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San Diego State Called Model For Teaching Entrepreneurship

Jake Solomon, cofounder of Bold Brew, pours a cup of cold brew coffee, Feb. 3...

Photo by Megan Burks / KPBS

Above: Jake Solomon, cofounder of Bold Brew, pours a cup of cold brew coffee, Feb. 3, 2017.

Major gifts from the business community are fueling student start-ups at San Diego State University.

San Diego State University engineering seniors Jack Doheny and Jake Solomon just launched Bold Brew, a cold brew coffee company aimed at skaters and surfers who want a natural alternative to sports drinks.

They set up shop in the school's food court Friday, quickly selling out of their signature, a brew infused with nitrogen to make it creamy like a stout beer.

It is this kind of student-led enterprise that recently won SDSU recognition from the United States Association for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship. Each year the organization honors one school as the model for teaching entrepreneurship, and this year it is SDSU.

Video by Megan Burks

"San Diego State's entrepreneurship vibe contributed a whole lot to me starting what I'm doing right now," Doheny said. "I definitely don't think I would have had I gone to a school that didn't really value that risk-taking."

Doheny and Solomon placed third in the school’s Zahn Challenge last semester. The competition is meant to spur an entrepreneurial spirit and put students in front of the business world to get real-life pitching experience. Winners also receive seed money to further their businesses. Doheny and Solomon received $1,000.

Students can also minor in entrepreneurship. They can also access workshops, grants and workspace — whether they are going for a degree in business or English.

Bernhard Schroeder is director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and said the campus' entrepreneurial focus — driven in large part by gifts from the business community — does not detract from, but rather compliments, the arts and sciences.

"The programs that we do on campus are around, 'can you be creative? Can you solve a problem? Can you take a small risk?'" Schroeder said. "And so it's teaching the students how to do that, because they're going to be asked to do that in the real world."

For Doheny, the real world is now.

"One-hundred percent, if this takes off," he said, "I do not want to get an engineering job."

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