SSU student artist Anthony Goodman tapped his entrepreneurial thinking to drive his passion for painting. He and other students are featured in a video produced by CELL called "Entreprenoma" at http://vimeo.com/77880034.
When Darren Fong borrowed his mom's vintage sewing machine to customize the brim of a hat, he had no sewing experience, no intention of making money, and no idea that his creation would become a legitimate, thriving business. Only one year later, the Sonoma State student is selling handcrafted hats, shirts and sweatshirts all across the world with his clothing line, "Off the Map SF."
Inspired to help fellow student entrepreneurs achieve similar success, Fong joined the student arm of Sonoma State's Community for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Learning (CELL), a new campus movement with a mission to foster innovation.
Through cross-disciplinary programs and partnerships, like providing student entrepreneurs with assistance and resources, CELL's goals are to support entrepreneurial careers, infuse entrepreneurial thinking in education and accelerate entrepreneurial action in the community.
"Our generation is graduating into a world and society that requires us to think more innovatively - taking risks, leveraging passions and pursuing hobbies," says Patrick Maloney, student lead of CELL and an entrepreneur himself. He was inspired by his love of coffee to create his own specialized beans, in a business he named "Bun" after the Ethiopian word "Buna" which means coffee.
Igniting an Entrepreneurial
Spirit Across Campus
"Our aim is to ignite and infuse entrepreneurial thinking and behavior into our students, across Sonoma State University and throughout the surrounding community," said William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics.
The entrepreneurial mindset encompasses more than just starting businesses - it involves having the courage to take risks, leveraging passions with careers and learning from like-minded individuals.
Through cross-disciplinary and collaborative partnerships with students, faculty, and leaders of both business and education, CELL intends to revitalize careers, develop critical thinking and grow problem-solving by stimulating entrepreneurial thinking.
"We're trying to demystify the world 'entrepreneur,'" said Sonoma State's Codding Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mark Nelson. "Entrepreneurs are everywhere."
CELL has three broad goals:
- To transform the educational system at Sonoma State University and the North Bay Area. Now more than ever, there is a need for adaptability, curiousity, imagination, collaboration, leadership, initiative and critical thinking.
Collaborative projects with the School of Business and Economics and School of Education like the Innovate/Educate Sonoma Conference, an Unleashing Entrepreneurial Spirit course for educators and an Entrepreneurialism in Education certificate are just a few ways CELL is stimulating creativity in classrooms.
- To launch and support entrepreneurial careers. In an increasingly competitive job market, particularly for the generation on the brink of graduation, innovation is necessary for survival. Current initiatives to support student success include the student arm of CELL, an Entrepreneurship Freshman Learning Community and a cross-disciplinary Creative Arts and Digital Media Entrepreneurship certificate program.
- To accelerate entrepreneurial action.
CELL continuously seeks methods to support the entrepreneurial spirit in the community through partnerships like Sonoma County BEST and the North Bay iHub - a collaboration of education providers, accelerators and incubators focused on growing the North Bay's entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Learn how you can join the movement by visiting http://www.sonoma.edu/entrepreneurship
"CELL's not just for people who want to start a business. It's about thinking from different angles or perspectives, rather than what traditionally makes sense," says Maloney. Maloney and Fong are working with the rest of the CELL student board to determine what types of services they can offer for student entrepreneurs seeking support.
"I've had my hands in every aspect of my business, from designing, manufacturing, marketing and shipping my products," says Fong.
"There have been a few problems I've run into, but I learn from every single one. My experience makes it easy to think of what other student entrepreneurs would need help with for their businesses."
Over the past year, the students of CELL have partnered with local entrepreneurs, Sonoma State alumni and various organizations to demonstrate and inspire creativity, taking risks and pursuing passions.
"Entrepreneurialism isn't just for business students - it's for art majors, science majors, math majors and everyone else," says Fong. "It's all about having an entrepreneurial mindset."
Maloney has big plans in the works, including student innovation awards, a market day to showcase student businesses, and a storefront in the new Student Center to sell student-made products and creations.
As of right now, Maloney and the team are learning from their own successes and failures, taking risks to create a truly unique entrepreneurial community on campus.
"We want to see SSU as a center for innovation and entrepreneurial incubation," says Maloney. "There are new, exciting things coming out of SSU."
After only one year of work, Sonoma State student Darren Fong is selling handcrafted hats, shirts and sweatshirts all across the world with his clothing line, "Off the Map SF."
Working for CELL are (left to right) faculty advisor Kirsten Ely, Patrick Maloney, Kelsey Koon, Adam Loria, Alex Sanchez-Bailetti, and Darren Fong.