Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


Get More Productive at Work with these 7 Tips and Tricks

Woman looking at TV

By: Lauren Arendt

Have you ever found yourself reading the same line of text over and over again, procrastinating a task you’ve been dreading all day, or in a midday slump where you just can’t seem to get anything done? If so, this may be a sign that you need to make some changes to get more productive at work.

Working as an entrepreneur pulls people in many different directions and requires high levels of productivity day in and day out, however, this draining lifestyle easily leads to fatigue. Entrepreneurs know, however, that this slip in efficiency is simply not an option in the fast-paced, make-it-or-break-it lifestyle they lead.

We have some tips and tricks that entrepreneurs can incorporate into their everyday routine to get more productive and avoid fatigue at work.

1. Set clear, attainable goals

It is very difficult to get started when you don’t know where you are going. Setting reasonable goals and outlining the steps to accomplish them helps focus your day and jumpstart productivity. If you are too overwhelmed with tasks to complete, getting started on any which one is daunting. Rather than taking on too much at once, simply pick a handful of tasks for the day and give them your all.

Setting goals can be as simple as writing them down on a piece of paper. Writing or typing them out is important to get more productive, however, because you are forced to define them. Your goals feel much more tangible and less impossible once outlined in writing.

Make sure to cross your goals off and reward yourself once they are complete to incentivize yourself to move onto the next project. Take a walk outside, get your favorite lunch, or go spark up a conversation with a coworker or friend to gear up for the next item on your to-do list.  

2. Set goals of different sizes and scopes

Don’t simply focus on the next few hours or days in front of you. Rather, keep the big picture in mind at all times. You aren’t putting all of these hours of work in just for the sake of it, but for an overreaching mission to make a change in your life or in the life of others.

Make that overreaching mission the goal that guides all subsequent goals. This will add meaning and value to even the most monotonous daily tasks.

3. Surround yourself with inspiration

You might have a goal or mission guiding your work as an entrepreneur, but you might lose sight of it when working on tasks from day-to-day. Feeling like your work is meaningless or unimportant is a gateway to losing motivation and subsequently becoming less productive.

Surrounding yourself with reminders of the bigger picture is a key way to get more productive. Whether it is a quote that reminds you why you started out on your entrepreneurial journey, a sketch of your product prototype, or a photo of your team framed on your desk, keep something in plain sight that reminds you that every menial task is leading up to something great.

4.  Avoid Multitasking at all costs

A little-known fact is that multitasking in biologically impossible. You might think you are negotiating over the phone, answering an email, and watching Netflix all at the same time, but chances are, you aren’t giving any one of those tasks your full attention. Multitasking severely limits creativity and oftentimes causes many more errors. The number of thoughts and ideas a person can process is limited at any given time, meaning that when you multitask, new, creative ideas will be blocked out and errors will be missed much more easily.

“Monotasking,” or doing one task at a time, serves you better in the long run. You will not only complete tasks more quickly, but the tasks will be completed with more quality. Rather than doing everything at once poorly, do one thing at a time to the best of your ability.

5. Go outside as frequently as possible

Let’s face it: offices can be pretty bleak, especially after spending hours on end in them. Make sure to get up and go outside to get refreshed. Taking frequent breaks might seem counterproductive, but the reality is that by resting the brain and eyes and moving the body, you will be much more productive during the time you are working.

Spending too much time indoors working will lead to fatigue and slower brain processes, but getting up, going outside, and hitting the reset button helps you come back to work more productive, creative and positive than before.

6. Get a change of scenery

As said before, spending too much time in one dreary place can suck the life out of a person. One way to combat this is to change up the setting every now and then.

If your office is near a coffee shop, park, or library, take advantage of the mobile technology of today and spend some time getting out of the office and into a new, more exciting location. You will likely find that this new setting is not only free from the distractions of your office but offers new inspiration for creativity.

Check out these great lunch spots around San Luis Obispo to peak your inspiration.

7. Take note of what distracts you

Awareness is the first step in creating change. There are likely things all around you in your work space that distract you–some of which you can change, and some you cannot. Maybe social media is your main distractor, or maybe it’s your coworker’s conversations in the next room. No matter what it is, take note of when you are distracted so that you can work to stay focused in the future.

If the distraction is something you can change, don’t go cold turkey. For example, if social media or your cell phone serves as your largest distractor, rather than turning it off completely, set a timer and only allow yourself to use it in intervals. This will serve as an incentive to get more productive when you’re supposed to, as you know your designated social media time (or whatever else distracts you) time is just around the corner.

Next time you are feeling distracted or fatigued at work, simply make small changes throughout your day to get more productive. Write down your goals, big and small, complete one task at a time, go outside and take breaks on a regular basis, get a change of scenery from time to time, and make sure to take note of your main distractors to have more productive days that lead to a more productive entrepreneurial journey.

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CIE Faculty Fellow Spotlight: Ahmed Deif

by: Lauren Arendt

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Faculty Fellows exist at Cal Poly to help foster entrepreneurship throughout the Cal Poly campus by connecting with students across multiple disciplines. One of these education innovators, Ahmed Deif, incorporates not only entrepreneurship and innovation into his industrial technology classes but games, too.

Ahmed Deif works as an assistant professor of industrial technology and packaging in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly, teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. He first became interested in becoming a CIE Faculty Fellow when he realized that the marriage between business and engineering that industrial technology embodied was similar to the marriage between technical thinking and business found in entrepreneurship.

The classes revolve around creating a hands-on approach to educating that gets students excited about innovation in supply chains and the new trend in transforming supply chains from cost centers to value centers.

Deif achieves this lofty goal through gamification or creating games out of otherwise less engaging lesson plans. He said that he uses this strategy because, statistically, using the hands allows students to access untapped knowledge otherwise impossible to reach.

“Instead of just speaking for two hours and getting [the students] bored and sleepy, I introduce the problem for 10 to 15 minutes and then we play a game,” said Deif. “This robust education approach keeps students very engaged.”

A graduate student in the Cal Poly MBA program, as well as a student in one of Deif’s innovative industrial technologies classes, Christiaan de Nysschen, agreed that the gamification approach creates a more interactive and engaging educational experience.

“One reason I would recommend this course and this professor is first of all the unconventional approach,” said Nysschen. “Case studies are the norm in other classes which is nice, but also very theory-based where the games incorporate a new element with something that is both memorable and applicable.”

Deif said that there is one problem that comes with introducing games into the classroom: over enrollment. Students have heard about these game-centric courses and enroll in his classes in large numbers. He now has a cap on many of his courses.

While Deif introduces innovation and entrepreneurship at the intersection between business and engineering, numerous other CIE Faculty Fellows bring the entrepreneurial spirit of innovation to their fields of study across all six colleges at Cal Poly. Learn more about the impact these CIE Faculty Fellows have on the Cal Poly community, as well as how to become a CIE Faculty Fellow here.

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Learn, Prepare Launch: App Scrolls Founder’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Chad Kim, the CEO, and founder of the SLO HotHouse Incubating company, App Scrolls, started out his company with a mission to build online communities for top grossing mobile games. Keeping in mind that the number one reason people stay in a game is because they made friends in that game, Kim wanted to create a place for players to learn more about the games, join chat rooms, and most importantly, make connections and build teams.

At the beginning of his journey, Kim used the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) resources to qualify his business ideas.

“If I can win these competitions then I will invest my time and my life into this company,” said Kim. “But if I can’t, then it’s not good enough.”

After competing in the Elevator Pitch Competition and taking home the grand prize, and then entering the Innovation Quest and receiving the second place award, Kim saw the quantitative proof he desired to prove his idea could work.

From here, Kim applied and was accepted into the SLO Hothouse Accelerator program. He said that he started off feeling uncomfortable with and uncertain about what his entrepreneurial journey would entail, but that the different seminars and mentors in the program helped him get a better grasp of what was necessary for success.

After about two years of growing his company, Kim said that he came to what felt like a halt. This led him to work for another company for about six months. In this time, he realized that he functioned best when working in his “sweet spot.” To make App Scrolls work, he needed to play his strengths and build a team to do the rest.

He jumped back into App Scrolls with a new momentum, joining the SLO HotHouse Incubator program and acquiring a new batch of influential new clients.

In the SLO HotHouse Incubator program, Kim found that relationships with other teams became one of the most influential aspects of his journey. The social connections he made in the at CIE and in the SLO HotHouse helped guide him through unfamiliar territory when building his own business, as he could learn from the mistakes and successes of others. He even started hosting game nights to help build comradery among the teams.

Beyond connections with other teams in the SLO HotHouse Incubator, Kim connected with mentors that were “game-changing” in his entrepreneurial process.  

“Apply to the incubator if you want to be around like-minded entrepreneurs who will help you build your business,” said Kim.

Kim’s future plans are to continue building upon the original App Scrolls mission to help players build relationships with each other and provide an authentic place for them to come together away from the game publishers.

Community and Cal Poly student startups are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more about the SLO HotHouse Incubator program or submit an application at

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6 Reasons Why San Luis Obispo is the Best Place to be an Entrepreneur

By: Lauren Arendt

We think San Luis Obispo is paradise for entrepreneurs. When it’s time to get to work, the vibrant downtown scene offers countless opportunities for inspiration. All the while, scenic outdoors adventures and world-class relaxation destinations await for when you’re ready to take a break from the daily grind.

If you still aren’t convinced, continue reading to see for yourself why San Luis Obispo is the best place to be an entrepreneur.

1. Beaches

Did you know the City of San Luis Obispo is one of the only places in California that has beaches in not one, not two, but three directions? We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world to the North, West and South of the city, each within only 15 minutes. Drive to the North and find yourself along the Morro Strand, an expansive scenic beach most well-known for the view of Morro Rock, a 581 foot-tall mountain located right along the water’s edge. To the West of the City of San Luis Obispo, Montana de Oro State Park, or as some call it, “Little Big Sur,” rests along the coast. This dramatic coastline offers opportunities to hike, bike and camp, along with all of the traditional beach activities you love, such as surfing and sunbathing. Avila and Pismo Beach, located to the South of the city, make for the perfect relaxation destinations. Equipped with quaint beach towns, soft sands, and perfect waves, these Southern beaches have something to offer everyone. Lucky beachgoers might even spot whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals and sea lions.

The ocean has been said to have innate health benefits. According to Live Science, moving closer to the coast “significantly improves people’s well-being,” including reducing stress and encouraging physical activity. If just one beach has such great benefits, what do three beaches mean for the lucky entrepreneurs that call San Luis Obispo home?

2. Mountains

In many communities throughout California, living on the coast makes it hard to escape city or suburban landscapes to get fresher air. For those living in San Luis Obispo, however, opportunities to explore the mountains and breathe in fresh air are around every corner. The City of San Luis Obispo is surrounded by a “green belt,” meaning that no development is allowed within a certain perimeter of land. What this means for the residents of the county is that there are endless open spaces and hiking trails to explore. Take a quick jaunt up Cerro San Luis for panoramic views of the entire City of San Luis Obispo, or take a more challenging hike up Valencia Peak for spectacular coastal views from the top.

Within only four hours of San Luis Obispo, some of the most spectacular mountains in the country can be accessed. Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia are only a few of the weekend getaways possible for those living in San Luis Obispo. Read THIS blog for more weekend getaway ideas perfect for those living in San Luis Obispo.

3. Restaurants and Local Farmers

Living a healthy lifestyle is crucial for maintaining success and living up to your greatest potential. If “you are what you eat,” those living in San Luis Obispo are headed in the right direction. In Downtown San Luis Obispo, fresh, eclectic, local restaurants and cafes are around every corner. Better yet? Every Thursday evening, Downtown San Luis Obispo hosts one of the largest, most lively farmers markets in the state from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to connect with the community, purchase local produce, and grab dinner from a local vendor.

4. Location

Choosing between Los Angeles and the Bay Area can be difficult when deciding where to launch your startup, as both are bustling hubs for business. In San Luis Obispo, you don’t have to make the choice. Located only three hours away from both San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo makes for the perfect hub to get the best of both worlds. There is also an airport located in town, making it effortless to get anywhere, fast. 

5. It’s Up-and-Coming

Every year, more and more startups and larger scale companies plant their roots in San Luis Obispo, including MindBody, iFixit, and even Amazon. Driving through town, new construction projects seem to sprout up every day, bringing new hotels, retail fronts, restaurants and more to San Luis Obispo. It seems that word is starting to get out about the SLO-lifestyle we all know and love.

6. CIE  Resources

The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) SLO HotHouse is an entrepreneurial hub in San Luis Obispo that offers countless resources designed to empower startups in the community and from the local university. These resources include a two-year long incubator program, a Small Business Development Center, mentors, workshops, forums, coworking space and more. Anyone thinking of launching a startup in San Luis Obispo should know they don’t have to do so alone. The SLO HotHouse exists to contribute to startup success, as well as make San Luis Obispo the best place it can be for entrepreneurs.

In addition to its off-campus programs, the CIE also offers programs on campus to all Cal Poly students regardless of their major. These programs include the Innovation Sandbox, which is equipped with the latest prototyping and ideation technology. The Hatchery, an on-campus incubator program that provides guidance and resources for students that want to take their business ideas to the next level, and the Cal Poly Entrepreneurs. A student-run club that hosts dozens of entrepreneurial events, activities and special guests.

San Luis Obispo offers a balanced lifestyle for entrepreneurs. In few other cities can you enjoy the perks of a metropolitan lifestyle, but escape to gorgeous coastlines or breathe the fresh air of the mountains on the turn of a dime. In San Luis Obispo, with the help of the CIE entrepreneurs can live in paradise and build the startup of their dreams all at the same time.

To learn more about all of the CIE available resources, go to

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Mantis Composites: a CIE Success Story

Mantis team sitting in bean bag chairs at the SLO HotHouse

By: Lauren Arendt


A local San Luis Obispo startup, Mantis Composites, is reinventing the tech industry with 3D printing. Looking at this four-year-old company now as it works with government entities and truly takes off, one would never believe that Mantis Composites was founded in its entirety by a group of college students on the Cal Poly campus.

Mantis Composites takes parts traditionally made out of machined metals and 3D prints them out of continuous carbon fiber. This not only allows Mantis Composites to manufacture the lightest parts per unit weight available in aerospace and automotive markets but also allows for shapes that would otherwise be impossible to make. This cutting-edge technology has led Mantis Composites to work with government bodies such as the U.S. Department of Defense.

CEO and Cofounder of Mantis Composites Ryan Dunn explained that the company truly came to fruition on the Cal Poly campus while utilizing the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) resources.

“We got involved with the CIE really early in the business,” Dunn said. “In the first two years, CIE resources and support were the primary drivers of what we were doing.”

The group of students that would eventually launch Mantis Composites began their entrepreneurial journey on the Cal Poly campus at the Innovation Sandbox, a CIE on-campus program where students can experiment with world-class technology and test their ideas on their own time, at their own pace, and for no added cost to their tuition. Utilizing the 3D printers at the Innovation Sandbox and collaborating with other students and advisors, the Mantis Composites team was able to run initial tests and validate their ideas. This validation gave them the boost of motivation they needed to jump to the next step in developing their startup.

From the Innovation Sandbox, the team of students went straight to the Summer Accelerator in 2015, a 13 week-long program in the SLO HotHouse where students are given $10,000 and guidance from mentors to help convert their entrepreneurial dreams into tangible realities. In the duration of the program, Mantis Composites was able to solidify their ideas and gear up for the next steps in building their company from the ground up.

Next came the Hatchery, an on-campus hub for students to collaborate with each other and receive guidance from mentors, professors and esteemed alumni. Such a complex startup demanded that the team pool all of the resources possible to build an action plan.

After realizing that funding would be a key factor in obtaining the equipment necessary to launch their startup, the Mantis Composites team entered and competed in the Innovation Quest competition not once, but two times, finishing in first place their second time around. Dunn said that the money awarded to Mantis Composites from Innovation Quest was key, as it was much more flexible than government grants. This flexibility allowed the team to acquire the equipment they needed to launch in a timely fashion.

“The CIE was really important in founding the key aspects of what our company is today,” said Dunn. “We did things a little out of order but worked with the CIE a lot for about two years which really helped us launch our company.”

Mantis Composites and the success they have experienced over the past four years speaks to the unlimited potential for students at Cal Poly to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With the support of the CIE’s many resources dedicated to student success, no goal is too large and no student is too young to start on the path toward launching a startup.

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Innovation Quest Finalists 2018

By: Lauren Arendt

The Innovation Quest finalists have been announced. Check out the following list and find out who will be competing for the $15,000 grand prize this spring:

Fauna Farms

We want helping the environment to be as effortless as preparing a healthy meal with your loved ones. Fauna Farms is creating a much needed marketplace for small, sustainable ranchers to sell their meat to their local markets through its “Fauna Farms Smart Hubs”. These hubs will allow consumers to buy fresh, local, and sustainable meat, while also giving them a taste of the future of grocery shopping via the“click to kitchen” option.

Freezing of Gait Assistive Device

 Developing a medical device that addresses a vital need in an underserved market – freezing of gait in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). By utilizing a unique combination of audio-visual cues, our product allows an individual to immediately relieve a freezing of gait episode. Not only does this restore their mobility, it helps prevent potentially devastating falls and injury.

Gen III Drone

 We have designed and are currently building an autonomous precision agriculture drone that has the capability to fly as well as drive to notify farmers about crop-threatening problems and perform analysis on the problems.

HomeGrown Organics

A new era of home appliance that mixes farming, advanced technologies and functional aesthetics.


 We have developed a product that provides an easy and affordable solution to help Electric Vehicle owners adopt faster (Level 2) EV charging capability in their homes.

Lost Coast Surf Tech

 Creating the world’s highest performance surfboard fin with smart tracking features packaged into a comprehensive mobile app. The smartfin will be constructed and designed with aerospace technologies and leave a smaller carbon footprint than competitive fins on the market.

Massive Obstetric Hemorrhage Indication (MOHI) Device

The MOHI device can quickly indicate if a patient has lost the ability to clot during hemorrhage after childbirth. This device overcomes the cost, complexity, and most importantly, time currently required to assess the need to treat a new mother for this dangerous clotting condition


 A wearable physical therapy device that increases patient compliance through physiological feedback, increased accountability, and convenience for the user


 An appliance which automatically grows produce and herbs indoors by employing NASA-derived aeroponics technology to the growing indoor gardening movement. Users will have access to a steady harvest of up to 24 organic, pesticide-free plants and herbs all year round, no matter where they live nor what size their living space is.


 Private, influencer-curated shopping sites to help group members conform to guidelines while allowing them to express their individuality.


Rooster helps design students easily ideate and create successful visual layouts for screen and print, using a mobile app that seamlessly integrates with Adobe design software — we are targeting this group so that they adopt the technology early in their careers and bring it to the professional realm.


 Provides sexual education and gender based violence education to institutions through sketch comedy shows, online sketch videos, and social media content.

SilverScrub Dish Sponges

SilverScrub utilizes silver nanoparticle technology in products where cleanliness may affect human health. SilverScrub’s first product will be the world’s first truly antimicrobial dish spong

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7 Hikes Around San Luis Obispo You Probably Haven’t Tried

By: Lauren Arendt

One of the major selling points for living and working in San Luis Obispo is the collection of hiking trails it offers all around the county. Possibly surprising to some, San Luis Obispo offers much more than just Bishop Peak and Cerro San Luis when it comes to getting outdoors. Entrepreneurs oftentimes have an adventurous spirit, and living in San Luis Obispo offers them countless opportunities to explore new ground.

We put together a list of some of the most breathtaking, yet underappreciated hiking trails in San Luis Obispo to help entrepreneurs get outside and experience the perks of starting their company on the California Central Coast.

1. Reservoir Canyon

This challenging hike off of the 101 offers a 5.6 mile hike surrounded by unique topography and foliage. From the peaceful waterfall at the base of the hike to the vast, panoramic views from the top, Reservoir Canyon is one of the most scenic hikes in San Luis Obispo. You can opt for the loop that takes hikers up and around the ridge, or for the trail that takes you all the way over the mountain to San Luis Obispo. Either way, spectacular views and fresh air await.

3. Harmony Headlands

Just North of Cayucos and only 20 minutes north of downtown San Luis Obispo on the highway one, the town of Harmony, population 18, is tucked away among the hills. On the west side of the highway in Harmony, a gorgeous State Park offers a flat, 4.5 mile lollipop loop through quaint marshes and peaceful chaparral grasses that ultimately lead to a rugged coastal scene. This trail is perfect for hikers of every level.

3. Irish Hills Natural Preserve

Hiking the Seven Sisters, such as Bishop Peak and Cerro San Luis, is the most common choice, but what if you could take a hike with views of the Seven Sisters? Irish Hills Natural Preserve offers just that and more. Surrounded by oak trees, open meadows, abandoned mines, and babbling streams, this 4.1 mile hike offers hikers with the ultimate trail experience. From the top of the 700 foot elevation gain, expansive views of the Seven Sisters await hikers.

4. Islay Hill

Islay Hill is one of the underappreciated peaks of the Seven Sisters volcanic mountain chain. Other than Black Hill, Islay Hill is the easiest of the Seven Sisters to climb at about 2 miles round trip. Although a more leisurely hike, Islay Hill offers breathtaking views of Edna Valley and all of its vineyards, as well as the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. At the summit of Islay Hill, hikers are met with the perfect photo opportunity: a ten-foot tall wooden pole with iron climbing pegs that resembles the bottom of an electric pole. Climb up to the top of the pole and enjoy 360 degree views of San Luis Obispo.

5. Pismo Preserve

The newly opened Pismo Preserve offers a unique opportunity to explore a section of the California Coast almost entirely untouched. At this point, access to the trail is only permitted during docent led hikes. What was before a 900 acre private ranch is being transformed into an open space to be enjoyed by the public. The 10 miles of brand-new trails offer panoramic, coastal vistas and unlimited opportunities to explore wild places.  

6. Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area

Found only a few minutes North on the highway 101, Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area is tucked away among Cypress and evergreen trees. The hike starts at a high elevation, meaning the views start early and often. Although the trail is high in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, ocean views await. The challenging six mile hike gains about 1,000 feet of elevation, but is absolutely worth it for the unique views, foliage, topography and wildlife.

7. Salmon Creek

Salmon Creek, although still in San Luis Obispo County, offers a glimpse of what to come from the Big Sur Coast while only having to drive an hour up the highway one. 6.5 miles of hiking trails lined with rich plant-life and rushing creeks are available, however, the most spectacular part of the trail is a short walk from the highway: a breathtaking 120-foot waterfall. Beyond the waterfall, day hiking or overnight backpacking opportunities await for those craving an outdoors adventure in a rugged, lush environment.

Endless opportunities to get outside and breathe fresh air surrounded by wildlife await entrepreneurs living and working in San Luis Obispo. Whether you are in need of a quick morning hike or a weekend expedition, there is a hike in the county for you. So next time you decide it’s time to go for a hike, skip Bishop Peak and explore one of these hikes in San Luis Obispo that you probably haven’t tried yet.

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10 Local Lunch Spots to Visit if You’re an Entrepreneur in SLO

By: Lauren Arendt

Downtown San Luis Obispo is bustling with local eateries of all sorts. As an entrepreneur, it only makes sense to pay patronage to small businesses in the area with their own entrepreneurial goals. Whether you’re craving a healthy bite or a hearty meal, there is a small business in San Luis Obispo serving up the perfect lunch for you.

1. Kreuzberg


Modeled after an actual segment of Berlin, Germany, Kreuzberg offers an eclectic, vibrant atmosphere and similar food choices. Although most well-known for their espresso drinks, the cafe offers an array of fresh, delicious lunch options. Choose a crisp salad, warm sandwich, hearty breakfast burrito (available all day!), or sweet acai bowl–all jam-packed with unique flavor combinations and elements. The quirky atmosphere (can you say lamps hanging upside down from the ceiling?) will draw you in, but the delicious, unique food and drink options will keep you coming back for more.

We recommend: Breakfast Burrito

2. Firestone Grill 

Touted as having the best tri tip in California, Firestone Grill makes for the perfect hearty lunch option. They offer large portions at fair prices and truly have something for everyone. For all of the meat lovers, the tri tip sandwich, jammed-packed with meat and smothered in barbecue sauce,  will hit the spot. For anyone looking for a lighter, greener lunch, Firestone also offers veggie burgers and salads at the same high quality as their meat-lover offerings. Better yet? Firestone Grill is only a block away from the SLO HotHouse.

We recommend: Tri Tip Sandwich

3. Thai Palace 

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Drunkards Noodle with Tofu 🤤

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Located in the heart of Downtown San Luis Obispo and only a few steps away from the SLO HotHouse, Thai Palace is a great lunch option for any Thai-loving entrepreneurs. Order takeout or enjoy the classic decor and friendly atmosphere at the restaurant. The service is cheerful and the food delicious. They offer all the authentic Thai options you love, plus some specials with a modern twist.

We recommend: Yellow Curry

4. Mint + Craft 

Healthy, fresh, and fun, Mint + Craft offers eclectic, unique food options suited perfectly for the adventurous entrepreneurial spirit. From a host of loaded toasts, craft sandwiches, and plates and bowls tailored for any dietary preference, Mint + Craft truly has something for everyone. Better yet? They offer an impressive espresso bar and adorable in-house gift shop full of local and sustainable goods.

We recommend: Toasties

5. Seeds 

Acai bowls are the perfect lunch for a warm Central Coast day. Seeds, located on Garden Street, serves up some of the most aesthetic, delicious and unique acai bowls around. Not in the mood for the sweet treat? Seeds has you covered with avocado toasts, kombucha, and a host of other offerings. In addition to a delicious, energizing meal, Seeds offers a quaint, relaxing back patio space perfect for unwinding from that midday funk.

We recommend: Bowl 7

6. Bliss Cafe 

Vegan food might be the sole offering at Bliss Cafe, but the bold flavors, large variety of options, and location right next door to the mission and creek make it perfect for anyone, no matter their dietary preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for a spicy curry, rich dessert, hearty buddha bowl, or green smoothie, Bliss Cafe serves up their many edible offerings with lots of love in the heart of Downtown San Luis Obispo.

We recommend: Avocado Lemon Love Bowl

7. Aisuru Sushi Bar

Although they offer a diverse collection of mouth-watering rolls, two things differentiate this local sushi restaurant from its competitors: (1) They offer much more than just sushi: diners can choose from poke bowls, rice bowls, noodle bowls and more. (2) They have the best deals around! You can check out this link for a complete list of the thrifty specials, but a few highlights include ninja rolls for $2.50 on Mondays, California rolls for $1.99 on Tuesdays, and $5.99 poke bowls on Sundays.

We recommend: $1.99 California Roll Tuesdays

8. Big Sky Cafe 

This local San Luis Obispo cafe places a huge focus on local, seasonal food items, which makes every visit a new, fun experience. Offering traditional dishes from many cultures with modern twists, Big Sky offers healthy, fun meals perfect for a longer lunch or lunch meeting in Downtown San Luis Obispo.

We recommend: Traditional New Mexican Pozole Soup

9. Linnea’s

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Road trippin’ w Mom #banthestraw

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Most famous for their motto that Linnea’s is more than a coffee shop, but a community, Linneas offers a friendly environment, fully equipped with an open-air patio in the back. As far as the food, Linnea’s claim to fame tends to be fresh-made pastries and their all-day breakfast burritos, but the lunch specials change daily, making every visit something unique and special.

We recommend: All Day Breakfast Burrito or Daily Soup Special

10. Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica

Perhaps one of the most beloved restaurants in all of San Luis Obispo, this Cal Poly alumni-founded restaurant offers endless authentic Italian food options, along with an eclectic, vibrant environment. The best part? The bread and dip they serve before every meal (warning: it’s highly addictive). Choose from an array of light pasta dishes, fresh salads, and thin crust pizzas for a classic Italian sort of lunch break.

We recommend: Giuseppe Salad

Luckily for entrepreneurs living in San Luis Obispo, the local eateries offer a diverse, delicious array of meals. Whether an entrepreneur working downtown prefers a lighter lunch, or needs to find the perfect place for a lunch meeting, there is a locally owned establishment in San Luis Obispo awaiting that meets the criteria.

Trying a new place for lunch can be a fun way to break a monotonous routine, so get out of the building and visit a SLO-local establishment during your next lunch break.

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What’s in the SLO HotHouse: Incubator Program

By: Lauren Arendt

On any given day, the SLO HotHouse crawls with activity and energy. After walking passed the coworking space in the forefront, visitors come to a vibrant plethora of desks, whiteboards, banners, students and community members, or as the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) calls it, the incubator program.

The CIE  SLO HotHouse Incubator is a two-year, full-time program that includes everything needed for early-stage companies to develop into financially stable, high-growth enterprises by providing the tools needed to facilitate smarter, faster growth. Startups from Cal Poly and the community alike are encouraged to apply for the incubator program.

SLO HotHouse Incubator Program Perks


Every company in the incubator program receives a mentor and advisory board to help out with the difficult decisions and planning that go into the early stages of development. Whether incubators are confronted with legal struggles, financial challenges or other uncertainties, someone in the SLO HotHouse will be able to guide them through.

Furthermore, startups in the incubator program receive exclusive invitations to various entrepreneurial events in the community. These include pitch nights, forums and networking opportunities only accessible through the network provided by the CIE.

SLO HotHouse Resources

Members of the incubator program also have the vast resources of the SLO HotHouse at their disposal. This includes 24/7 office space located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo equipped with multiple conference rooms, a full kitchen, and all of the coffee you can drink.

The SLO HotHouse offers more than office space. It serves as a hub for all entrepreneurial activities at Cal Poly and in the San Luis Obispo community. This creates one-of-a-kind networking opportunities for startups in the incubator program. From monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions to an invaluable network of fellow entrepreneurs, Cal Poly professors, esteemed alumni, and more.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program can get more information and find the application at

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The 10 Best Weekend Getaways for Entrepreneurs Around San Luis Obispo

By: Lauren Arendt

Everyone loves traveling, adventuring, relaxing and sightseeing, but taking the time off can be daunting. Between school, work and day-to-day responsibilities, finding the time to break routines simply isn’t a possibility for many.

Luckily for entrepreneurs living and working in San Luis Obispo, the central location of the city not only makes it possible to make the most of the weekend without compromising responsibilities but easy too. Whether you can only afford a day trip to relax and unwind, or would rather take a long weekend to go on an adventure, there is a perfect weekend getaway around San Luis Obispo for you. The endless opportunities to break everyday routines without breaking the budget or taking too much time away from the office or studying is one of the many perks of choosing San Luis Obispo to launch a startup.

1.Big Sur

Photo by Tyler Sams

Big Sur is one of the most awe-inspiring coastlines along the Highway 1. The road wraps and winds around sheer cliffs on one side, and lush mountains on the other. The southernmost entrance to Big Sur is only a scenic hour of driving away from Downtown San Luis Obispo. The farther you drive in, the more campsites, day hikes and backpacking trails appear.

The recent landslides made it a little tricker to enjoy Big Sur, but many adventures remain possible. For example, there are sites open to the public at the South entrance of Big Sur directly before the road closure that make for excellent day trips. Salmon Creek, only an hour away from Downtown San Luis Obispo, offers six miles of hiking trails, as well as an impressive 120-foot waterfall only about five minutes from the side of the road. For a long weekend camping trip, it is possible to drive up Highway 101 and access campgrounds via Nacimiento -Ferguson Road.

2. Yosemite National Park

Photo by Lauren Arendt

Everyone knows about Yosemite National Park, but a lot of people don’t realize how close it is to San Luis Obispo. In less than four hours, travelers coming from Downtown San Luis Obispo can make it all the way to the world-renowned National Park to enjoy the awe-inspiring cliffs, waterfalls, lakes, and wildlife.

With lots of low-cost camping opportunities, endless hiking trails, and climbing walls, and only a $30 entrance fee, Yosemite makes the perfect weekend getaway for anyone with an adventurous spirit.

3. Big Basin State Park

In only three hours, weekend warriors looking to explore the outdoors can make it to the lush Big Basin National Park. Visitors to the park can surround themselves with Red Woods, hunt for banana slugs, and explore more than 80 miles of hiking trails. Big Basin is California’s oldest National Park, offering historic landmarks including redwoods that date back to the Roman Empire.

At only $10 to enter, Big Basin National Park offers an affordable destination to enjoy sightseeing, hiking, backpacking, bicycling and camping, all within the span of a long weekend.

4. Montana de Oro State Park

Photo by Tyler Sams

Lucky for those living in San Luis Obispo, their beautiful home offers many “staycations.” Montana de Oro, renowned by many as the mini-Big Sur, is a coastal State Park located just minutes from Cal Poly campus. Offering a rugged coastline, serene beaches, and miles of hiking trails with views of Morro Bay, MDO makes for the perfect day-trip or camping location for those in San Luis Obispo that want a low-stress weekend getaway.

Entrance to the park, hiking trails, and beaches is free, but make sure to make a reservation in advance to go camping.

5. Oceano Dunes

Photo by Tyler Sams

The Oceano Dunes bring desert action sports to the San Luis Obispo coastline. From motocross to dune buggies, the State Park offers an ecologically and geologically unique playground for off-highway enthusiasts. People from all across the United States visit the Oceano Dunes every year, but luckily for those in San Luis Obispo County, the opportunities for off-roading, surfing, swimming, hiking and more are less than 40 minutes away.

6. Henry Coe State Park

Photo by Lauren Arendt

Dusted with wildflowers in the Spring and home to the largest array of open spaces in a State Park from Northern California, Henry Coe State Park makes for a serene weekend adventure only three hours from San Luis Obispo. The park is known for its varied, rugged and beautiful terrain of lofty ridges and steep canyons.

The rolling, green hills are open year-round to backpackers, hikers, car campers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

7. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Photo by Tyler Sams

With lush forests to explore in the warm months, and rugged, snow-covered winterscapes to snowshoe through in the winter, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks offer dramatic landscapes within three and a half hours of San Luis Obispo.

Whether travelers wish to car camp and day hike or backpack amongst the redwoods, these National Parks are sure to leave any visitor dazzled by the grandeur of the wildlife in the area.  

8. Hearst Castle

Yet another magical staycation is San Luis Obispo County, Hearst Castle offers travelers an opportunity to explore history in one of the most decadent, luxurious homes in the United States. Visitors to Hearst Castle have the opportunity to take tours all throughout the mansion, among the infamous gardens, and learn about the history of the Hearst family and their many heirlooms at every step of the way. In addition to the castle’s beauty, the views of the rolling hills and expansive ocean only add more sensation to the space. Only 45 minutes from the Cal Poly campus, Hearst Castle makes for an excellent day trip weekend getaway.  

9. Wine Tasting

From Paso Robles to Sea Canyon, San Luis Obispo County is home to many state-of-the-art wineries. For those who would rather spend their weekend enjoying the finer things in life than roughing it in the wilderness, wine tasting in SLO-local wineries may be the perfect weekend getaway option. Visit THIS article to create a game plan for visiting all of San Luis Obispo’s greatest wineries in only two days.

10. Avila Hot Springs

Another weekend getaway in San Luis Obispo County to help relax after a stressful work and school week is the Avila Hot Springs. This natural gem-turned-spa allows visitors to soak in the warm, mineral-laden water. Mineral water has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years and is said to be useful for a number of injuries and ailments. Better yet? The Avila Hot Springs are only minutes from the beach. Take a load off and rejuvenate, followed by a relaxing day sunbathing on the soft sands of Avila Beach.

In San Luis Obispo, entrepreneurs find it easy to work hard during the week and play hard during the weekend. With some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world within only a few hours of the town and campus and many opportunities to relax and unwind in the county itself, there is no excuse not to get outside this weekend and every weekend. Let the weekend getaways commence!

If you are interested in starting a business in San Luis Obispo County, learning more about becoming an entrepreneur or just need help with an existing business, find out how the CIE can help you be successful by visiting

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