The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) helps students and community members acquire the tools, develop the skills and cultivate the mindset of an entrepreneur so that they may create economic and social value throughout the world. While it can mean starting a new business, entrepreneurial careers can be found or created in just about every field, industry, and organization.
At the center, students and community members are immersed in the entrepreneurial process through hands-on innovation programs focused on our three distinct areas: LEARN, PREPARE and LAUNCH.
College of Engineering
Electrical Engineering Major
“My parents were pretty unsure about my involvement in two start-ups as a freshman. Now they see the support and instruction I’m getting and the tremendous investment others are willing to make in my future. We all realize I’m a whole lot closer to making this work.”
The center prepares students to become emerging leaders and career ready entrepreneurs who generate innovative solutions to real-world problems, research promising technologies and develop viable business plans.
Elevator Pitch Competition
You know that idea you’ve always had? The one you think could make you millions? Well, this is your chance to share that idea with the world and possibly win $1,000. The Elevator Pitch Competition gives students 90 seconds to pitch their best idea to a panel of entrepreneurs and compete for cash prizes.
Starting a business usually requires months (or even years) of preparation. At Startup Weekend, though, we give you only 54 hours to build a business with a team of strangers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find out what it takes to produce a viable startup in the modern world.
At the CIE, we understand that your best ideas can arrive before your diploma. In fact, the startups that change the world often begin in dorm rooms and classrooms. We designed the Hatchery to shape and grow student-led startups, enabling students to develop the proper tools for building a business from scratch.
A great startup requires more than just a great idea; it needs support from the market, clients and investors. Innovation Quest (iQ) serves as the support system that provides the fuel for great ideas. With a $15,000 grand prize and over $10,000 in additional prize money, iQ can transform your idea into a financially-backed endeavor.
Cal Poly is home to some of the most creative programmers and designers in the world, so we created a competition built by hackers for hackers. The Design and Dev Hackathon is a fast-paced, marathon weekend of designing, coding and imagining.
B.S., Business Administration
“This program ignited my passion. I’m prepared to spend my life using my own ideas to change the world, not sitting in a cubicle.”
B.S., Graphic Communication
Web and Digital Media
“There was no, 'Now what?'when I graduated. I knew what I wanted and how to get it. I wouldn't have my awesome career if I'd just done my course work, graduated, and looked for an entry-level job.”
The center’s elite entrepreneur mentors accelerate growth and enrich the educational experience of Cal Poly students by advancing their entrepreneurial careers and helping them accomplish more faster.
Learn more about the mentorship program, and how to become a mentor like Eric Meyer, Lisa Hufford and Jeff Witous.
Explore CIE Mentorship