Carlsen Center Weekly Newsletter – June 14th
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Carlsen Center Weekly Newsletter

Dear Carlsen Center Community Member,

As we acknowledge the work that has to be done in diversity and inclusion, we should celebrate the milestones when they occur. A record number of 41 women are leaders of Fortune 500 companies. This includes two Black women in business who were recently named CEOs – a first. The latest Fortune 500 List features Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance and Thasunda Brown Duckett, the CEO of TIAA. 

It is important to acknowledge and share these achievements so that young people coming up can learn about their role models and be inspired to apply themselves, complete their education and be aspirational.

The Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Sacramento State seeks to educate, support, and build the next generation of impact driven entrepreneurs. We offer programming, mentoring and connections that take entrepreneurs through the phases of Discover, Build and Launch. Through collaboration with ecosystem partners we foster entrepreneurial activities that broaden and deepen the networks and the reach of our entrepreneurial community.


The Carlsen Center Team

FourthWave 2021 Cohort Application Live!

Apply now for the FourthWave 2021 Cohort! 

FourthWave is open to technology companies with at least one female or female-identified founder. Applications for the 2021 cohort will remain open until July 11, 2021. If you have any questions about whether you and your company could benefit from the program, please connect with us

We believe that building a successful company requires curiosity and commitment when approaching leadership. In turn, FourthWave’s process dedicates an equal effort to leadership awareness and coaching, to honing best business practices and to preparedness for scaling.

Business Residency
Sixty percent of selected companies will have their main headquarters located (or be willing to locate) in the greater Sacramento region. Up to forty percent of selected companies may come from other locales.

Program Location
Our 2021 program will begin virtually and incorporate face-to-face interactions as possible. Our virtual work will utilize today’s best practices for creating an interactive, supportive and, educational environment in a virtual setting.

Company Readiness
You should have some traction, e.g a prototype, MVP,  strategic partners, investors, revenue, etc. Please don’t rule yourself out—connect with us.

As a non-profit organization, FourthWave is committed to providing access to leadership development, insightful mentors and access to funding. FourthWave does not take an equity stake in participating companies nor do we currently invest in our cohort companies.

Apply Now!

Value Proposition Canvas Workshop:  Designing a Solution Your Customers Want

Join us for an hour workshop on the Value Proposition Canvas in an effort to design a solution your customer wants!

Are you looking for a way to better design a solution for your customers? Join us for our 1-hour workshop, Value Proposition Canvas Workshop: Designing a Solution Your Customer Wants, where we will take you through the Value Proposition Canvas tool created by Strategyzer. The Value Proposition Canvas is the one of the most important business tools ever created to help teams visualize their value proposition and ensure it maps to the customer’s needs.

  • It is a layer beneath the Business Model Canvas
  • It identifies high value jobs
  • It includes functional, emotional, and social jobs
  • It focuses on one value proposition at a time
  • It helps teams evaluate “problem-solution fit”

Your customers have needs and pains, also known as jobs-to-be-done. The Value Proposition Canvas can help:

  • Address more Jobs-to-be-done
  • Switch to more important jobs
  • Go beyond functional jobs
  • Get a job done incrementally better
  • Identify new customers that have the same jobs-to-be-done

In this workshop led by one of our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, Dr. Brian Gladden, you will learn how to utilize the Value Proposition Canvas to grow your business and reduce risk. Join us on Tuesday June 22nd from 12-1pm PST!

Register Here

Design Strategy and Customer Journey

Wednesday, June 23rd at 12 – 1:30pm
The Carlsen Center is partnering with the General Assembly and Modernist Studio to present Design Strategy and the Customer Journey.

When thinking about product and service innovations within a customer driven experience or relationship, what is the process design researchers go through to identify key decision making moments, pain points, and innovation framework from which to ideate on possible solutions?

During this webinar, customer experience design research and innovation expert Matt Franks will walk you through the steps he goes through as a CX designer and design strategist, sharing real-life examples from case studies, and talking about best practices.

Matt will host a Q&A at the end of the session to dig deeper on key elements the audience wants to workshop.

About Our Partners

General Assembly

General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, specializing in today’s most in-demand skills. The leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, we foster a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love.

Modernist Studio

Modernist Studio is a strategy, experience design and innovation consultancy. Our team of researchers, strategists and designers partner with clients to ideate, design and build innovative products and services, and effective teams. Clients like Bank of America, Dell, Microsoft, Booz Allen, and LegalZoom trust Modernist to generate insights that genuinely transform their business. We see potential everywhere. The future is malleable—so let’s imagine it, provoke it, and create it.

Register for FREE Here

Global Diversity and Investment Summit

The Inclusivity Project and Sheri Mac Enterprises have partnered up to host the first Global Diversity and Investment Summit on Friday, June 18th from 10AM to Noon PT.

The event is free, virtual and features a great lineup of a lineup of acclaimed investors and BIPOC entrepreneur supporters sharing their insights and strategies for entrepreneurs of color on how to start and scale their new ventures. Immediately following the speaking program, they will have a live Pitch Competition starring Black founders who will showcase their company to the event’s investor panel. 
Register Here

Startup Happy Hour with FourthWave and Funded Female Founders

Join us Tuesday, June 22nd, 5 – 7pm, for Startup Happy Hour powered by StartupSac and the Carlsen Center for a panel discussion with FourthWave on seed funding.

For Startup Happy Hour this month StartupSac and the Carlsen Center are teaming up with FourthWave, an accelerator for high potential, women-led technology businesses. FourthWave will open applications for its next cohort in June.

This event will feature a panel of female founders and will be moderated by Cheryl Beninga, cofounder of FourthWave. The focus of the discussion will be on raising pre-seed and seed funding. Seed funding relies heavily on relationship building and appealing to the goals of angel investors. Join us for an engaging discussion that will educate and enlighten all.


About the Startups

  • Sparck is a personalized employee recognition and engagement platform.
  • Pheronym is an Ag-biotech company that develops green solutions for agricultural pest control
  • Opeeka enables success-focused care for mental health, behavioral health & social services.
Register Here

StartupGrind Event – Grow Your Startup from Product to Revenue:  Optimizing Marketing & Metrics

Tuesday, June 15th
5:00pm Startup Pitches
5:30 – 6:30pm, Main Presentation

Father and son team, Jyoti and Sabya Das, will discuss growth-hacking for early-stage startups to accelerate customer acquisition, revenue generation, and the path to investment, all without the real budget to drive traditional growth via sales and marketing.

The event will include a presentation followed by Q&A to cover the following topics:

  • How to optimize marketing and growth without a real budget
  • How to set up a marketing funnel, the key digital marketing channels, and collecting actionable metrics to drive data-driven customer acquisition
  • What metrics do angels and VCs want to see for early-stage companies when you don’t have revenue and customers, and how can growth hacking help expedite that process?
  • Why establishing proven marketing channels and strategies before pitching investors drastically increases your chances of raising capital?
Register Here

1 Million Cups Sacramento: June 16th!

1 Million Cups is a weekly meetup where entrepreneurs gather to share their ideas, make new friends and drink lots of coffee! And the Shelter-in-Place mandate hasn’t changed that! Sacramento’s 1MC Chapter meets up every Wednesday morning from 8:45 -10:00 am on Zoom. All that’s changed is you need to provide your own coffee! Tune in here.


8:45-9:00: Networking (optional)

9:00-10:00: Startup Presentations with Audience Feedback — we start on time!

10:00-10:30: Stick around after the program ends for some free-form networking(optional)

Startup Founders! Have you presented at 1 Million Cups yet? Presentations are six minutes long followed by 15 minutes of Q&A and feedback from the audience.  All presentations are currently via a Zoom meeting. Submit your application and we’ll get you scheduled!
Register Here

InnoGrove Coworking:  How to Tell Your Startup’s Story In Your Pitch Deck

Wednesday, June 16th at 4 – 5:30pm
Does your pitch deck tell investors a compelling story? Learn how to use storytelling in your investor pitch deck to secure funding.

Sure you’ve got a pitch deck. And of course it includes the top ten slides Guy Kawasaki recommends in the Art of the Pitch. But does your pitch deck tell a compelling story? One that may convince investors to fund you?

In this workshop, Monique Brown, co-founder of the Growth Factory, will reveal the important and underlying messages of a standard startup funding pitch deck. She’ll examine the typical elements through the specific lens of how each slide contributes to your startup’s story and overall case for funding. If you’re ready to raise investment capital, you won’t want to miss this session!.

What We’ll Cover:

  • Why storytelling makes a difference
  • Where storytelling shows up in your pitch deck
  • How to appeal to investors’ emotions and reasoning abilities
Presenter:  Monique Brown
Monique Brown is co-founder and Managing Director at the Growth Factory, a nonprofit pre-seed accelerator on a mission to find, fund and unleash the potential 100 world class startups from the Greater Sacramento region over the next 4-5 years. She is responsible for overseeing operations, deal flow sourcing and screening, program design and execution, partner and mentor engagement, and ecosystem collaborations.
Register Here

StartupSac Office Hours: User Experience (UX) Best Practices

Thursday, June 17th, 11:30am – 1:00pm
Learn UX best practices and practical steps you as a founder can take to encourage customer-centered growth for your early stage startup.

We are living in an experience economy. It’s no longer enough to simply build a product that solves a problem – the product must also be easy to use, easy to learn, and (dare we say) easy to love in order to gain traction in the current age of digital products.

In this workshop, Trailmerge founder, Mark Tegtmeier, will elaborate on user experience (UX) best practices and practical steps you as a founder can take to encourage customer-centered growth of your early stage startup. Join us for this enlightening event and come ready with your questions!

This workshop is held in partnership with Trailmerge.

Register Here

Hacker Lab Pathways Scholarship – Applications Open!

Hacker Lab is seeking applicants for its ongoing Pathways Scholarship program.  Accepted participants receive 8 months of Hacker Lab access, class credits, and access to Entrepreneurship support and other special program tracks.
  • 8 months of Hacker Lab membership
  • $230 in class credits for any of our classes
  • Access to our Entrepreneurship & IoT focused courses at no cost
For more information, requirements and to apply —
Apply Here

CleanStart Perspectives: SMUD’s Shine Awards with Betty Low

Join us Thursday, June 17th at  9 – 9:30am, as we chat with Betty Low, the program manager for SMUD’s Shine Awards. Find out how nonprofits can apply to win a 2021 cash award.

SMUD is inviting nonprofit organizations to apply for a Shine award for local projects that will impact the community through inclusive collaborations and equitable strategies. They’re seeking proposals that support social well-being, healthy environments, prosperous economies, mobility and clean energy solutions in SMUD’s service area. They are accepting applications now through July 30, 2021.

Join us as we chat with Betty Low, the Shine project manager at SMUD, about the Shine Awards. We’ll cover who is eligible, how to apply and more!

CleanStart Perspectives are short online conversations to connect the greater Sacramento clean tech entrepreneurship community and share insights, experiences, and outlooks. Join us as we welcome our featured guests to share their perspective on what entrepreneurs and innovators can do to thrive and grow.

Register and we’ll send you the Zoom login information prior to the meeting time.

CleanStart Perspectives are recorded through Zoom.

Register Here

Mentor Sacramento – Access FREE Mentoring!

The Carlsen Center is proud to serve as a program catalyst for the Mentor Sacramento platform, powered by the California Bank of Commerce. We highly recommend checking out the Mentor Sacramento website whether you are an entrepreneur, mentor, or both. Mentor Sacramento is an innovative and inclusive online business mentoring platform, to bring together entrepreneurs and mentors from the Sacramento region to support entrepreneurship and small business success.

The platform involves community organizations that serve the Sacramento small business ecosystem, like us at the Carlsen Center. Through this free, easy-to-use online platform, we are building socially distanced bridges between Sacramento’s business community and experienced volunteer mentors who can steer our bright entrepreneurs to a bright future. Join a growing community that has already enabled thousands of mentor-mentee matches and continues to make an impact through the power of mentoring to help small businesses thrive.

Access Mentors Here
Become a Mentor Here

SBA Events

Cash Flow Basics

Wednesday, June 16th, 1 – 2:30pm
Cash flow statements are useful tools for forecasting and considering different business scenarios. In this workshop, participants learn how to leverage spreadsheet software programs to create cash flow statements they can use to assess their profitability and liquidity.

Participants learn how to create links between the cash flow statement spreadsheet and other spreadsheets containing financial data to populate the statement automatically. You will leave this class with an understanding of the steps you would need to undertake in order to manage your own cash flow statements in a professional and effective way.

Technologies covered: Microsoft Excel
Register Here

SBA Small Business Programs:  Financing, Contracting, and Technical

Wednesday, June 17th, 1 – 2pm
Interested in learning about federal programs for small businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)?

Join the SBA for a broad overview of SBA programs and services, including COVID-19 assistance, loan programs, federal contracting programs, small business management trainings, and one-on-one business counseling at no cost.  Learn about available resources and how to access them.

About the Speaker: Janelle Green, Lead Economic Development Specialist from SBA’s Sacramento District Office, will deliver the presentation.

Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small businesses and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses. Space is limited so be sure to register ASAP! Questions? Please contact the Marketing and Communications Manager Alma Galvan, at

Register Here

Hiring and Firing – First Things First

Thursday, June 22nd, 10 – 11:30am
COVID has caused nearly every business to consider staffing changes, one way or the other. Whether you’re ready to hire (or re-hire) employees, or you think you’re ready to terminate someone’s employment and aren’t sure what’s legally required, you need to make sure you are doing it right.

Join us for this overview of things you need to consider as you make decisions and position your business to stay resilient. Employers have a number of must-do tasks to consider before taking on these important decisions. This introductory session will present 13 required tasks for each plus today’s best practices for California employers.

When conducted outside of legal mandates, hiring and firing are two of the riskiest transactions you can conduct. Get the information, then make informed decisions.

First things first! Instructor: Linda Siniard, SPHR, SHRM-SPC As a Human Resources Consultant and former corporate HR leader, Linda is the go-to person for how to get started with employment transactions, how to avoid the pitfalls, and how to assess and execute your tactical and strategic HR goals. She has worked with employers in 37 U.S. states and 22 countries. Her motto is “process equals profits”.
Register Here

CleanTech Meetup: Water

Join CleanStart on June 24 at 5:30 – 7:00pm for our monthly meetup. This month’s focus is water – reducing waste, improving quality, and using it wisely.

At this month’s meetup, we will explore sustainability and water – a very appropriate topic amidst a drought! We’ll explore reducing waste, improving quality, and using this precious resource wisely.

CleanTech Meetups are technology-focused monthly gatherings that feature presentations about products and technologies from companies that are already in operation as well as early-stage startups. Because of the pandemic, we will be meeting online via Zoom

Register Here

CA Female Founders: Dare & Take The Leap into Entrepreneurship

Tired of the 9-5 and wanting to be your own boss? Passionate about starting your own thing, but don’t know when or where to even begin?

On Tuesday, June 29 at 4 – 5:30pm,  StartupSac is partnering with General Assembly, Fresh Brewed Tech, We Tha Plug,  Startup Grind San Diego, Sacramento Works, and Women Who Code Sacramento for California Female Founders: Dare & Take The Leap Into Entrepreneurship, a discussion on starting a business as a female founder, mental health, struggles and pressures of the industry, career journeys, standing out in a crowd, and so much more!

Each speaker will be sharing their importance and understanding of mental health, career struggles, and what it takes to start a startup.

Speakers include:

  • Christiana Russell, Partner & Chief Operating Officer, We Tha Plug
  • Kim Padilla Walpole, Co-Founder & CEO,
  • Mariah Lichtenstern, Founding Partner | Startup Advisor & Investor, DiverseCity Ventures
  • Janine Yancey, Founder & CEO, Emtrain
  • Cheryl Beninga, Co-Founder @ | Managing Director @ Beninga Advisors, Member Of The Board Of Advisors @ Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Register Here

Sac State Makerspace: Job Opportunity!

The Sacramento State University Library is seeking a creative, service-oriented individual to help us build and later maintain our new makerspace. They are in the process of transforming a space in the library into a state-of-the-art experiential learning facility, which will be used by constituents across the campus to support innovative curricula and instruction. This position will be responsible for moderating use of the space, ordering and maintaining equipment, and supporting project needs of our users. The position will contribute substantially to planning our makerspace program and to developing the space, in conjunction with other campus units, into a vital learning resource. The ideal candidate will be a crafting and tech enthusiast who takes a hands-on approach to creation, exploration, and teaching others.

Apply Here

Join the StartupSac Community Group: Facebook

A place for Startup founders and those who support the growth of Sacramento entrepreneurial ecosystem to hang out! Please do not use this group to overtly promote your business.
Join the Community!

Thought for the Week

Two Black Women CEOs Broke A Record By Making The Fortune 500 List At The Same Time

Thasunda Brown Duckett and Roz Brewer run high-ranking businesses as CEOs who made history as Black women in business.  Images – Facebook
ABC News reported that history was made in more than one way when two African American female CEOs made this year’s Fortune 500 list for the first time. Thasunda Brown Duckett of TIAA and Rosalind Brewer of Walgreens Boots Alliance broke barriers with their historical presence in the business world.

According to Fortune, Walmart ranked No. 1 on the list. However, the 500 corporations on this year’s list generated $13.8 trillion in revenues, or some two-thirds of the U.S. economy. The annual roundup ranks America’s largest companies.

“It does not escape me that I am standing on the shoulders of giants, including the cooks and janitors and others who look like me and were first to enter corporate America,” Brown Duckett said to ABC News. “They created the space for me to have this opportunity. My hope is that corporate America realizes that talent is created equally but opportunity is not, and we all acknowledge that there’s still more work to be done.”

Women only make up 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs. Women of color comprise a mere 1.2%.,” CBS News reported. Fortune said that Brewer’s Walgreen Boots Alliance ranked No. 16, while Brown Duckett’s TIAA  came in at No. 79.

“Before Duckett and Brewer began their new jobs, only one Black woman—former Xerox chief Ursula Burns—had ever run a Fortune 500 business on a permanent basis,” Fortune also said. “Burns stepped down from that role in 2017, and, with the exception of Mary Winston, who served as Bed Bath & Beyond’s interim chief for several months in 2019, Black female CEOs have been missing from the Fortune 500 ever since.”

Thus, Brown Duckett and Brewer’s simultaneous accomplishment is extremely noteworthy and rare.

NPR added that addressing the long-standing lack of diversity continues to be a challenge for many top American companies, although it is an issue they are attempting to address. Keep in mind, only race is a factor in this instance.

“According to Equilar, a clearinghouse for corporate leadership data, 29.6% of companies on the S&P 500 do not have at least one Black board member. Today, there are five Black CEOs in the Fortune 500. When Ken Frazier retires from Merck next month, there will be four,” NPR said.

— Andrea Blackstone, Black Enterprise

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Categories: Entrepreneurship

About the Author

Maurice Wilson

Maurice Wilson

Results-driven visionary with 20 years experience driving dramatic results in the non-profit community-based organization social services sector. Consistently overcomes complex business challenges and makes high-stakes decisions within fast-paced, high-pressure environments using experience-backed judgment, innovation, strong work ethic, humor, and irreproachable integrity. Specialties: Communication, organizational development, planning, business development, collaboration, social networks, marketing, fundraising, fiscal management and implementation.

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