The play, presented by Cal Poly Arts, will feature the Shakespearean actors of the traveling Globe Theater from London. | Mustang News file photo

Mustang News File Photo

In a format similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will bring a panel of four start-up business owners to the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on Monday.

Jessica Burger
Special to Mustang News

Future entrepreneurs take note: The next academic forum by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will bring a panel of four Cal Poly alumni and start-up business owners next Monday to the Pavilion at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The event is open to the public, and students or community members interested in attending “Turning Passion into Profit: Investing in Yourself” should register before the event, which will take place on Feb. 3 at 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Lynn Metcalf, department chair of marketing at the Orfalea College of Business, will serve as the moderator of the panel. Alumni will talk about what it takes to break through as an entrepreneur in today’s business world.

The mixer beforehand will allow members of the San Luis Obispo business community to network with students and hear project pitches, including the recent winners from Startup Weekend, said Caleb Gotthardt, philosophy freshman and CIE public relations representative.

Similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” attendees will be given monopoly money for the first part of the event, where student’s business ideas will compete through exhibits and pitches to win the highest amount of “investments,” Gotthardt said.

“The pitches are going to be explaining to people what their company does, why it works and why you should invest,” Gotthardt said. “The definition of the word ‘entrepreneur’ is expanding and with so many more resources that are now available, it’s about taking ideas and turning them into realities.”

The winner will get to participate in the next workshop from the Cal Poly Small Business Center.

“The CIE is a huge link in giving students and people in the SLO community access to mentors, business investors and future clients.” Gotthardt said. “The panel will mostly discuss the future of young entrepreneurs: What’s the way?”

The panel of Cal Poly alumni entrepreneurs will include CEO of Poly Performance, Synergy Manufacturing and 4130 Clothing Dave Schlossberg, Founder of DayOne Response and former member of Engineers without Borders Tricia Compas-Markman, designer and founder of Petunia Corp. DeNai Jones and co-founder of SanTasti and Evo Revitalizing Water Nicole Macaluso.

Panelist member Compas-Markman received her undergraduate and masters degree in civil engineering at Cal Poly, and used experiences from Thailand, Nicaragua and Haiti with Engineers Without Borders to create DayOne Response, a program that delivers clean drinking water to disaster response communities, Gotthardt said.

Another panel member, Macaluso, was a former wine and viticulture student and head winemaker of the Cal Poly Wine Association 2008.

These panelists all used their resources to get their businesses going, Gotthardt said.

“Social media, online interaction, all these different mediums can get our ideas out to people who have the money and the resources to invest,” Gotthardt said.

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