Calvin Kammer’s Next Gen Escape Room and His Current Journey.
June 29, 2018
Calvin Kammer came up with the Next-Gen Escape Room idea from being in the industry for the past 3 years. Working with laser tag and other escape rooms, he realized that there was a lack for it here in the Central Valley. He noticed that in this market you can create a next level escape room which is how the name came about. He put an emphasis on business to business focus, because most of the places in town do not offer that. Calvin has been a part of half a dozen different businesses that haven't worked out, but he feels that he is ready to make this project the one.
Calvin has been at Fresno State for 1 year and would occasionally come to the Lyles Center. During his second semester he landed a spot in the Student Hatchery and obtained his very own office.
Calvin is now President of the Entrepreneurship Club for his final year in school. As President of the club, he helps out the officers and makes sure that the club runs smoothly while reaching the set goals for the year.
His Internal drive is his biggest motivator. Even when growing up and entering college, Calvin had the drive to become his own boss. Structure and self-discipline are two traits that have helped him out a ton along the way. While working on all of his projects he has had doubts and stress, but he understands that they are common things that people have. Despite the doubts, he understands that this is what he wants to do.
By the end of the year he plans on having his first location here in Fresno and by year three he plans on opening a second location. In the fifth year he plans on reaching a different market in a different town. Eventually he plans on getting back into the laser tag business, especially with the technology improvements made that would enhance the laser tag experience.
Calvin also has a hobby doing videography and has had past contracts doing projects. He also plans on doing all of his own video related assignments for his business. He appreciates all of the experiences he has had with contracts and the business side of videography because it goes hand-in-hand with his current venture.
Calvin left off with some words of advice for future entrepreneurs, “Make sure you aren't doing it for the money. Make sure you find your passion. Find what makes it good and make it the best you can make it.”
Fresno State Student Rafaela Santillan (Rafi) talks about her biggest inspiration and Naked Earth Project’s mission.
June 22, 2018
Naked Earth is aimed to reduce plastic waste and provide sustainable solutions, with their main target being products in the kitchen and bathroom. The sponges typically used in those settings are made from plastic whereas Naked Earth Project sponges made out of sustainable biodegradable material.
Being from Visalia, moving out and coming to Fresno was a big step in Rafi’s life while at first she didn't find the city pleasing. Rafi admits to not liking certain things about Fresno, but after a while she felt that if she didn't like Fresno, then make a change. Now she loves Fresno and likes the thought of Fresno becoming the next great city in California and the United States.
Speech Pathology is Rafi’s major that she plans on getting a degree in, but she has always had a passion for business and entrepreneurship and plans on continuing her vision. She hopes that people send their used sponges and loofahs back to her whenever they receive their subscription boxes. Rafi believes that her subscription box will encourage people to swap out their sponges or loofahs regularly. The general idea started developing in the Entrepreneur Mentorship Program (EMP), when Dr. Stearns assigned the class a project to create a product for a subscription box. She thanks Dr. Stearns EMP class for forcing her to network with new people which helped her realize how important networking really is.
Rafi will be graduating in May of 2019 and plans on finding a job in her career field in order for her to be able to fund her project. She can see her product being in Airbnbs as well as hotels, especially because the world is leaning more toward a greener path.
Her thoughts on failing are that it's great to fail because you learn from your mistakes. Saying that if you succeed the first time your limit will be set there and you won't have the motivation to improve.
Things that have motivated her throughout her life would be her faith and Nikola Tesla. “Tesla was always creating and he didn't just want to profit off of his inventions. He also wanted to make a difference in the world.”
When it comes to road blocks she thanks her father to teaching her that if she wants something just go out and do it and if you fail, just learn from your mistakes. She also doesn’t believe in road blocks occuring based off her gender. “If I allows that thought to enter my mind, then it’ll create an excuse in my mind.”
A wise quote from Rafaela for others that want to try to start their own business is to just stay curious.
Fresno State Student Alicia Porras talks about her company Humble and what inspired her to take this route in life.
June 15, 2018
“I really believe that once more people understand this, they’ll open up.”
Coming from a traditional Mexican family with a Catholic background, cannabis was very difficult to bring up to her parents. Alicia’s mother was diagnosed with a very rare disease that no one else in the U.S. had. With doctors just handing her prescription medication left and right to cope with the pain, Alicia saw how much pain her mom was in and decided that maybe there were different ways to help lower the pain while also avoiding the major side effects that come along with taking prescription medication.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is what Alicia’s company revolves around. Having Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and being diagnosed at a young age, Alicia was prescribed pills to help calm her. Each day learning more about cannabis, Alicia found different methods to keep her calm and stray away from all the pills she was prescribed.
Alicia has always been into entrepreneurship and the idea of having her own business since she was a child. She would even go around selling things in her neighborhood. Having both parents, who are entrepreneurs themselves, Alicia has always been entrepreneurial minded and filled with excitement to have her product be successful in the future.
When first starting, Alicia received a lot of negative feedback because nobody took her product serious. People were turned away because of its association with cannabis and her product was frowned upon. What kept Alicia going was that both of her parents had instilled in her that anything was possible. Moving forward she was glad that people started to come around to completely support her idea even though it relates to the cannabis business.
Mendy Laval, Lyles Center’s Intrapreneur in Residence, is a big inspiration for Alicia because she was the first person that actually believed in her idea. She has even discussed with her how once she gets a manufacturer, she’d want to meet with President Castro to discuss the possibility of growing hemp because it has tons of purposes. She also wants to bring up the idea of hemp farming especially since we are to promote becoming a more eco-friendly ag school in the Central Valley.
Timothy Stearns, The Lyles Center and Albert Einstein, are other people and places that inspire Alicia. Whenever she needs a little bit of pick me up, she’ll start reading some of Einstein’s quotes. Frida Kahlo is also someone that she is inspired by because they are both into Mexican culture. During the time Alicia’s mom was going through all of her surgeries and hospital visits Frida Kahlo was a symbol of strength, rebellion, and standing up to injustice.
Alicia said she is confident and knows that over time she’ll succeed and people will start using her product more and more, especially since people are beginning to believe in her mission and vision.
Fresno State Professor Jorge Cruz talks about his SelfiLock project and the mentality he has that keeps him pushing no matter what doubters say.
June 8, 2018
Fresno State Professor Jorge Cruz talks about his SelfiLock project and the mentality he has that keeps him pushing no matter what doubters say.
“It’s not how you start but how you finish”, Jorge Cruz couldn’t stress that enough during our hour-long conversation. JC, a first generation Puerto-Rican American, grew up in the Bronx area along with his 4 siblings, his strong stay at home mother, and his father who was a postal worker. Living in the Bronx, JC learned how to network at a very young age in order to survive learning that life doesn’t just hand you anything, you have to strive for what you want in life and it takes hard work and dedication. Growing up, JC always knew he would be traveling the world. He told the Lyles Center that there were always people telling him that he’s just going to become a mechanic, at best.
JC gave credit for his work ethic to his parents, especially his father, who went to work every day without breaking down because he was providing for a family of 7. Witnessing the hard work his father would put in day in and day out ingrained his mentality of never giving up. He admits that his parents were both very strict, but he gives them credit for be so strong minded and he realizes that they were the way they were only because they wanted all of their children to succeed in life.
Cruz was enrolled into an all-boys high school in the Bronx saying that he really enjoyed it because you didn’t have the distraction of girls and having to worry about all of the drama. In addition to that, figuring out what to wear to school was simple. Afterwards, JC went to Baruch Business College, but ended up dropping out of school at the age of 19 to take care and support his soon-to-be daughter. Once his daughter grew up and graduated high school he ended up going back to school full-time at West Valley College with an Associate degree, then transferred to USF where he later got his Bachelor’s degree which led to his MBA at California State University, Fresno.
With the journey that he has been on throughout his life, JC understands the time it takes to achieve your goals and hard work that comes with it. JC also understands how to survive in this business because of how he saw his parents grow up stretching dollars in order for their family to survive.
JC’s product is SelfiLock. A door lock that you can unlock by using facial recognition via Bluetooth in the SelfiLock app. It has been JC’s project for the past 4 semesters. During that time, he focused on designing the product and his next step to integrate the software. SelfiLock is aimed to partner with Airbnb, because they currently have the problem of getting the key from the host to the visitor. JC plans on starting with Android software, as well as starting in China and India, as he figures out all of the bugs to perfect his product. He will then move over to IOS software and the U.S.
JC tells the Lyles Center that the only challenge he faced was financially, especially when it comes to finding software engineers here in the U.S. since software engineers cost close to $100,000 a year. During his past trip to Nepal he found a friend to partner with and found software engineers in Nepal that would cost nowhere near $100,000 and the same quality of work. That said, JC created a software team in Nepal where he has software engineers working on SelfiLock and is currently teaming up with The Jaunty App which plans on being ready to release early June.
JC told me that he plans on having the first prototype for SelfiLock ready by December 2018. Ending the discussion, we asked JC if he’s came across any roadblocks or challenges along the way, he told us “Roadblocks, No. I will get past you whether it is through you, around you or over you… I’ll find a way to get past.”
Fresno State Student Tyler Puccio discusses his 12V Enterprise Project and the journey to where he is today.
June 1, 2018
“If there's a door, either knock on it or knock it down.”Tyler Puccio, Fresno State student and entrepreneur, is an active automotive and motorcycle enthusiast. Tyler found himself riding his motorcycle and finding inspiration from motor vloggers off YouTube. He later found himself mounting his GoPro onto his helmet in order to capture the rides. He discovered that battery life wasn’t very sufficient to long distance riders.
This led to 12Volt Enterprises. 12V is a product that connects the power on motorcycles to any electronics a rider may have. It is a quick disconnect system that is waterproof, dustproof, and can withstand whatever nature throws its way!
Tyler has been working on this product since August 2017 and got the motivation to start this project through his entrepreneurship class with Professor Cruz.
Committing to his 12V project took Tyler quite a while, but he received tons of positive feedback not only from his peers, but other motorcycle enthusiasts.
Aside from the automotive route Tyler spoke with his friends in the police department and received the idea of his product helping body cams. “It gave me more confidence that if the motorcycle venture doesn’t turn out the way he hopes he can always try the Police Department.” He explains
Claude Laval was someone that Tyler mentioned who really mentored him by helping him refine the idea. He showed Tyler that you have to “knock on doors” to create your own opportunity. “Laval’s guidance and direction has really given me the confidence that I needed to pursue this day in and day out.” Tyler states.
“I love failing.” One of Tyler’s biggest motivators is being told that he can’t do something. Defining the odds is what drives him. He goes on to describe how in High School he was told that only 2% of football players make it to Division 1. He defied these odds, earning a Division 1 scholarship.
Former President of the Entrepreneurship Club, Tyler and his colleagues were awarded club of the year for the 2017-2018 School year. Tyler joined the club in Spring 2017, being the only member and the 3 required positions. When he became Vice President in the fall of 2017, they added an additional 30 members during the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters. “I’ve learned so much about people’s perspectives on what it is to be an entrepreneurship and what it means to be in the business world.”
Tyler was in a dark place a few years ago but having gone through that allowed him to learn about being patient and understanding the way life works, saying “it has become one of my biggest assets in life.” Tyler mentions that his goal for this venture is to have it be able to propel him into his next venture whenever that day comes, but as for now he is open to learning more and gaining as much experience as he can by not closing an open door.