San José State University launched its first business incubator. SpartUp, on Thursday, Sept. 22, in front of an estimated 200 students and prospective partners at SJSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
The interdisciplinary incubator program supports SJSU students, alumni, faculty and staff, and provides all the resources new ventures needed in addition to the assets of a top public university. SpartUp will encompass the entire startup journey – from idea, through prototype, to planning and fundraising.
Launch Director Mash (Michael) Ashley kicked off the event with an audience of aspiring SJSU entrepreneurs and veterans, introducing Vice President for Research and Innovation Mohamed Abousalem and Director of Innovation Abby Queale.
“SpartUp will serve as a resource hub for Spartan innovators along all stages of the startup journey,” explained Ashley. “It’ll effectively reach underserved populations and first-gen entrepreneurs in ways that other incubators have not. It will be a game changer for many new entrepreneurs across the SJSU community.”
The launch event included dynamic pitches shared by four students and alumni Spartanauers — Inaugural members of SpartUp incubator — role-playing the pitches they used to kick off their own successful business ventures.
Hubert John Abiera Brinkfolio, ’12 Mechanical Engineering, started Brinkfolio in 2022.
“SpartUp is an important step in SJSU’s evolution into becoming one of the premier innovation centers,” explains Abiera. “SJSU will take the next step from delivering high impact innovative talent to delivering high impact innovative companies.”
Symbolizing creation and the “flight” of entrepreneurial ventures, 200 hands tossed handmade paper airplanes into the air, which sailed above the smiling crowd gathered for SpartUp’s launch.
“Excitement was tangible about the opportunities and possibilities the incubator will provide to an already dynamic and innovative Spartan community through strong connections with Silicon Valley,” said Abousalem. “With our new SpartUp programs, San José State is supporting our students, alumni, faculty, and staff innovators in pursuing entrepreneurial dreams – we can’t wait to celebrate their successes along the way.”
Abousalem added that SpartUp is the sum of many parts. It will serve as a collaborative ecosystem joining SJSU’s Division of Research and Innovation, university programs, and community organizations. — providing a web of support for the Spartan. The SpartUp program will also encompass technology transfer and a partnership with the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to ensure an expanded runway for SJSU entrepreneurial support
SpartUp positions SJSU as a leader in full-spectrum, applied research and real-world solutions, filling out SJSU’s holistic approach to advancing faculty and student research into the public sphere where patented advancements have the potential to impact the world. SJSU aims to take the lead among public universities as a leader in public impact, community-led research, and experiential learning.
“SJSU is unique in our support of research-to-real-world applications,” explained Queale. “SpartUp will bring applied research into the public sphere and provide even more transformative opportunities for our diverse community of Spartaneurs.”
Visit the Office of Innovation website to learn more about the SpartUp Incubator.