PUSHING THE STATUS QUO IN PRINTING
CSUSB alumna Maritza Gomez started her business, MG Custom Printing, out of necessity. “I had to create a job for myself because of my immigration status,” she says. (Gomez was brought to the United States as a child and did not have citizenship.) “I wasn't able to work legally for somebody else, but I was able to work for myself.”
Gomez was originally an international business major, but the program included an internship that required traveling outside of the U.S. “I didn't know if my status was going to be adjusted by that time, so I switched into entrepreneurship so I could create businesses.”
With a computer, heat press, printer and a ton of grit, Gomez started MG Custom Printing, a digital decoration company, from her home. She’s found success in providing entrepreneurs the opportunity to order low minimums. “For small business owners, sometimes their marketing budgets are very small,” she says. “I allow customers to mix and match their designs, and they don't have to order a hundred of the same mugs. If they don't sell, then at least they're not stuck with 50 mugs.”
THINK LIKE AN OWNER
While at CSUSB, Gomez was connected with the Inland Empire Women's Business Center and the It's Your Time program, where she learned how to write a business plan. “One of my best memories at school was the Dinner With an Entrepreneur event, presented by the University’s Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship,” she recalls. “Business owners gave us a tour of their facility and shared their story. They told us failure is actually part of business. I was able to see them not as entrepreneurs or CEOs but as people we can look up to.”Since Gomez's graduation in 2016, CSUSB's entrepreneurial efforts have continued to increase. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the campus launched its School of Entrepreneurship, the only one of its kind in California. It will oversee and coordinate eight major academic programs in entrepreneurship with more than 20 full- and part-time faculty members.
“We wanted to create CSUSB as a destination program for entrepreneurship,” says Mike Stull, D.M., director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at CSUSB and director of the School of Entrepreneurship. “What students are getting with us is a real, focused deep dive that exposes them to the entrepreneurial mindset, competencies and knowledge they’ll need to create and sustain new ventures.”
The school and the co-curricular programs offered by the IECE are geared not just to those who envision starting their own businesses. Instead, the skills imparted will prepare future workers with the ability to succeed in any scenario. “We want our students to learn how to think like an owner,” Dr. Stull says. “The context really doesn't matter. It can be their own startup business, a nonprofit social enterprise or them going to work for a larger organization and being an innovative change maker. We want them to push the status quo.”