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KCRA on Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023

KCRA interview with Cameron Law, Executive Director of the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, discussing Global Entrepreneurship Week - Sacramento: GEW 2023

5th Annual Spark Venture Competition- Two Tech Startups Win

Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Randy Diamond, Business Reporter

Two startups won $7,500 each in a Sacramento State entrepreneurship competition. The winners of the Spark Venture Competition were Inspirame, a venture to help students navigate college, and AgriNerds, a startup that uses weather satellites to detect diseased ducks that kill poultry. These startups were selected from 50 applicants, said Cameron Law, executive director of Sacramento State’s Carlson Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Sacramento may not be Silicon Valley, but Law said the diverse missions of the winners are examples of the variety of Sacramento’s startup community. “There are a lot of different startups in the Sacramento region” he said.

The eight finalists competing in the Nov. 15 competition included a company that sells a hydration mix aimed at preventing muscle cramps and soreness in endurance athletics, a startup making Latin-oriented food for backpacking trips and a company that buys and sells fashion online for music festivals and dance events. WINNING MEANS SOMETHING Inspirame co-founder and CEO Maria Medrano said winning the Sacramento State competition will help her startup with more name recognition and fundraising. Her online startup aims to help students navigate the roadmap for a college education. Medrano said it’s often difficult to find degree requirements online and seeing a college counselor on campus for enrolled college students can sometimes take weeks. “Inspirame is Spanish for “Inspire me” as we believe with a little inspiration, students can go a long way,” she said.

Medrano is of Mexican origin and one of her goals she said is to address inequities in the higher education system that have deprived Hispanics and other minorities the opportunity for higher education. Medrano brings a tech background to the startup having worked at Google, Cisco and Visa. Her husband Mauricio Gonzalez brings the educational component to the venture. He is an academic counselor at Sacramento City College and serves as the startup’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

UC DAVIS BACKING AgriNerds, the other winner of the Sacramento State competition, has the backing of UC Davis and was started in 2018. CEO and Co-founder Maurcie Pitesky is a professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. His partner in the venture is Jeffrey Buler, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware. Pitesky aims to reduce cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza by tracking ducks, who are carriers and are close to poultry operations. The tracking is done through 141 U.S. Weather Service satellites.

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Greater Sacramento Economic Council will support startup ecosystem

November 17, 2023
Sacramento Business Journal
Mark Anderson, Staff Writer

The Greater Sacramento Economic Council will work to support and expand the local startup ecosystem with an entrepreneurship initiative to coordinate and connect regional startup efforts.

Announced at the close of Global Entrepreneurship Week at the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Sacramento State, the initiative will bolster the work done by the Sacramento Entrepreneurial Growth Alliance.

“I firmly believe that supporting startup initiatives in the Sacramento region is not just about fostering innovation. It's about catalyzing job creation, driving economic growth and securing a brighter future for our community,” said Dale Carlsen, founding sponsor of the Carlsen Center, in a news release.

Carlsen in 1985 founded The Sleep Train Inc., a mattress retailer that grew to 300 stores by 2014, when was acquired by Mattress Firm. Carlsen is also on the board of directors of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.

The Sacramento Entrepreneurial Growth Alliance was launched in 2021 by the Carlsen Center, Rocklin-based Growth Factory and StartupSac, a nonprofit focused on supporting the local startup ecosystem.

The goal of the entrepreneurship initiative is to increase connectivity and collaboration among the region’s accelerators, investors, startup support groups and local colleges, said Michelle Willard, GSEC spokeswoman.

The initiative will work to increase access to funding for startups by highlighting investors during events and meetings, inviting Sacramento Entrepreneurial Growth Alliance members to participate in investor introduction calls and staging pitch opportunities for startups to reach investors.

The effort will help support the growth of innovation companies and entrepreneurship across all industries, said GSEC CEO Barry Broome, in a news release. “With SEGA powered by GSEC, the future is promising for startups in the region, and together, we are on a path to drive unprecedented growth and success. I’m looking forward to expanding our startup ecosystem throughout the region."

The expanded initiative with GSEC and SEGA will begin in the 2024 fiscal year, which starts in July.

The initiative will be co-chaired by Cameron Law, executive director of the Carlsen Center, and Rachel Zillner, CEO and co-founder of Clutch, a fast-growing business services consulting firm.

“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive, and this initiative shines a light on the work of startups and helping them find better access to venture capital funding,” Zillner said in a news release.

Sacramento Inno Article

Earth Day fair shows ways to be more sustainable consumers

April 21, 2023

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen in 2016 planted his first tree on campus, a drought-tolerant California native oak, to commemorate Earth Day.

On Thursday, April 20, as Nelsen prepares for his July retirement, he planted a desert museum palo verde – a tree from his home state of Texas with green bark and gold leaves – to mark his last Earth Day celebration as Sac State’s leader.

“I love this campus. I love the trees,” Nelsen said at the ceremony, thanking the offices of Sustainability and Facilities Management for expanding and caring for the University’s urban forest. “Everyone who comes to campus, what do they talk about? They talk about the trees.

“The difference our Sustainability team has made on our campus really sets a tone and helps us to be able to move forward and set an example for everyone else.”

President Robert S. Nelsen helps plant a desert museum palo verde, a tree from his home state of Texas, to which he will return following his retirement in July. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)
Nelsen’s final tree planting was part of the Earth Day Sustainability Fair in the Library Quad, which featured exhibitors, games, and giveaways as well as food trucks.

Earth Day, celebrated every year on April 22 since 1970, launched the global environmental movement.

Organized by Sustainability, Sac State’s early Earth Day festivities included electric vehicle displays, clothing swaps, a sustainable interior design showcase, and a panel on green careers held in the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Students in a critical thinking class on fashion sustainability gave away gently used shirts as quiz prizes, and demonstrated how toxic chemicals and dyes pollute rivers and oceans by having participants drop food coloring into a bin of water.

Read all about Earth Day events in article by Jennifer K. Morita

Sustainability booth at the Earth Day Fair
During the Sustainability Fair in the Library Quad on April 20, students and others learned about sustainable clothing practices, electric vehicles, and "green" confetti made from tree leaves. (Sacramento State/Belen Torres)

Carlsen Center hosts first University-wide pitch competition

A mobile app that’s “like an Airbnb for electric vehicles” and a prototype for movable race car wings took the top two prizes at the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s first University-wide pitch competition, held at Sacramento State on April 5.

Sac State alumnus and founder of Total Control Aero James Gouveia, Jr., won the $1,000 second-place prize at Sac State's first University-wide pitch competition for inventing race car wings that can be programmed to tilt at different angles to maximize speed on segments of a track. (Courtesy Carlsen Center)
whereEV, an app to help electric vehicle owners find safe, reliable places to charge their batteries such as homes of other electric car owners, won first place and $1,500.

Recent Sac State alumnus James Gouveia, Jr., founder of Total Control Aero, took the $1,000 second-place prize for his invention: race car wings that can be programmed to tilt at different angles to maximize speed at various segments of a track.

In addition to winning cash prizes, the top two winners earned spots in the Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition at San Jose State University on May 5, where teams from 18 CSU campuses will compete for a total of $200,000 in prizes.

Sac State Newsroom article by Jennifer K. Morita

First Place Winners get check for $1,500
Carlsen Center Executive Director Cameron Law, left, presents the first-prize $1,500 check to Joshua Maddox, middle, and Enrique Alcacer, right, co-founders of whereEV, an app to help electric vehicle owners find safe, reliable places to charge their batteries. (Sacramento State/Jennifer K. Morita)

Covid inspired students to grow their own businesses

Stinger Expo was innovated by two students of The Hive entrepreneurship club at Sac State. Zaid Darwish and AZ Nicdao wanted to create an event that supported student entrepreneurs. The first Stinger Expo was in May 2022 in the Carlsen Center. Since then, Stinger Expo has grown to over 40 student vendors and is now held in two ballrooms in the University Union.

Check out this article by Diana Lambert for Edsource

Student entrepreneur - Y2K Heels
Sacramento State students sell jewelry, clothing and other items at the Stinger Expo on April 3. The event is organized by members of The Hive entrepreneurship club. Credit: Sac State Student / Justin Agdigos

Sac State Comm Studies students paired with local, woman-led startups

January 13, 2023

Sacramento State Communication Studies students need practical experience. Sacramento’s women entrepreneurs need help getting their ideas off the ground.

Pairing the two made perfect sense to Cheng Hong, an assistant professor of Communication Studies whose research interests include helping organizations communicate their values to stakeholders.

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Cheng Hong worked with Carlsen Center partner FourthWave, which supports women-led Sacramento businesses, to pair six students with seven local startup companies for paid internships. (Courtesy Cheng Hong)
“I'm doing research about it, and then I realized, maybe I could also get students involved through internship programs,” said Hong, who is also a faculty-in-residence at Sac State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “It's all kind of connected. It's all kind of cohesive.”

She worked with FourthWave, an organization that supports women-led Sacramento businesses and Carlsen Center partner, to pair six students with seven local startup companies for paid internships that provided them with valuable, career-ready skills.

A Sac State Anchor University Grant funded the internships. The grants are awarded to students, faculty, and staff working in the community to advance Sac State’s Anchor University initiative.

“We are based in our community,” Hong said. “We are trying to connect our students with the community, with the Sacramento area, the entrepreneurship ecosystem. So, I think that's in line with what Anchor University is about.”

Continue reading Sac State Newsroom article by Jonathan Morales

Cheng Hong, Asst Professor of Communication Studies
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Cheng Hong worked with Carlsen Center partner FourthWave, which supports women-led Sacramento businesses, to pair six students with seven local startup companies for paid internships. (Courtesy Cheng Hong)

Carlsen Center Alum finding success with in-home smart Pilates machine

Here's a female founder who is tapping into the many resources in the Sacramento regional ecosystem to build her innovative business. Kaleen Canevari participated in the Lean Innovator Cohort program at the Carlsen Center and the FourthWave women-led tech accelerator program. This programming enabled her to launch Flexia, her smart, at-home Pilates machine.

Launching Flexia in the middle of the pandemic, Kaleen recently raised a $4 million investment. Read all about Kaleen's entrepreneurial journey, below.

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Kaleen Canevari on Pilates machine

On the Fast Track: Cameron Law

Our Executive Director, Cameron Law, is featured in Comstock's magazine as one of 13 young professionals on the fast track. We are proud of this conscious leader, connector and ecosystem builder, who embraces the growth mindset and is all about equity for every entrepreneur.

Cameron Law

The future of waste; Innovating for a sustainable future

Cameron Law, Executive Director of the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship shares insights on a future that is "circular and collaborative." In partnership with Western Placer Waste Management Authority (WPWMA), the Carlsen Center will explore innovations that use recycled materials for new products.

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Social media app created by and for Sac State students has campus buzzin

We are very proud of these student entrepreneurs #MadeAtSacState! While engaging in Carlsen Center workshops and programming, they innovated Buzly, a social media app that addresses the problem of students feeling disconnected, especially due to the pandemic. Buzly is creating a sense of community where students can connect with others in their major, share experiences, meet students that have the same interests, join clubs, and more.

Read all about how students, Srinjay Verma and Abubeker Hussen, formed a team to include Jackelyn Diaz, Manuel Diaz and Azriel (A.Z) Nicdao and developed Buzly!

Grateful for this article by Jennifer K. Morita and photos by Andrea Price of University Communications at Sac State.

Buzly Founders at Orientation

Inaugural Stinger Expo brings student entrepreneurship market to campus

We are so proud to see the successful launch of the first ever student-run Stinger Expo at California State University-Sacramento!

Congratulations Zaid Darwish and Azriel (A.Z) Nicdao leaders within in The Hive CSUS! They took #StingerExpo from an innovative idea to reality!

The embraced the entrepreneurial journey by researching, learning about process and various campus procedures, overcoming challenges, consulting mentors and expanding their network.

The inaugural Stinger Expo was featured in the Sacramento State Hornet

First Ever Stinger Expo

Mentorship is the key to unlocking entrepreneurial success

We often hear about mentorship as a key to building a successful entrepreneurial venture. Many of us have experienced the power of mentorship by being a mentor, a mentee, or both. You may ask what makes for a good mentoring relationship.

A good starting point is to understand where the word mentor comes from. It is said that our present-day understanding of mentor was influenced thousands of years ago by the character Mentor in Homer’s, “The Odyssey.” In that story, as Odysseus prepared to fight in the Trojan War, he asked his friend Mentor to watch over Telemachus, Odysseus’s son. Mentor encouraged Telemachus, offering guidance and sharing his experience. Thus, “mentor” became a word identifying an individual who conveys wisdom to and shares experience and knowledge with someone less experienced.

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Carlsen Center to host a robust Global Entrepreneurship Week

November 05, 2021

Trong Nguyen ’72 (Biology) would seem an unlikely student for Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which becomes the epicenter of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in the Sacramento region Nov. 8-12.

GEW, an international celebration of “makers, innovators, and job creators who bring ideas to life,” features more than 30 events scheduled, both in person and virtual. The schedule rivals last year’s GEW, which found the Carlsen Center ranked fourth in the nation for number of events by a partner organization.

“We’re hoping to top the charts again this year in terms of number of events serving students, entrepreneurs, ecosystem-builders, and beyond,” said Cameron Law, Carlsen Center executive director and the community organizer for Sacramento’s GEW.

“Although GEW is just one week, the connections, learnings, and inspiration that is fostered throughout will undoubtedly create positive ripple effects in our community,” Law said.

“Entrepreneurship and ecosystem-building thrive on connectivity and momentum, and I believe GEW does just that as it creates a space for partners to come together and celebrate the role entrepreneurship plays in building a thriving region.”

Nguyen, 72, calls himself a “hacker, innovator, maker, and brewer,” with an impressive record of achievement. Read complete article

Trong Nguyen, Entrepreneur
Trong Nguyen '72 (Biology), founder of La Bou and other businesses, said skills he has acquired through the Carlen Center have been “very useful," even though he is long established and successful in business and is “an old man.” (Photo courtesy of Trong Nguyen)

Interim no more, Law named Carlsen Center executive director

Cameron Law spent the last 14 months positioning Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as a force in the region. That work has earned Law appointment, announced Dec. 22, as the center's executive director, capping his interim run in that position that began in October 2019.

Law has truly modeled what any startup enterprise has to do to succeed. He has steered the Carlsen Center in new and exciting directions, with the promise of much more to come. —Steve Perez, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs

Cameron Law facilitates workshop

Bank's gift will boost Carlsen Center's mentoring efforts

Mentoring, a significant part of the mission for Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has found significant new support from a community partner.

California Bank of Commerce (CBC) has committed $250,000 and now is the name sponsor for the center’s mentoring network, which connects student entrepreneurs with an array of experienced advisers as they develop their ideas. CBC executives will join the Carlsen Center’s community of mentors.

The gift was revealed at the close of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), earlier this month.

Cameron Law with students at a Startup Bootcamp, Feb. 2020
Carlsen Center interim Executive Director Cameron Law, standing, left, interacting with students and others during the Startup Bootcamp in February 2020, says a $250,000 gift from California Bank of Commerce is an important factor in expanding the center's mentorship work. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

GEW to build on Carlsen Center's role as hub for resources

Cameron Law’s role as the community organizer for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020 (GEW) –scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, through Friday, Nov. 20 – puts Sacramento State squarely in the regional spotlight. For this year’s community-wide GEW, Law, executive director of Sac State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, has lined up 22 compelling events, from a regional pitch competition to workshops led by internationally recognized speakers, and panel discussions with regional entrepreneurs and leaders.

All activities for GEW, presented by Western Health Advantage (WHA), are virtual and are free to attend.

Cameron Law at podium
Cameron Law, executive director of Sac State's Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, has a leading role in this year's GEW, not only for the University but also the community at large. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Carlsen Center boss takes lead in Sacramento's GEW effort

Story by Dixie Reid — Cameron Law’s first major task after becoming executive director of Sacramento State's Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in October 2019 was to oversee the University's Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) activities a few weeks later.

Now, after working to expand the center's reach and raise its profile, Law has been chosen by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) to serve as the community organizer for Sacramento’s GEW this fall.

"Global Entrepreneurship Week is thrilled to have Cameron on board. His ability to bring together the community, coupled with his creative ideas and energy make the GEW Sacramento campaign one to watch." — Ellen Bateman, GEN's director for U.S. Ecosystems

The worldwide campaign, Nov. 16-22, will have 9 million people across 170 countries participating in more than 35,000 events.

Cameron Law
Photo by Andrea Price, University Communications

The Pandemic Has Shown The Virtual Learning Can Be Quality Learning

In a recent interview published in Comstock’s Magazine, President Robert S. Nelsen stated:

"Sac State will help the region recover with powerful campus-community partnerships such as the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, which is offering virtual boot camps and other programs to help young businesses move forward. This summer, the Carlsen Center partnered with FourthWave, a local accelerator for women-led tech companies. The Center’s role is to expand FourthWave’s network of mentors, advisers, subject-matter experts and investors, and offer hands-on support. Two Sac State students will receive Women’s Innovation Fellowships through FourthWave"

Title image for The Big Fix article, Comstock Magazine
Illustration by Carly Cornejo

Carlsen Center, FourthWave team to support women-led firms

Story by Dixie Reid — The Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is moving into a brighter spotlight as it enters into collaboration meant to boost women-led businesses.

The partnership with FourthWave will not only provide needed opportunities for Sacramento State students and tech companies helmed by women, it has potential to significantly raise the Carlsen Center’s profile.

Nancy Perlman, who founded FourthWave to be an accelerator for women-led tech companies, said that the nonprofit “is committed to changing the narrative around gender equity, and we believe that a core part of the story is seen through an economic lens.”

fourthwave women team

A Kick-Start for Startups

Story by Jennifer Fergesen — In the June 2020 issue of Comstock's magazine, Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship's Executive Director, Cameron Law, commented on the Center and the local entrepreneurial ecosystem's roles in the recovery.

"I think one of the things that this pandemic has really turned out in terms of an opportunity is it's forced us to think differently about our programming. What we've seen is that, through our virtual setting, we're able to reach more people, because there's not the physical constraint of someone having to drive to the Carlsen Center or be physically present."

"Sixty-five percent of students (who) graduate from Sac and work in this region. ...Not all of them are going to become entrepreneurs, but if all of them start to have a touch point with the Carlsen Center where they're learning entrepreneurial and innovation tools and starting to think entrepreneurially, they'll take that to wherever they work, whether that's for a larger (corporation) in our region or our state... They'll start to have these tools and these mindsets that ultimately grow our region as they recognize the role entrepreneurs are trying to play."

Cameron Law

FourthWave offers training for women-led tech companies

Story by Mark Anderson, Sacramento Business Journal An accelerator program for women-led technology companies in Northern California will launch a 16-week training program this summer, culminating with an investor salon in Sacramento in the fall.

The FourthWave program 2020 is being supported by the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University Sacramento and the nonprofit FourthWave.

It will cost $350 to take the program.

“We wanted to make it accessible, but we find it makes a difference for people to have some skin in the game” ― Cheryl Beninga, co-founder of FourthWave

Companies that participated in the first Sacramento cohort of FourthWave in 2017 have gone on to raise more than $15 million in funding, she said.

Sac State webinars offer help for small business recovery

Story by Cynthia Hubert, Sacramento State — As restaurants, stores, offices and other businesses across the region slowly begin to open their doors again, Sacramento State experts are offering them information and resources for surviving the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The College of Business Administration is collaborating with the U.S. Small Business Administration on a series of free webinars for companies and nonprofit groups that have been upended by the COVID-19 crisis.

Topics to be covered during the next seven weeks include the impact of the pandemic on data and network security, tax implications of COVID-19 for businesses, how companies can safely open their doors again, marketing lessons from the pandemic, and tools for planning for the next crisis.

Carlsen Center Partners with Sacramento to Vet COVID-19 Innovation

Story by Mark Anderson, Sacramento Business Journal The city of Sacramento is crowdsourcing innovative ideas to help businesses navigate the Covid-19 landscape.

The city is looking for data tools, therapeutics, telemedicine, advanced manufacturing technologies, food delivery and other ideas, which companies can load onto a city portal on the web.

The site is a tool to take in information, which the city will vet through the Mayor’s Innovation Council and the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at California State University Sacramento, said Louis Stewart, Sacramento’s chief innovation officer."

Sacramento City Hall
Dennis McCoy - Sacramento Business Journal

Sacramento Ranks High Among Cities Friendly to Female Founders

Story by Bonnie Chiu, Senior Contributor to ForbesWomen “Female-founder-friendly lists drive home an important point; there are many great places for women to build start-ups around the world. However, with the Female Founder Initiative, we are focused on the variables that we can influence, versus macro-economic variables,” says Rachel Sheppard, Global Marketing Manager at Founder Institute.

“You won’t find Kabul, Bucharest, Yangon or Sacramento on other lists, but we have seen great results in those cities because our leaders there are passionate about building a gender diverse ecosystem,” reflects Sheppard.

Rank City Female Founder Ratio
1 Oslo 75%
2 Washington, D.C. 75%
3 Sacramento 71%
4 New York 71%
5 Chicago 67%
6 Ribeirao Preto 60%
7 Yangon 57%
8 Toronto 55%
9 Kabul 50%
10 Bucharest 50%

Professor's survey shows pandemic hitting charities hard

Story by Cynthia Hubert — Ryan P. Fuller, an assistant professor of Management and Organizations in the College of Business Administration, polled nonprofit organizations in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties about how they are faring amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced most people to stay in their homes for the past month.

Sacramento skyline

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2017 - 2018

Carlsen Center's new leader thrives on innovation

Cameron Law, new executive director of Sacramento State's Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has built a career that appears to have been ideal preparation for the key position.

Most recently the executive director of Social Venture Partners (SVP) in Sacramento, Law, 27, was hired in time to oversee this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) activities, Nov. 18-22. Campus leaders hope GEW will become a centerpiece for the Carlsen Center and for the University’s culture of innovation.

2018 Global Entrepreneurship Week receives $1 million boost

A $1 million gift from Western Health Advantage (WHA) is expected to allow Sacramento State’s annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) to grow and flourish.

The gift was made public Monday, Nov. 18, on opening day of the 2019 event, now called Global Entrepreneurship Week presented by Western Health Advantage. WHA president and CEO Garry Maisel, '80 (Business Administration-Finance) made the presentation during a ceremony in the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Read Full Article: $1 Million Boost

Innovators take the stage for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017

Events scheduled for GEW all support the notion that entrepreneurship is more than simply starting a business. It’s also a way to solve problems, effect change, and improve people’s lives, organizers say.

Read Full Article: GEW 2017

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