More than 120 Central Valley leaders and entrepreneurs attended the 10-year celebration of the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on May 11 at the Smittcamp Alumni House at Fresno State.

Titled “A Decade of the Lyles Center,” the event included an awards banquet and honored students, alumni and community leaders for their dedication to leveraging resources from the community to assist innovators and entrepreneurs in the development of their ideas into businesses.

Roman Cota, managing partner at Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center, earned the Laval Entrepreneur Mentor of the Year Award and Elisa Ramos, a Fresno State senior majoring in business administration with an option in management, earned the Claude Laval Mentor Student Award.

“Being involved in the Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program has awakened an entrepreneurial spirit that I never knew existed,” Ramos said. “I’m thankful that I’m able to move forward from my undergraduate experience with a strong professional network, and I’m so honored to have been presented with an award as prestigious as the Claude Laval Mentor Student Award.”

The Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program matches students from any discipline with a mentor who aligns with their area of interest. The year-long program provides students with the opportunity to network, gain professional insights and build relationships with some of the most distinguished Central Valley business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Other prizes awarded at the event include the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Teacher of the Year, the Coleman Fellow Award, the Betty Lou Laval Mentor Student Award, the Spencer Prize and the Vision Award.

“The innovative businesses and ventures launched by the Lyles Center are the true hallmark of our success,” said Dr. Scott Moore, interim executive director of the Lyles Center. “This center is integral not only to Fresno State but to the entire Central Valley as a whole.”

For more information, contact Erica Bermudez at or 559.278.3726.