The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC) has been Skyline’s off-campus resource to provide assistance to students since 2014 and nowthey’ve expanded their reach.
The BAEC opened its doors in 2014, and since then has experienced tremendous growth according to Director Pcyeta Stroud, who has worked at the center for four years. The center now and offers a diverse range of workshops for students and members to attend, and is at capacity for paying members.
“All of our offerings have increased: the number of clients we’re able to serve and the ways in which we serve them,” Stroud said. “I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of small business owners that are looking to share their knowledge with our community and with our students and they want to do that here.”
The center offers three membership options at a range of prices with a range of benefits. Virtual members are able to use the center for mail service and message delivery, as well as obtain free tickets to the Action Summit Event. Coworking members can use the coworking office space from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and utilize the center’s office equipment. Private members have access to the center anytime and have an assigned cubicle workspace within the center.
Samantha Panganiban, office assistant at the BAEC, believes that the help offered by the center is valuable for all who want to start a business.
“I feel like it really helps people leverage what they already have or if they were to start from nothing, we always have resources available to help them start and be successful,” Panganiban said.
All three of these memberships require payment, but San Mateo County Community College District students can obtain one-on-one business counseling and attend workshops for free at the BAEC. According to Stroud, it is an off-campus resource center for students and has connections to the Small Business Development Center, a statewide program which has a location on CSM’s campus. The SBDC and BAEC collaborate on workshops as well as the business coaching offered at the center.
“I would like students to know that we are here and that we’re here for students,” Stroud said. “I think the impression might be sometimes that we’re only here to serve businesses and that absolutely is not the case. We are here for students and students first.”
Some students may be utilizing the BAEC to build their own business, but the space is also open for students who would like to use the space to study and focus. According to Panganiban, the center can serve the same function as the library to students seeking a quiet work environment.
“I feel like (students) think that (the BAEC’s services) are strictly business, but for students specifically, I feel like it’s a wider range than that,” Panganiban said. “It’s a really good study space because it’s usually really quiet here.”
Another opportunity for students provided by the BAEC is the internship job-shadow program where students have the opportunity to gain experience in their field.
“It’s hard to get that experience anywhere else,” Stroud said. “We think (internships are) a nice, safe environment for students to learn and explore … it’s this really nurturing and teaching environment that they get to participate in while they’re learning.”
The internship program has a mentorship component where students have the chance to shadow professionals. Stroud wants students to build upon skills they already have, as well as develop new ones. Students are placed in roles based on their interests and though unpaid, students can get co-op credit for participating in the program.
“It’s a lot of skill development and enhancement that happens in addition to helping [interns] build their network,” Stroud said.
The BAEC strives to reach out to a wider audience of students, so that they’re prepared to come in and utilize the assets that the center provides.
“I want students to come down here,” Stroud said. “Be a part of this community, this ecosystem, see what we’re about and see what they can get from it.”