For the average University of California, Irvine (UCI) student, walking around campus with four hours of sleep and a cup of strong coffee in hand is a normal part of the college experience. However, existing in a state of perpetual exhaustion is harmful on several levels. Not only does sleep deprivation take a toll on your health, but it also affects your productivity and ability to focus.
Suffering from too little sleep and too much caffeine is something that UCI students Kenny Suryadinata, Calvin Suryadinata, Michelle Liman, and Vincent Can, are all too familiar with. Tired of…well, being tired, the group brainstormed ways to help other students get the sleep they so desperately needed.
Together, the team developed an idea for a business they call Snooze. Kenny explains,
It’s basically a sleeping pod company. We’re planning to have a few sleeping pods around the campus to help people who want to take naps between classes because we know naps are really good compared to drinking coffee or energy drinks. It all came from our personal problem of being tired from homework and lacking in sleep but still needing to stay focused in class.
While the group knew that their idea would help UCI’s student population, they weren’t sure how to turn their idea into reality. Fortunately, because Calvin, Michelle, and Vincent were all involved in UCI’s special Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIE) program through the Paul Merage School of Business, they were aware of the various campus resources designed to support student innovation. This is where they were introduced to UCI’s ANTrepreneur Center and its manager Jaune Odombrown.
Michelle recalls, “Jaune spoke to our class about his programs and his willingness to help us with our business ideas, even if they were still in the ideation process.”
Vincent adds, “We attended his seminar every week during the Fall Quarter, and he was supportive, talked with us, and gave us some ideas.”
The ANTrepreneur Center serves as a central hub where UCI students can develop the skills necessary to start, operate, or grow their own businesses. Whether they are just starting out or already have a business framework in place, the ANTrepreneur Center welcomes student entrepreneurs of all levels to take advantage of the many resources, programs, events, and services that it offers.
As Michelle mentions, the group was in the ideation phase of business development when they turned to the ANTreprenur Center. According to Jaune, ideation is the initial stage of the entrepreneurship process where students are encouraged to be creative and explore the process of idea generation. Jaune and the ANTrepreneur staff offer guidance and support as students think critically about their potential customer base as well as their company’s mission, values, and vision for the future.
Calvin explains that when they first came to the ANTrepreneur Center with their idea, Jaune was eager to offer his assistance. He recalls, “We came to him, explaining our idea from scratch. He helped us from designing the company name to developing our business plan. Any time we needed help or had questions regarding our project, we came to the ANTrepreneur Center.”
For Jaune, it’s important to be accessible and personally involved with each and every student that walks through the ANTrepreneur Center’s doors. As a business owner himself, Jaune understands how difficult the road to success can be, especially when you are just starting out.
“I didn’t have any real guidance or mentors when I first went into business,“ he explains. “It was tough because it was all trial and error for me. So, if I can use my experience and knowledge to pave the way for the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, then I want to do everything that I possibly can to get them started on the right path.”
This commitment to serving UCI’s student ANTrepreneurs is something that the Snooze team appreciates greatly. Not only do they recognize the ANTrepreneur Center as a safe space where they were allowed to explore their ideas, but they also emphasize how Jaune’s knowledge proved invaluable to the development of their business.
“It’s been very helpful, and we’ve all had a good experience,” Kenny says. “Jaune has a lot of experience, and he introduced us to a lot of important people and resources that allowed us to grow the business faster.”
Calvin seconds this sentiment as he encourages other students to check out what the ANTrepreneur Center has to offer: “My message to students at UCI who love or have an interest in entrepreneurship is: if you have time, then just visit the place and talk to Jaune—he is going to open your mind.”
As the team continues to make progress on Snooze, they are focusing on their next steps. Both Michelle and Vincent explain that they are looking for opportunities but are being mindful of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Because their business model relies on shared sleeping pods, the group recognizes that now is not the time to push for having the pods installed. Calvin also notes that the group is using this time to refine their business plan and to enter incubators that will further accelerate their company’s growth and development.
If you are a UCI student Interested in kickstarting your entrepreneurial journey or learning more about the services offered by the ANTrepreneur Center, then visit their website here or connect with Jaune directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule an appointment by emailing the UCI ANTrepreneur Center at email@example.com or by filling out this form.