Two Fresno State students, four faculty members and one staff member  were awarded funds to help bring their entrepreneurial dreams to life. The funding was provided by a mini-grant joint project of New California Ventures, LLC and the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State.

The mini-grant program was launched in fall 2013 through the Lyles Center to provide Fresno State students, staff and faculty the opportunity to seek support for up to $5,000 per project for the development of intellectual property and/or commercialization of products or services. To date, 49 applications have been received and nine project proposals have been funded for a total award amount of approximately $35,000

The projects supported this year range from website development for students to raise funds to study abroad, to patentable research that could find an alternative cure for prostate cancer.

Spring 2014 mini-grant projects include:

Check2Rent is a website that provides potential rental tenants the ability to apply for multiple apartments with one application fee and one credit check. It was developed by Ivy Rivera, a business management student at the Craig School of Business.

Tripsidize is a web-based company that helps college students secure funding to study abroad, created by Nico De Young, an entrepreneurship major at the Craig School. “It is an awesome feeling to know that community and university leaders are beginning to see the potential in the business that we have been working hard to develop,” De Young said. “It is an exciting new opportunity for our company which will bring us one large step closer to releasing our product to the public.” 

Cancer research conducted by Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen, an assistant professor for the College of Science and Mathematics, is examining the therapeutic uses of curcumin, a yellow spice used as an ingredient in curry, for possible treatment of prostate and other aggressive cancers.

Dec-A-Cap by Dr. Ram Nunna and Professor Walter Mizuno is a set of clips designed to allow students to use their own photos to generate an attractive mortarboard for graduation ceremonies. Nunna is the dean of the Lyles College of Engineering and Mizuno is a lecturer for the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. The Nguyen, an assistant professor at the Lyles College of Engineering, created an upper limb tremor suppression devise that uses electroactive polymers to help people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease symptoms. “The funding from the mini-grant program has helped significantly in realizing the concept into a prototype,” Nguyen said. “The funding allows me to buy materials, fabricate the components, build the experimental setup for testing and hire professionals to critique my design. Without the funding, the concept would remain a concept.”

The San Joaquin Valley Performance Management Dashboard was a project led by Donna DeRoo, assistant director for the Central California Center for Health and Human Services. Their product would provide public health dashboard metrics for agencies.

New California Ventures, LLC is a for-profit LLC, established in September 2012, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fresno State Foundation.  The purpose of the LLC includes supporting further development and commercialization of research initiatives at Fresno State, providing entrepreneurs and start-up businesses professional services and/or investment capital. The ultimate goal is to help create new jobs and improvement of economic health of the Central Valley by supporting business.

The mini-grant program is administered in partnership with the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Lyles Center provides assessment, development and commercialization services to entrepreneurs, startups and inventors from the University or the community at large.

For more information, contact Jeff Macon at 559.294.2045 or