Brian Kidwell, president of San Diego State University's Entrepreneur Society, is helping to promote entrepreneurship across disciplines on his campus.

Brian Kidwell
San Diego State University
Class of 2014
Major: Finance

When someone asks me what I am passionate about, the answer is always “entrepreneurship.” I selected San Diego State to pursue my passion because of the unique opportunities the school provides. Since I began my studies at SDSU, there has been an amazing increase in entrepreneurial opportunities for students such as myself.

Since my freshman year I have been involved in Entrepreneur Society, a student organization focused on empowering student entrepreneurs through workshops, speakers, company tours, mentorship, and sharing knowledge. Currently, I am the president of the organization, and we have seen a substantial increase in interest in entrepreneurship across the campus. Since the beginning of 2012 we have grown from 10 members to over 100 members. We have members from 6 out of the 7 different areas of study, representation from 11 different countries, and new members join every week. Sharing the passion for entrepreneurship with other students is extremely rewarding, especially when members take advantage of the awesome opportunities on campus such as the Zahn Center, Lavin VentureStart competition, and micro funding opportunities.

The Zahn Center is a new incubator on campus that supports technology based startups through mentorship, pro bono legal work, and access to a physical workplace. The Center promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to entrepreneurship by bringing together students from all areas of study, especially the College of Engineering and College of Business Administration. There is an annual business plan competition with $25,000 in prizes that is held every spring. Currently there are 5 companies involved in the Zahn Center and it continues to grow every month.

The Lavin VentureStart Competition is a business plan competition that happens every semester. Entrepreneur Society holds three workshops per semester leading up to the competition: Ideation & Trend Spotting, Business Plan, and Powerful Presentation. At the competition, students compete for $500 in prize money in a low-pressure environment, judged by entrepreneurs and business leaders from the community.

The Entrepreneur Day Micro Fund is a collaborative initiative that began in 2012 through the efforts of the Entrepreneurial Management Center and the Entrepreneur Society. The micro fund offers up to $500 in funding to any Entrepreneur Society member who can convince judges that their product will sell at SDSU’s annual Entrepreneur Day in March. With the funding comes mentorship from a local entrepreneur.

I came to San Diego State to become a great entrepreneur and I have taken advantage of every entrepreneurial opportunity that has come my way. My freshman year involved joining Entrepreneur Society, competing in the Lavin VentureStart business plan competition, and volunteering at Entrepreneur Day. In my sophomore year I became Vice President of Entrepreneur Society, competed again in the Lavin VentureStart competition, won first place in the Zahn Center prize competition, joined the Zahn Center incubator, and completed an internship at the Entrepreneurial Management Center. This year, as a junior, I am President of the Entrepreneur Society, a Lavin Entrepreneur, and creating a new product to be sold at Entrepreneur Day.

San Diego State University is the perfect choice for learning and really experiencing entrepreneurship no matter what your major is and there are constantly new entrepreneurial opportunities arising around campus. Get passionate, work hard, and don’t quit and you will make a great entrepreneur!
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