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Become a CIE Mentor Today

Here at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), we do a lot of work with teams and companies to help get their venture off the ground. This work includes on-campus programming in The Hatchery, the Summer Accelerator and the two-year Incubator. The cornerstone to all of our programs is mentorship.

We have over 140 mentors working with the CIE who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to all of our teams and companies. The CIE mentor program includes entrepreneurs from high tech, venture capital, big retail, niche products and more. From San Luis Obispo, Bay Area, Los Angeles and out of state, we have mentors who provide guidance for multiple business types and help young entrepreneurs build, grow and sustain their businesses.

During the past Summer Accelerator, we had over 30 mentors come through the building to host workshops, meet with teams’ one-on-one and lead round table discussions. In addition to this, each of the eight teams had a Lead Mentor who met with them every week as they set milestones, worked through issues and grew their business.

Our amazing mentors make it possible for the CIE to provide a wide range of resources to teams and companies. We are so grateful for all of the time each mentor has given to the program, and look forward to the future!

If you, or someone you know is interested in mentorship, please fill out an application here.

Start Your Business Before You Graduate

The Hatchery is an on-campus program that fosters entrepreneurship initiatives among the student body.  From leading students in developing essential entrepreneurial skills to hosting weekly workshops, the Hatchery has all the tools students need to launch their startup.

Cal Poly entrepreneurship student, Haley Pavone, is using the Hatchery to get her company off the ground.  Watch the video below to learn about Haley’s company and how CIE resources are helping her reach her goals.

For more about the Hatchery and other CIE programs and opportunities click here.

SLO HotHouse Incubator Startup Expands in San Luis Obispo

CIE Incubator company, BoltAbout, recently moved to a new warehouse facility in downtown SLO. As the electric bike startup expands in both bikes and customers, the move to the warehouse was essential for BoltAbout, according to CEO Matt Maxwell.

With the new warehouse just down the street from BoltAbout’s downtown CIE SLO HotHouse office, it makes for a convenient location for customers and allows the BoltAbout team to work closely together.  The new warehouse also gives BoltAbout the space they need to store and work on the bikes.

“We have everything the customer needs to do a rental there,” says Maxwell.

The warehouse is bringing in money to San Luis Obispo and keeping it there.  From paying movers to encouraging customers to spend time downtown, BoltAbout is focused on helping enhance San Luis Obispo.

“We’re making downtown more vibrant and more prosperous; in a small way, but hopefully over time it will get bigger,” says Maxwell.

BoltAbout’s new location is helping the company bring the SLO community together.  On the first Thursday of every month San Luis Obispo Downtown Association hosts a bike night where community members come together for a fun time and ride their bikes through downtown.  BoltAbout is opening the doors of their warehouse to customers and the community on these nights for pizza.  Maxwell says that this is one of the ways that BoltAbout creates an experience for their customers.

BoltAbout is expanding to Santa Barbara and San Diego this spring, but SLO will always remain the headquarters, according to Maxwell.

“We’re going to keep good jobs and the culture of BoltAbout in SLO.  Cal Poly and CIE have provided the foundation for one of the most profound experiences of my whole entire life. Without Cal Poly and CIE there’s no way I’d be where I am today.”

Come by the new warehouse at 757 Monterey Street.  Meet the friendly BoltAbout team and bolt off on your own electric bike.  Visit BoltAbout’s website here for more information.

Why You Need to Try Coworking at the SLO HotHouse

Have you ever heard of the phrase two minds are better than one? This phrase definitely holds its truth when it comes to coworking.

Coworking is about being independently productive around people who share similar values and goals. It’s about learning from and connecting with one another to achieve success. Research has shown that coworking spaces lead to a culture that drives innovation and furthers success of entrepreneurs and business professionals. So, whether you are interested in the synergy of like-minded people or just want a place to work with fast Wi-Fi and your own space, coworking may be a great option for you.

The SLO HotHouse is a community hub with more than 50 individuals and over two-dozen companies working out of the space. Members include professionals in real estate, marketing, law, photography, and development. With affordable 24/7 workspace, no leases, all the office amenities you could ask for and a location in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, the SLO HotHouse is the perfect place to work toward accomplishing your goals.

“Before the SLO HotHouse I was running my business out of my home or in coffee shops,”said Luke Fox, CEO of WhiteFox Defense Technologies, Inc. and a SLO HotHouse coworker. “Being at home meant constant distractions. Coffee shops were costing me about $100 a month and were loud with limited hours. My business has really taken off since being at the HotHouse. The environment and culture they cultivate is an experience to behold!”

Take your company to the next level and come see for yourself why coworking at the SLO HotHouse would be a great choice for you! Book a tour today or click here for more information.

How to Get Involved in Forums

At once both a foundational and an educational pillar of CIE, the forum series unifies a community and a university around the pursuit of entrepreneurship. Hosted on a bi-monthly basis, CIE Forums explore innovative ideas and up-and-coming startups within an interactive and collaborative environment.

At times, the forum series serves as a host for the Elevator Pitch Competition finals or the introduction of the SLO HotHouse Accelerator companies. At other events, the forum is home to game-show style competitions and club showcases. Regardless of the content, though, CIE Forums provide attendees with a unique perspective into the startup scene on the Central Coast.

Each forum is divided into two sections: the P.E.N. (Pitches, Exhibits, Networking) and the panel.

During the P.E.N., attendees are introduced to the latest innovations on the Central Coast. Through networking, brainstorming or even competing, community members, faculty, and students can discover new connections and new ideas.

Following the P.EN., each forum transitions to the forum panel. Showcasing experts from the startup world, the panel centers its discussion around core issues crucial for success in entrepreneurship. Attendees are also able to submit questions for the panel to discuss, allowing the collaborative environment of the P.E.N. to continue throughout the evening.

From 4:30p.m.-7:30 p.m., the forum series enables freshman students to connect with venture capitalists and local business owners to brainstorm with Cal Poly faculty. While SLO may never possess the resources of Silicon Valley, the forum series offers a vision of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters community alongside innovation.

To register for our free February forum, click here! 

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