SAN DIEGO – Some of San Diego’s youngest entrepreneurs debuted their start-up companies Wednesday at San Diego State University’s annual Entrepreneur Day.
“We have all-natural, soy-based candles as well as air fresheners,” said SDSU senior Raul Hernandez-Ochoa.
Ochoa, who was able to sell his products for the first time Wednesday, said he plans to take his family recipe into the mainstream market.
“It teaches students to engage and take measured risks as well as understand how the sales process goes…how to prospect and how to get someone to buy your product,” said Ochoa.
Nearly 50 student start-up businesses graced the quad area of the campus, representing everything from t-shirt brands to smoothie companies.
“Last year the company did $1.9 million in revenue and we are on track to do $2.5 million this year,” said Kevin Gelfand, owner of Shake Smart smoothies.
Gelfand and his business partner started the business four years ago when they were still in school. He credits the entrepreneur program for helping him get his business off the ground.
“It really helped network us to the approvals necessary and with market research,” said Gelfand, who has expanded to four locations throughout the county.
“It’s fascinating for me to see these 20-somethings start selling something somewhere and it’s turned into multi-million dollar companies,” said SDSU professor Bernhard Schroeder.
According to a recent article by CNBC news, millennial entrepreneurship in the country is down by 23 percent since 2013. However, Schroeder said it isn’t true when it comes to his students.
“I think students at SDSU are gritty,” Schroeder said. “There aren’t a lot of big, fortune 500 companies here, so I think for the people that live here, they think if I want to stay here, I better create a company to maintain my destiny and that atmosphere has leaked onto the campus, the students and into the community.”