Innovation and Entrepreneurship

In-Person Program

In this dynamic, intensive and interactive five-day program, participants will have the opportunity to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship with an emphasis on the unique culture of the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants will immerse themselves in the local innovative ecosystem. The program includes workshops, panel discussions, site visits and opportunities to collaborate with peers and local experts. Our trainers are seasoned SF State faculty and leading industry experts.

International students applaud in class

Participants will:

  • Discover key areas for planning a new business venture
  • Develop and pitch business idea
  • Explore Bay Area companies
  • Build network of professional connections and entrepreneurs
  • Experience and learn about the Bay Area culture of innovation
International students show their certificates

Program can be tailored to:

  • Emerging Entrepreneurs
  • MBA Students
  • Undergraduate Business Majors
  • Students from other disciplines interested in learning about entrepreneurship

No prior business knowledge or experience required

SF State Library

SF State Campuses

The main campus is located in a quiet and safe neighborhood near the Pacific Ocean.

The Downtown Campus is located in the heart of the business district, near financial institutions, including Bank of America and BlackRock; social media companies, including Twitter, Pinterest and Yelp; and new economy companies, including Airbnb and Uber.

About the Program

Learning Outcomes

To understand entrepreneurship and start-up development with an emphasis on the San Francisco/Silicon Valley innovative ecosystem. To become familiar with the key stages of launching a successful startup: idea generation, design thinking, pitching, market analysis, financing and networking.



Sample Curriculum

Sample Schedule
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Weekend
Morning Orientation and Networking Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of the Bay Area Business Model Development and Elevator Pitch Silicon Valley Innovation Tour
Palo Alto Innovation Walking Tour
Silicon Valley Incubator/Accelerator/Co-Working Space Visit


Networking: A Crucial Piece of Entrepreneurship Social Entrepreneurship Free time to explore Mission, Presidio, Castro, Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge, etc.
Noon SF Innovation Downtown Walking Tour: Facebook, Salesforce Park, LinkedIn, Google Campus Brown Bag Lunch with SF State Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellows or Emerging Entrepreneurs Tours Lunch at Ferry Building: Explore Farmers Market — Culinary Innovation Lunch with Your Team Members - Breakout Session  Free Time
Afternoon Design Thinking Workshop
Autodesk Visit: Innovation in Design
Failure: The Secret Sauce of Silicon Valley
Museum Visit: Innovation and Art: SFMOMA
Tours Financing your Venture: Panel of Local Entrepreneurs, Angel Investors, VCs 
Attend a Local Entrepreneurial/Startup Event
Participants Pitch Start Up Ideas 
Closing Ceremony 
Free Time
Evening* Cruising San Francisco Bay on Ferry Attend a Pro Sporting Event (Giants, Warriors, 49ers Game) Dinner at Santana Row Exploratorium After Dark or California Academy of Sciences Explore Live Music in San Francisco — Live Jazz Music Free Time

*Evening activities are optional and may incur additional cost.



Program Format

  • 25 hours of workshops, seminars and panels by industry experts and site visits
  • Offered at SF State downtown and main campus
  • Program can be scheduled on demand for custom groups of 15 or more
  • Program will include unlimited San Francisco Muni pass and chartered bus to Silicon Valley




F-1 student visa not required. Participants can enter the U.S. on B-2 or visa waiver.



Program Fee

$1,250 per participant. 15 person minimum.
The program fee does not include, visa, insurance, optional evening activities, accommodation, meals or individual expenses.




One week



What Participants Say

“It was a wonderful journey for me, you can tell how much effort SF State have putted in this virtual program, all speakers were really interesting and workshops really helpful I would do this course again without hesitating.”

Santiago M.

Lisa J., International Student from Haiti

“I had an amazing overall experience with SF State. The program was well structured and fitted my needs as an entrepreneur. The staff was really understanding and professional. Ally and Saroj made the virtual experience interactive, fair and entertaining. The speakers were from different backgrounds but demonstrated a really deep knowledge in their topics. The sessions also gave us enough room to communicate with each other as a cohort and know each other more. The only issue is that: the program had to end.”

Lisa J.



Rehanna W., International Student from Grenada

“I had an amazing experience with SF State and felt as a student welcomed into this big family. I especially enjoyed the insightful information given by the speakers and the efforts made to have this feel as close to being in person as possible. I am looking forward to a continued relationship with this community.”

Rehanna W.

Zaira X., International Student from Guatemala

“It was a wonderful experience full of knowledge and motivation! All the speakers were wonderful and gave us gasoline as entrepreneurs to continue with our projects, with a new mindset on brainstorming and failure. I really enjoyed the fact that this process reminded us that we are humans.”

Zaira X.

Carlos M., International Student from Peru

“My experience with SF State was one of the most value in my career. I was able to combine my knowledge skills with the new business trend. The program gave me the opportunity to improve and learn more about technology and entrepreneurship.”

Carlos M.

Workshop and Seminar Leaders

Cathy Chang, Program Facilitator

Program Facilitator Cathy Chang is the Founder and Principal of Silicon Valley Institute (SV Institute). She has been focusing on her career in higher education since 2009. Prior to SV Institute, she was the Program Director for Custom Programs in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of California Berkeley Extension. She was also the Director for Executive Education Immersion Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Management. Prior to entering higher education, she held positions in marketing, PR and project/program management both in the United States and in Korea. She served various organizations from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies in technology, hospitality, PR and advertising industries such as Microsoft, the Westin Hotel and J. Walter Thompson. She also founded and operated a bistro/coffee shop and a marketing consulting firm in Seattle.

Chiara Cecchini

Chiara Cecchini has been named one of Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs of Note for Europe. Chiara co-founded the Future Food Institute, a global organization with the mission to transform the food industry into a more sustainable, socially responsible industry. Chiara is an expert coach in the application of Design Thinking methodology and is an alum of the Y Combinator Startup School (YC). Chiara has earned a Master of Business Administration, Moscow State Institute of International Relations; Master of Business Administration, ICN Grande Ecole; Bachelor of Arts/Science, Universita degli Studi di Firenze.

Bruce Heiman

Bruce Heiman is a Professor at the College of Business at SF State. Professor Heiman’s education includes an AB in Psychology from Stanford (1981); an MS from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering, Product Design (1983); an MBA from Universiteit Nijenrode, NL (1990); and a PhD from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (Business and Public Policy, 2002). He has published in a substantial number of academic journals and conference proceedings as well as refereed books. He has served for five years as Chair of the College of Business Graduate Curriculum Committee, and President of the SF State Friends of the JPL Library, a non-profit that supports the Library at SF State. Prof. Heiman’s research interests include international aspects of creativity and innovation. Within this realm, his interests include design thinking in firms, transaction cost economics, and its application to international aspects of problem finding and solving in organizations. Prof. Heiman has over 20 years of experience working full time in firms, or consulting in strategic management, with an emphasis on early-stage innovation processes. He has extensive experience teaching MBA, Undergraduate, Executive MBA and certificate program students. Classes taught include Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCB), Doing Business in Europe, Global Strategic Management, Creativity Skills for Global Managers, International Business Environment Analysis (SF State), Statistics and Math for MBA Students (USF) and Cross-Cultural Creativity (SF State). He speaks English (native), Dutch (advanced) and French (elementary).

Hap Klopp

Hap Klopp was the founder of The North Face, where he served as President and CEO for 20 years. During that time The North Face was honored with many awards for being the best managed company in its industry, including being lauded by Business Week Magazine for providing one of the highest quality products of any company in the United States. Mr. Klopp led The North Face to its position as the largest and most technically advanced company in its industry and one of the largest privately held companies in San Francisco East Bay. Adventurer and executive, Hap Klopp has run numerous companies and spoken around the world on branding, adventuring, leadership and entrepreneurship. After selling his highly successful company, he began an international management consulting firm, HK Consulting, with offices in Berkeley, CA and Tokyo. He has simultaneously invested in and participated in a number of entrepreneurial ventures and served on the Board of Directors of numerous companies. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book on leadership: “Conquering the North Face, an Adventure in Leadership” as well as a recently released best-selling book: “Almost - 12 electric months chasing a Silicon Valley Dream.”

Sybil Yang

Sybil Yang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Lam Family College of Business. She currently teaches in both the MBA and undergraduate programs, including classes on Service Operations Management, and Food, Wine & Culture of California. Although she is in the HTM Department, her business background is in Investment Banking, Venture Capital, and Management Consulting. She has been a part of three larger start-ups (in the early 2000s), and vetted business plans and built financial models for a seed-stage venture firm (mostly tech start-up business plans). From an operational standpoint, Sybil offers significant insight into the restaurant and food and beverage services businesses. From an academic standpoint, she taps into the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley where I majored in Business Administration (concentration in Finance and Accounting), with a minor in Educational Psychology. She is also involved with various Cornell University Alumni Associations - where she received a Master in Hospitality Management from the School of Hotel Administration (concentration in Food & Beverage), MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management (Finance and Entrepreneurship), and MS and PhD in Consumer Psychology.

Contact Us

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