Entrepreneurship Symposium & Innovation Pitch Competition 2019

San Francisco State University Friday., Apr. 26, 2019

Hosted by San Francisco State University College of Business, the second annual Entrepreneurship Symposium is part of a larger initiative to establish an innovation institute at San Francisco State University.

This event has sold out, we look forward to seeing you on Friday, April 26, 2019.

This program is designed for budding entrepreneurs and early-stage startup founders seeking to develop stronger entrepreneurial skills and to build their network. Participants who are able to bring intellectual rigor, curiosity, and the drive to go out and apply what they learn in this program will see a successful transformation of themselves by the end of this event.

Keynote Speaker

Kate SofisKate Sofis

CEO and Co-Founder, SFMade
Co-Founder, Urban Manufacturing Alliance

Kate Sofis works at the intersection of maker-manufacturing economies, social and economic equity, and cities. Kate is the co-founder and CEO of SFMade, an internationally-recognized public-private partnership launched in 2010 that has helped catalyze a resurgence in local manufacturing in one of the most prosperous yet economically divided and expensive regions in the world: the San Francisco Bay Area. Kate is also co-founder of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, a collaboration of more than 150 North American cities, all working to connect major urban centers to each other and promoting the replication of successful urban manufacturing models across cities. Internationally, Kate has participated in manufacturing-based economic development projects in London, Berlin, Goteborg and Algeria.

Kate speaks widely on the topic of manufacturing, urban economic development, and the intersection of cities, work, and shared economic prosperity. She has been a featured speaker at South by Southwest, CityLab, the Clinton Global Initiative, Techonomy, and the US Conference of Mayors. Kate has been published or featured in Forbes, the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Monocle Magazine. She has been recognized twice as a Most Influential Woman by the San Francisco Business Times and recently was awarded the prestigious Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her work.

Kate holds an M.S. in City Design and Social Policy from the London School of Economics and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University.

Program Objectives

  • understand how to create a business strategy, identify a market and test a product or service
  • learn how to manage limited resources to bootstrap a new business, allowing entrepreneurs to launch and grow through lean startup principals
  • learn what it means to build a "sustainable business" and why it matters
  • develop higher self-awareness of your attributes, capabilities and behaviors as a leader
  • improve executive-level communication and decision-making skills
  • create a “fundable” business plan or pitch


Friday, April 26, 2019, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


San Francisco State University Downtown Campus, 835 Market Street, Room 609, San Francisco, CA 94103


Registration fee is waived for students pitching their business.

Admission Fee:  $95 per person ($45 for San Francisco State University alumni and staff, $15 for students)

Early Bird Offer: Discounted tickets are now available at 50% off the regular price.
This offer is available until 6 p.m. on March 29, 2019.

This event has sold out, we look forward to seeing you on Friday, April 26, 2019.

The Innovation Pitch Competition

The Innovation Pitch Competition is designed for San Francisco State University students with a new business idea or startup. Students who submit an application to the Pitch Competition must be resourceful, resilient and mature, as well as be open to feedback and adapting to change.

Our Innovation Pitch Competition is a forum to share and discover new business ideas and startups. The deadline to submit your business idea to this pitch competition is April 5, 2019. Only three ideas will be selected from the application pool. Students selected to pitch their ideas are welcomed to attend the Symposium free of charge to learn from our highly accomplished speakers and to hear pitches from other San Francisco State University student entrepeneurs.

Cash prizes totaling $8,500 will be awarded to the three winners of the Pitch Competition. These cash prizes are made possible through the generous support of our event sponsor, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Learn more about the Pitch Competition and submit your pitch application here.

Application Deadline:  Friday, April 5, 2019, 11:59 p.m.


8 – 9 a.m.  Registration, Breakfast and Networking

9 – 9:15 a.m.

  • Welcome Remarks by Interim Dean Yim-Yu Wong
  • Introduction of Keynote Speaker Kate Sofis by Associate Professor Minu Kumar (moderator)

9:15 – 10 a.m.  Keynote Address by Kate Sofis, CEO and Co-Founder, SFMade; Co-Founder, Urban Manufacturing Alliance

10 – 10:15 a.m.  Keynote Speaker Q&A with Attendees

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 – 11 a.m. Panel Speakers - Discussion moderated by Minu Kumar

  • Zack Onisko, CEO, dribbble
  • Melissa Stoller, VP, Senior Community Affairs Regional Officer, Bank of the West
  • Fred Gibbons, Adjunct Professor at Stanford University; former CEO and Founder, Software Publishing Corporation

11 – 11:30 a.m.  Panel Speakers Q&A with Attendees

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Networking and Lunch

1 – 2:30 p.m.  Innovation Pitch Competition Presentations

2:30 – 3 p.m. Deliberations by Panel Judges:

  • Brett Lovelady, Founder / Creative Capitalist / Designer, Astro Studios
  • Rana Chakrabarti, Senior UX Designer, SAP
  • Chris Chan, Principal Engineer, Splunk
  • Xi Han, Associate Professor of Finance, San Francisco State University
  • Hassan Ali, Controllers & Tax Services, Financial Management of the Americas, MUFG Union Bank, N.A..

3 – 3:15 p.m.  Announcement of Winners and Awards Ceremony presented by Dan Meals, SOX Program Management MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.  Wrap-Up and Final Remarks from Minu Kumar

3:30 – 4 p.m.  Networking and Refreshments

Thank you to our event sponsor, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.