ENTR 157.
The students were given the opportunity to connect with graphic design students and public relations students to assist them with their business cards, posters and social media strategy, Sebra said.
“That’s today’s world. If you don’t have a presence in social media, you’re from the Dark Ages,” Sebra said.
The showcased business concepts varied in industry featuring clothing brands, health services, automobile services and food items.
Galbadores displayed her plan for an in-home bakery, Baked With Love. What started as a love for baking with her family at the age of 6, turned into a business concept two to three years ago.
“I planned on doing a local bakery that uses Fresno-based fruits and California-grown ingredients to showcase Fresno and everything that is California,” Galbadores said.
Baked With Love has an eclectic assortment of pastries, but its specialty is the “muffcake,” a hybrid of a muffin and a cupcake, said Galbadores.
“[I want to] kind of just give a really great dessert that screams this is something you can only find in a special place,” Galbadores said.
While some students hadn’t yet launched their concepts, others, like Daniel Malcolm, launched their business within the past few weeks.
His business, Sparkle Ties, distributes glamourous ties made from bright fabric and studded gems to challenge the “status quo of the cliche tie,” Malcolm said.
“I lived in Korea for two years, and in Asia they’re not afraid to wear lots of colors, [dress] a bit brighter,” Malcolm said. “Men in Korea wore ties like these every day. I started collecting and when I got back to America, I couldn’t find them anymore.”
Malcolm was complimented by friends, acquaintances and strangers for his ties, and that’s what inspired him to develop a business plan.
While American business wear is traditionally conservative and mute in color, Malcolm foresees “louder” pieces growing more acceptable in the business world.
“It’s OK for men to wear pink now. With that, it really sets the stage for Sparkle Ties. If men can wear pink then maybe they can wear a little bit of sparkle,” Malcolm said.
“I would feel comfortable wearing this to an interview. It shows [interviewers] my personality,” Malcolm said. “It’ll help them remember who I am because I will look different from other applicants. I believe change is happening already naturally.”