The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship welcomed 25 students from India as part of its Idea2Venture (I2V) program in late July. Created by the Lyles Center, the camp guides participants on an entrepreneurial journey from start to finish, in just two weeks.

The students ranged from ages 14 to 17 and worked with local leaders in creativity, product commercialization, entrepreneur coaching and business model development.

The program kicked off with a dinner on Sunday, July 27 with Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “I enjoyed my time with the Idea2Venture students at the welcome dinner last month,” Castro said. “They are bright individuals who showed great enthusiasm for their visit to Fresno State. Our university was pleased to host them and welcome each student to extend their entrepreneurial education here.”

Latika Lodha, 14, said the program helped her develop an idea to help professionals in India who are too busy to prepare home-cooked meals. Her enterprise, “Eat at Home,” is a website that would allow busy business people to order authentic Indian food prepared by local housewives.

“I always got a lot of ideas,” Lodha said, “but I didn’t know how to utilize them. This course has taught me how to implement them.”

Dr. Ed Sobey, founding director of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, led the first week of instruction with hands-on activities designed to encourage innovation among the students.

Eric Nasalroad, director of the Entrepreneurship Center at Reedley College, taught the program’s second week focused on self-employment by examining business models, testing market viability and developing product websites.

Suraj Soni, 17, said he spent a year researching the best universities to study entrepreneurship and Fresno State was on the list even before he learned of the I2V camp. During the program Soni developed an iPhone case that works as its own speaker. With the help of the 3-D printer at the Lyles Center, he was able to build the first prototype of his design.

By the end of the camp Soni had signed up for classes at Fresno State — including introduction to entrepreneurship. “I am very excited — this is a dream come true,” Soni said. “I feel like Alice in Wonderland.”

For additional information, contact Dr. Timothy Stearns at 559.294.2045 or

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