The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship will test the minds of the university community at the 4th annual Cal State San Bernardino Innovation Challenge on Thursday, April 22, at 4 p.m., featuring finalist teams from the various CSUSB colleges who will present their big business plans in pursuit of the $20,000 in prize money.

The event requires that two or more of the university’s colleges, departments or divisions collaborate on entries, so it is helping people work across boundaries and building connections and partnerships among disparate parties on campus and helping reinforce a culture of collaboration around innovation, said Mike Stull, director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship and interim director of the CSUSB School of Entrepreneurship.

“The Innovation Challenge promotes engaging the strength of our different colleges and divisions to create innovation,” said Stull, who is a lead professor of entrepreneurship.

Register and witness CSUSB in action at the CSUSB Innovation Challenge website.

Prior to the Innovation Challenge competition, there will be a virtual exhibit and pre-event workshops. The times are:

  • 1 p.m. – Virtual Exhibit: Visitors can tour a virtual exhibit of program booths and learn more about the exciting programs and events through the animated virtual environment.
  • 2 p.m. – Workshop: Social Media Marketing. Business consultant Leonard Dominguez, of the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IESBDC), will talk about how a presence on social media can be critical. The session will provide an overview of the basics of marketing via social media: What it is and getting started.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Workshop: Does Your Business Have International Potential? Jeffrey Williamson, director of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), will do a presentation that will cover trends and issues in exporting, the international events that are currently planned for the California State Trade Expansion Program (CA-STEP); the eligibility requirements, and how companies can apply for funding to support their export activities.
  • 3 p.m. – Workshop: The Secret to My Success … Business counselor Mariatu Browne of the Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center will talk about her experiences as founder of TU Organics Salon & Spa, and her journey to success as a small business owner. She will share her personal highs and lows of small business ownership and what truly made the difference between success and failure.
  • 4 p.m. – The Innovation Challenge will kick off with an official welcome and introduction to the judging panel.

Each team will present a video of their concept pitch and be virtually present for the live Q&A from the judging panel consisting of investors and entrepreneurs.

Then the seven-team line-up will present in two different categories:


  • TuneIn – an App for Mental Health & Managing Self-Care – led by Giselle Tapia, Janet Maceda, Lauren Prunty, all from the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences along with CSUSB undergraduate student Brandon Perez with communications studies.
  • Career Box – A monthly subscription-based service for kids that provides boxes filled with career choice explorations and activities, led by Daniel Jackson, an undergraduate in business administration, and Hannah Shinn, an undergraduate student in graphic design studies.
  • Viewlight – A Bluetooth voiceover helmet that will alert riders of objects that may be in their blind spots, led by Rafael Mendez, an undergraduate student in the CSUSB School of Entrepreneurship, and Karla Lion, an undergraduate student in liberal arts studies.


  • NeXt-Gen - An innovative XR intervention for treating youth obesity, led by Neal Malik, an assistant professor of health science and human ecology, and Wagner Do Prado, an assistant professor in the College of Natural Sciences, along with Professor Mihaela Popescu, staff member Liu Yotung, and graduate student Bobby Lauderman, all from the Department of Communication Studies.
  • Piston Driven LLC – An automotive workshop where car enthusiasts can work on their vehicles and take courses in a safe working environment, led by Chinonso DomNwachukwu, a graduate student in the MSEI – Master of Science Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, and Eric Anderson of the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication.
  • LolliPopups – A compact physical background that can be virtually expanded for video conferencing using uniquely patterned borders that are recognized by video-conferencing software, led by Matthew Atherton, a graduate student in education/technology, and Euliver Dizon, an undergraduate student in the CSUSB School of Entrepreneurship.
  • 1Knock – A mobile app that will assist individuals in need to bridge the process in finding food, shelter and medical care in real-time – similar to an Airbnb reservation – led by Matthew List and Uriel Mendiola, both graduate students in the MSEI – Master of Science Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, along with Jonathan Evanculla, a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at Cal State Los Angeles, and Bilal Khan, an assistant professor in the CSUSB School of Computer Science and Engineering.

At 7 p.m. the winners of the $20,000 in cash prizes will be announced.

For more information visit the Innovation Challenge website.