Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellows Program

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Applications are now closed.

Do you have a great idea for a new gadget, app, or a new way of getting things done? Do you ever wonder how people manage to turn their ideas into real products or services that not only make a profit but also are valuable to society? Do you dream of having the freedom to create your own career path but also make a positive impact?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then now’s the time to learn everything you need to know about starting and launching your own company and guiding it to the next level.

Silicon Valley was the first cradle of innovation where new technologies and companies were born like never before. Now San Francisco, the Bay Area and other parts of the world are emerging as world-class clusters of creativity and innovation. San Francisco’s flourishing tech industry and San Francisco State University’s deep and diverse pool of talented and energetic students have created the perfect setting for a new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellows program.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellows program is a collaborative effort between MUFG Union Bank, N.A., and San Francisco State University Lam Family College of Business to develop a diverse cohort of talented entrepreneurs who not only know how to successfully launch and build a company but also have a positive impact on society.

For more information, please see a video recording of the information session from Friday, July 26th 2019.

diverse group of students interacting in a workshop setting

About the Program

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellows Program is designed to prepare students to become global leaders as they develop the skills to become entrepreneurs by launching a successful business.

As a Fellow, you will learn how to use tools that help you generate ideas for new products or services, work with a diverse team toward a common goal, analyze who your customers are and how to find them, prepare a business plan, raise capital, and pitch your start-up to venture capitalists and other investors. You will work with a team of other students to create, launch and operate an actual online company with the assistance of mentors from the business community.

This program runs for two semesters, from September 2019 to May 2020, with four or five two-hour workshops (held Fridays, noon – 2 p.m.) and a few online meetings each semester.

Topics covered during the program include:

  • Idea generation
  • Market assessment
  • Team-building and leadership
  • Product and technology development
  • Preparing a business and marketing plan
  • Developing a sustainable (social, environmental, and financial) business that is scalable.
  • Pitching to investors
  • Raising capital
  • Launching and operating a business

This is not a for-credit course. It’s a chance to learn valuable business skills and do something innovative and rewarding!



Must haves:

  • Full-time/Part-time status as an SF State junior, senior, or graduate student from any college and any concentration. Must remain a full-time or part-time student through May 2020.
  • Minimum SFSU GPA of 2.5
  • Must commit to attend all 8-10 (four or five for each of the two semesters) in-person meeting sessions and a few online meeting sessions if selected for the program. All selected students will sign a statement of understanding where they commit to attend the meetings. Meetings are typically held between noon – 2 p.m.  on alternating Fridays.

Preferred attributes:

  • Be a design thinker (qualities of empathy, integrative thinking, optimism in even during insurmountable difficulties, experimentalism, and collaboration). If you are unfamiliar with these concepts, please read the following article (Please consult with SF State University Librarian, if you do not know how to get access to this article using the library search or Google Scholar search): Brown, Tim. "Design thinking." Harvard business review 86.6 (2008): 84."
  • Obviously, students should also have an entrepreneurial spirit, curiosity, creativity and drive. We are not in the business of coaching but will provide you with the know-how and many of the resources needed to build businesses. Where requisite resources are not available, you will then need to become resourceful and problem solve. We want the type of person who shows up cuts a piece of the work for themselves, stays positive, collaborates, and gets to work!

Application Process

Applicants will submit their one-page resume that includes information about their past experience in any sort of entrepreneurial activity (obviously we don’t expect every applicant to have started a company but any experience that showcases entrepreneurial spirit is highly valuable), their GPA, highlight any of the skills they have from the must have section, and any ideas of new businesses or products you want to use the program to build.

It is highly recommended (but not required) that applicants make a short, creative YouTube video explaining and demonstrating how they exhibit the preferred attributes listed above. Videos must be no longer than 3 minutes. 

Application deadline: September 6th 2019.

Applications are now closed.

Program Benefits

Student benefits include:

  • You will be working with a multidisciplinary group of students
  • learn how to turn your ideas into launching a business. Skills include:
    • Need finding through qualitative identification and quantitative determination
    • Iterative ideation, prototyping, and testing
    • Business model canvas
    • Intellectual property protection
    • Business plan development and commercialization plan
  • skill development workshops and events designed for young professionals
  • develop a network of peers, mentors, alumni, and leaders in the innovation industry
  • meet founders like you who graduated from SF State that went on to create multimillion dollar companies
  • work with like-minded individuals in a team with diverse interests, skills and backgrounds
  • earn financial support (up to $3000 per team) to develop your products
  • participate in a pitch competition where up to $10,000 of cash prizes will be awarded. Check out last years pitch competition.
  • Potential access to creating comprehensive prototypes, testing, and manufacturing partnerships
  • Network with San Francisco Bay Area Angel investors and Venture Capitalists and make potentially fruitful investment connections

Key Dates

Information session: Unfortunately, given the number of people who send us emails enquiring about the program we are less likely to respond to every email. However, we will have an information session July 26th 2019, 1 - 2:30 p.m. in BUS 202, that you can attend in-person or remotely where you can ask any questions you may have. (Logistics of this meetings will be announced later)

Application deadline: September 6th 2019.

Selections: Will be announced by September 20th 2019.

Questions or need more information?

Please see a video recording of the information session from Friday, July 26th 2019.

Special thanks to MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

union bank logoWe extend our appreciation to our corporate partner MUFG Union Bank for their investment to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship program, a first for the Lam Family College of Business at San Francisco State University. Thanks to their generosity, we can prepare students to become global leaders as they develop entrepreneurial skills by launching a successful startup.