Moving Student Entrepreneurs from Idea to Execution

Intensive Workshop The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center is currently hosting a workshop series, Entrepreneur-in-Residence to support the programs at the College. The program is funded by a grant from the State Chancellor’s Office, Doing What Matters.  Our EiR instructor, Eddie Lin, has a multi-faceted background in the tech industry as well as media and social influence including TV appearances on Fear Factor.

It is our intention to utilize the experience and advice of consultants, like Eddie Lin.  Utilizing the expertise of the community business is part of the reason that the EiR grant is useful for San Bruno.  It is also a vehicle to teach our students the skills and techniques they need to succeed. We have done this is through a newly launched accelerator program called “The Intensive.”

We recruited eight students and one City of San Bruno Chamber of Commerce Board member that all had ideas about creating their own businesses, each of them coming from a different background and with their own level of readiness. One of these students is Juan Valencia.  He inspired Mr. Lin to create the workshop. Juan tells us that his whole life he has been searching for a salsa that fits the bill on flavor and likeness to his heritage, and after hearing Eddie Lin speak in one of his marketing classes last Fall, he decided to act on his feelings and create his own salsa brand!

Juan created Salsa Catrina by learning a family recipe from his relatives in México. He created his own logo, and bought mason jars to safely store his product. By December of 2016, he had printed his labels, had business cards ready, and prepackaged salsa to sell!

Juan is utilizing the skills from the workshop to help increase his sales. He has a company website completed with its own social media pages, and a renewed drive to push forward with his dream. When asked why he joined the Intensive he said “I didn’t know too much about branding and legal stuff so I thought they (BAEC) must have some sort of contacts and can help me out.”

Intensive Workshop After his time at BAEC, and learning from Eddie Lin, Juan says he feels better about beginning his own business. Juan expressed the fears that many people feel when they have an idea and do not fully know how to execute it. Juan recalls thinking, “…these people really are trying to help me, so obviously my business is not dumb, or at least my idea isn’t dumb. This is serious.”

The Intensive Workshop is a balance of BAEC learning more about its own efficiency and effectiveness, while simultaneously providing our students of the San Mateo Community College District with the experience, techniques, and knowledge of how to survive as an Entrepreneur in today’s world.

For those interested in supporting Juan on his journey, you can purchase a bottle at SalsaCatrina.com! To learn more about the different workshops and programs at the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center, send us an email at baec@smccd.edu or stop in during business hours.

Article by Kari Bush | Photography by Gino Degrandis and Kari Bush