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The Chairmen’s RoundTable Forms Alliance with SDSU’s Entrepreneurial Management Center

The Chairmen’s RoundTable (CRT), a San Diego-based, non-profit volunteer organization that provides gratis mentoring and business advice to CEOs and presidents of local, private businesses, announced a formal alliance with San Diego State University’s Entrepreneurial Management Center (EMC).  The EMC’s goal is to provide the educational programs and experiential opportunities that are necessary to nurture, instill, and foster successful entrepreneurship.

The CRT and EMC have agreed to actively cross-promote each other’s activities and resources to provide local entrepreneurs access to the extensive experience and expertise that both organizations have to offer.  “This is a natural partnership because the missions of the CRT and EMC are so closely aligned,” said Hus Tigli, Chairman of the CRT. “CRT’s mentorship program is a complementary extension to the work that is being fostered at the EMC.  Likewise, many companies that come to the CRT for executive mentoring can also benefit from the education, training and on-going assistance that is available through the EMC.”

 “The EMC supports entrepreneurial companies of all sizes and in all stages of development, through a suite of programs that offer business education, networking opportunities, professional development, intern placement, and more,” said Sanford B. Ehrlich, Ph.D., QUALCOMM Executive Director of Entrepreneurship, San Diego State University EMC.  “The alliance with the CRT expands our executive bandwidth so that we can more readily offer mentorship to the growing number of businesses that come to the EMC for guidance and support.”

SDSU Team Honored for Environmental Awareness at 2007 Venture Challenge Business Plan Competition

On March 15-17, graduate students from around the globe gathered at the Marriott in Mission Valley in hopes of gaining capital for their business ventures. Twenty universities were represented at the 18th annual Venture Challenge business plan competition, hosted by the San Diego State University Entrepreneurial Management Center (EMC) and College of Business Administration (CBA).

Students competed for nearly $25,000 in prize money. Their ventures varied from a cell transplant for stroke patients to a black tiger shrimp distributor.  The competition kicked off with a trade show-style exhibition that gave each team the opportunity to display their business while judges, as well as the general public, observed and asked questions.

VC winners
The SunZag Security Products team from
left to right are: Anders Svensson,
Maria Sun and Wade Sun.

This year’s SDSU team, SunZag Security Products, won the R. Michael Pack Award for Environmental Awareness, a new award to Venture Challenge.  Team members Maria Sun and Anders Svensson, whose business motto is “Why Shred? Recycle Instead,” were awarded a $1,500 prize.  SunZag believes in making products that promote personal security and are both affordable and environmentally friendly.

These beliefs are exemplified in their Compact Disc Eraser product, a tool that puts an optical strip through all regions on a disc to render it unreadable with one easy swipe.

“One of our biggest challenges has been trying to educate the consumer on the importance of recycling,” said Sun. “There are more than three million discs that need to be recycled each month.”

Sun and Svensson, along with SunZag Chief Technical Officer Wade Sun, have already sold over 200 Compact Disc Erasers online at DiscEraser.com. They are currently in the process of developing a second product called the Credit Card Punch, which is designed to destroy credit cards while recycling its parts to make things like guitar picks and paper clips.

 “We have already had successful sales online,” said Wade Sun. “We are now trying to bring the Disc Eraser to retail stores for more consumers to buy.”

SDSU CBA Dean Gail Naughton said, “For the second year in a row, the SDSU student teams have been acknowledged for environmentally friendly products and companies at the Venture Challenge competition.  I am proud that our students can be innovative entrepreneurs while upholding a responsibility to the environment.”

Last year's team, "Envirobinz," is an advertising company that aims to help communities and cities divert waste from landfills by providing aesthetic recycling receptacles installed at high pedestrian traffic locations. Early on, the company secured National City as a client.

First place in the competition, which consisted of a $15,000 prize plus $15,000 in consulting services from eBoost Marketing, went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln team.  Their company Agile Sports Technologies presented The Huddle System, which takes a sports team's existing videos, playbooks, scouting reports, and tests, and shifts them to an interactive, easy-to-use digital platform.  The Huddle System is designed to provide a team with a more powerful and secure means of communication, training, and team management. 

Loyola Marymount University’s team, Advanced Wireless Solutions, won second place and $3,500 for their Backup-Pal devices, which allow consumers to backup and transfer their cellular phonebook contacts in case of phone loss, theft, or damage. The team also won the Showstopper award for the best tabletop exhibit at the Exhibition Fair and Showcase.  The third place team, Satyrne Biotechnologies from the University of New Mexico, won $1,500 for trauma implant devices and customization software for cranio-maxillofacial surgery.

Additional participating teams were: Babson College, Brigham Young University, Georgia Institute of Technology, New York University, Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, University of Louisville, University of Manitoba, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Austin, University of Utah, University of California-San Diego, University of California-San Francisco, University of Georgia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vanderbilt University.

Premier, Inc. CEO Speaks to IDS Graduate Class

color boxRichard Norling, CEO and President of Premier, Inc. and winner of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, spoke to Jim Beattys graduate level course, Applied Behavioral Measurement, on Feb. 26.  The course, which focuses on measurement, metrics, assessment, and appraisal, employs the Baldrige National Quality Program concepts as a focal point for the applications of the these tools.

During Norling's presentation, the students were able to learn about the successes and challenges of Premier first hand from the CEO.  Beatty organized a panel discussion including Norling, two Baldrige judges, and two representatives from an organization currently pursuing the Baldrige as a model for their future.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is the nation's highest honor for organization performance excellence and in 2006 the winners were
announced by President George W. Bush and the Commerce Secretary. The Baldrige emphasizes the following criteria in regard to performance
excellence: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement, analysis, and knowledge management, workforce focus, process management and results.

Family Business Forum Conducts International Workshops

by Carmen Bianchi, Director of SDSU Family Business Forum

In May and October 2006, Dean Gail Naughton and I traveled to American University of Beirut and Chinese University of Hong Kong, respectively, to conduct two-day seminars on family business using the case study methodology.

As a professor of MBA students, as well as a family business consultant, I knew it was important not to instill American values when visiting foreign countries, but to learn from the attendees about their own particular culture.  By practicing this perspective from the beginning, the participants were more appreciative and open.  Further, we chose a European case study that dealt with all the pertinent issues facing family businesses (succession planning, transition, sibling rivalry, birth order, enmeshment, fusion, triangulation, so forth) to reinforce the perspective above, and give the workshop participants an opportunity to demonstrate how things are done in their country.

In Beirut, it was interesting to note that most of the family businesses are passed on to the oldest son (primogeniture) and that it is a male dominated succession plan.  Most of the companies are family-owned, very large and not public companies; whereas in Hong Kong, 80 percent of the companies are family-owned and public.  It is also bad “CHI” to speak of death in China so, instead of talking about death, we talked about some kind of permanent disability that would trigger the need to write and create a succession plan.

The Chinese audience was very receptive to role playing and took it most seriously.  Some of them were so good they could have ended up in Hollywood!  The Lebanese were more cautious, but relaxed, and the workshop was a great success in getting the participants to role play.

These workshops are for both practitioners and service providers to family businesses, as well as the members of a family business. They are educational and growth-oriented with emphasis on structure and governance.  Communication is a very important component and we encourage all members of the family business to attend so that they can learn to deal with conflict in a more structured and unemotional way. 

Our objective in going to these universities was to create awareness and, perhaps, duplicate what we are doing at San Diego State University at the Entrepreneurial Management Center Business Forum.  Our outreach program is for closely held and family businesses with revenues of $3 to $500 million.  We have monthly roundtables and an annual retreat with the goal of addressing their pertinent issues through education and leadership.

Carmen Bianchi, founder of the Entrepreneurial Management Center Business Forum, has been elected as president of the Family Firm Institute (FFI).  Bianchi was announced as president at the FFI’s annual conference on Oct. 25-28 in San Francisco. Her term as president at FFI will consist of one year as president-elect, two years as president, and one year as ex-officio. Bianchi has been a family business consultant since 1991.  Her expertise lies in family systems and the relationship between family, business ownership and the professional roles within a family firm.  She teaches the MBA program at SDSU on Family Business Management and she is also the principal of Carmal & Associates; a family business consulting firm.


Last updated: April 13, 2007 1:04 PM © 2006 San Diego State University
email: business@sdsu.edu