College entrepreneurs take the stage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Entrepreneurs at Clovis Community College stepped out of the classroom Monday to show the public their ideas that could be the next big thing in the business world.

The inaugural demo day at the college showcased ideas from entrepreneurship students who could offer solutions to consumers facing problems in the real world. Business instructors at the northeast Fresno campus wanted their students to have the experience of interaction with members of the business community who are judging their ideas and presentations at this event.

"Entrepreneurship is so important for job creation," instructor Matthew Alanis said. "So important for creativity and innovation in a community. For the students it is really important because one of the things we really stress is that you don't know what quality looks like until you talk to the first customer."

Business ideas included a mobile printing kiosk, a fitness application and a text book exchange service.

But entrepreneurship student Hannah Mckay took the idea of a family tradition and added a new twist. She presented the idea of "frost one for me" a baking and decorating class where customers can bake cakes with their friends or family. "I knew that in the Central Valley there's kind of a lack of a diffraction of entertainment," Mckay said. "So, I thought it would be really nice to have something like this because it's different and people can learn. I thought it would be something fun to do."

Among the things students were judged on were design, presentation and content.

Local business owner Bryan Feil was one of the judges and says all of the students at Monday's event have big ideas. But he advised them, small steps are the key to success.
"Try to find potential customers that believe in what you are doing and convince them why you deserve their business," Feil said. "So, try to encourage them if they have the idea and they formulated it well, just start small."

Students will soon receive feedback from all judges at demo day, but after that the future of their product or business idea is ultimately up to them. "Some of the students will choose not the pursue the idea that they have started here and that's completely okay," Alanis said. "What we want to do is to teach them the skills surrounding doing research, evaluating an opportunity for the feasibility of it."
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