The Orion

Students explore startup spirit in entrepreneurial course

Prin Mayowa

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With all the praise Chico has gotten for being a great place to live and work, it’s no surprise that the small town is also an ideal environment to start a small business. This is a city where you can learn if you have what it takes to start and run a company.

Gary Sitton, computer science professor emeritus, was tempted to design a class so students would not only learn from him, but from others who climbed up the startup business ladder. Sitton and his wife, Judy, started and sold their own company, Bi-Tech.

“It’s an experiment,” Sitton said. “Over the years I have accumulated quite a number of colleagues who have done similar things to what Judy and I did.”

Sitton is not the only one excited about his new class.

Matthew Shouse, a senior applied computer graphics major, is unsure about what he will learn from the class, but knows it will be interesting.

“People are always asking questions,” Shouse said. “It seems like a great opportunity to meet these people and network.”

The class will feature insights from businesspeople like Ken Grossman, the CEO and president of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Sean Morgan, a business management professor and city council member.

If students want to see whether or not they have the chops for technological startups, or startups in general, they must be willing to wake up before dawn.

The class meets at 6 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in the O’Connell Technology Center.

With such an early class time, one might assume it may be hard to get a group of undergrads and graduate students to be attentive and responsive, but Shouse would disagree.

“It’s worth it,” Shouse said. “Sure I feel like my mom, going to bed at 9 or 10, but I get so much done now.”

Peter Straus, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, applauds both students and lecturers for being able to get up and into class at such an early time.

“Here in the College of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship, we are very pleased to see the idea of entrepreneurship spread across campus,” Straus said in a statement addressing the new class.

Chico isn’t just one of the best places to live and work, it’s becoming somewhere small businesses can thrive.

Prin Mayowa can be reached at [email protected] or @PrinSupreme on Twitter.

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Students explore startup spirit in entrepreneurial course