Entrepreneurship Symposium & Innovation Pitch Competition 2021 – Online Event

Entrepreneurship Symposium

Date: Friday, April 2, 2021
Time: 9 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Location: Online Symposium

Join us for a full day of discussions, conversations, and networking opportunities with leading entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers across all industries. You will also have a chance to watch the finale of this year’s business pitch competition, where we will award over $10,000 in prize money to the newest entrepreneurial ideas out of San Francisco State University.

Registration is now closed.

With this year’s theme of “just-Innovation,” we want to show how innovation and entrepreneurship can balance some of today’s toughest justice-based issues with the need for enterprises to be financially successful entities. Our aim is to inspire our 2021 attendees with the optimism that we can all make the future just- a bit better through thoughtful innovation and entrepreneurship.

This year’s event is completely online, and open to the extended SFSU community and public.


Topic: Big Dreams for Big Change

Jay Godsall & Michel Rugema

Co-Founders, and CEO & COO, Respectively
and Peace+Freedom Challenge

Sometimes big problems require big dreams and a lot of creativity and grit. What happens when two high school friends decide to find innovative solutions to provide access to the neediest and most remote regions of the Earth? SolarShip is an ongoing story of creativity, engineering, persistence, and mission.

Topic: Innovation & Scale

Dan Berelowitz

CEO & Founder
Spring Impact

How do you scale social impact to affect a larger community? This session discusses how community-transforming organizations can systematically grow beyond their local footprints.

Topic: Restaurant Entrepreneurship: Making It Work



Everyone wants to open a restaurant. Yet the food service industry is brutal, with one of the highest failure rates of any sector. Listen in on our panel of successful SFSU restaurant entrepreneurs as they share their journeys from dreams to realities.

Topic: In Conversation: Pathwater

Gulshan Kumar (B.S., '15)

Vice President, Sales

The average person consumes 168 plastic bottles of water a year. Hear about an SFSU alumni’s journey to help change how bottles are manufactured and to change consumer behavior.

Topic: 4th Annual Innovation Pitch Competition

Panelist Judges:

Each year, we invite aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators, and enterprises across the SFSU student body to pitch their concepts to a panel of industry experts, investors, and rainmakers. Come watch this year’s pitch competition finalists as they vie for $10,000 in startup funds.


8:45 – 9 a.m.

Lobby Opens

9 – 9:20 a.m.

Welcome Remarks by Eugene Sivadas Ph.D., Dean, Lam Family College of Business and Sybil Yang Ph.D., Associate Professor, Lam Family College of Business

9:20 – 9:30 a.m.

Icebreaker Activity

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Big Dreams for Big Change by Jay Godsall, CEO, and Michel Rugema, COO, Co-Founders of SolarShip and the Peace + Freedom Challenge

10:30 – 10:35 a.m.


10:35 – 11:20 a.m.

Innovation & Scale by Dan Berelowitz, CEO & Founder, Spring Impact

11:20 – 11:30 a.m.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Restaurant Entrepreneurship: Making It Work

Panel Moderator: Liz Subauste (B.A., '10), Consultant & Founder, SobreMesa


12:30 – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

In Conversation: Pathwater by Gulshan Kumar (B.S., '15), Vice President, Sales, Pathwater

2:15 – 2:20 p.m.


2:20 – 4 p.m.

Innovation Pitch Competition


4 – 4:30 p.m.

Alumni Happy Hour (Open to All) with Duggan McDonnell, Mixologist & Author

4:30 – 4:45 p.m.

Closing: Competition Awards and Reflections – Perseverence and Planning for Uncertainty

Questions? Please Contact IEFP@sfsu.edu.

This event is sponsored in part by MUFG Union Bank Foundation and the Lam-Larsen Fund for Global Innovation.

Union Bank MUFG Logo

MUFG Union Bank Foundation’s mission is to make philanthropic investments that expand access to economic opportunity in low- and moderate-income communities specifically in the areas of affordable housing, community economic development, education, human services and the environment.