Cal Poly Entrepreneurs' Startup Career Fair: A Recap

Ally Wagner, Owen Works, Ethan Tse
April 13, 2021

At in-person career fairs, the RecreationCenter is filled with students dressed in business attire, lining up with hopes of getting a word in with a recruiter. Attending companies tend to seek upperclassmen with very specific skill sets, so students who do not fit the desired profiles are often cast away like unwanted fish. The typical career fair can be discouraging, overwhelming, and stressful.

Cal Poly Entrepreneurs sought to change this with our first ever virtual Startup Career Fair. Companies were open to networking with students of all years, majors, and skill sets, and attendees left with a sense of relaxation and excitement.

Recreation Center image by Addison Le Claire

A huge benefit of this year’s SCF being online was the chance to meet the start-ups that would not have been able to participate in-person. There were company reps from all over the state, and even across the country as far as Florida. CPE aims to continue to attract these high-caliber companies from diverse geographies in the coming years, potentially even expanding internationally.

The Switch from an In-Person Event to a Virtual Experience

Through InEvent's virtual platform, both recruiters and students had the chance to shift from the constant onslaught of zoom calls.The interactive platform allowed for group sessions, where representatives could talk about their company and answer questions for multiple students at a time. It also allowed for one-on-one sessions where recruiters could meet individual students on a more personal level.

The platform’s layout allowed students to swiftly move between booths to where there was less traffic. Although the new platform had a learning curve, students left with a greater sense of community and confidence and new opportunity. They felt that they were being seen, able to construct valuable connections, and gain insights.

 

Find a Community of Scrappy, Like-Minded Individuals

The intention wasn’t solely for people to find an internship or a job at the Startup Career Fair. It was also an amazing opportunity for people to dip their toes in the entrepreneurship world and learn what the startup journey looks like. By speaking with recruiters, it was easy to see the valuable experience that comes from being involved with startups. Startups need driven, creative people to bring in unique perspectives and ideas. They need to be scrappy, and willing to pivot and learn along the way.

Our amazing speakers also offered valuable insights about starting their own businesses. These entrepreneurs talked about their stories, gave advice to college students, and offered invaluable insight into the world beyond.

Ben Larson, CEO of Vertosa, shared his journey of constant failing, until he finally experienced sweet success. He contributed to a number of start-ups early in his career, even venturing to start a VC fund.

Ben spoke about the entrepreneurial journey, how it is one full of sacrifice and loneliness. With a Stoic mindset, you constantly expect the unexpected, that way you don’t overreact under any circumstances. This philosophy helped him integrate discipline into his life and developed his skill as a composed problem solver.

Josh McCarter reflected on his growth as an entrepreneur, from his first job detailing cars at 12, to becoming the successful CEO of Mindbody. While speaking about his personal experiences, he expressed that a positive or negative mindset can become a “self-fulling prophecy” for one’s life.

For goal setting, whether it be personal, familial, or professional he emphasized the importance of setting tangible goals with a realistic timeline, and being proactive in achieving them. He also highlighted that everyone’s life should be purposeful, which allows us to work harder and be more driven.

David Bartolomucci guided us through the early whirlwind stages of his company, Roopairs,and how his experiences taught him important entrepreneurial lessons.

David, a sophomore at the time, started his company with the help of his older brother and close friends. In the chaotic realm of early stage business, “it’s good practice to have the right legal pieces in place… proper legalities set expectations...one of the most important things in startups.” This lesson was painfully evident when David needed to fire their first technical developer upon their acceptance to theAccelerator. Building the right team truly can define your business.  

Not too long ago, Roopairs made a vital pivot to achieve better product market fit. After many customer interviews,David realized service companies needed more innovation than the restaurants themselves. Their business management tool “was like from the 1980s. Crazy old software.” Spotting a new opportunity, he explained how “as entrepreneurs, we go into an industry that’s lacking growth and innovation, then go in and fixit.

Embrace Opportunities and Take the Next Step

We hope that the Startup Career Fair will continue to be a catalyst for you to make the first move. Maybe you’ll create a company of your own. Or maybe, you’ll join a small startup that’ll become the next big thing. The opportunities in the entrepreneurship world are endless.Are you ready to explore them?

Come to Cal Poly Entrepreneurs’ weekly meetings from 6pm-7pm to explore opportunities, meet like-minded individuals, and gain insight from entrepreneurs!

 

 

 

 

 

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