May 26, 2017

Entrepreneurial Success at Sac State: Alumni Share Their Stories

Sac State alum Stacey Powell (Photo courtesy of Wayne Powell)
Roshaun Davis, right, and wife and Unseen Heroes co-founder Martiza Davis (Photo courtesy of Caroline Winata of Milo and Olin Photography)

Roshaun Davis

  • Major: Journalism
  • Graduated in: 2008
  • Business: Unseen Heroes, an event marketing agency

What was your first business idea before launching Unseen Heroes?
“Before Unseen Heroes, I was in a hip-hop group named Righteous Movement. It was through music and touring that we learned that there was a need for a business model to represent artists in the industry.”

How did your time at Sac State help prepare you after graduation?
“My education at Sac State helped a lot. It allowed me to learn what I consider the basis of entrepreneurship: accountability, timeliness, commitment and education. In order to be successful in anything, you have to a mix of all of those things- lot of which, I learned through my professors and classes.”

What was the hardest thing about starting your own business?
“The hardest thing about owning your own business is knowing if you are in the right business or not. A lot of people start businesses thinking that they have a sound idea, but it doesn’t stick.”

What is the best part about owning your own business?
“The best part of owning your own business is knowing that the work you do is helping solve a solution for other people. I also like the fact that I have more freedom over my time than a traditional job.”

Cate Dyer (Photo courtesy of Kyle Monk)

Cate Dyer

  • Major: Sociology — pre-med with business emphasis
  • Graduated in: 2005
  • Business: StemExpress, supplies biomedical researchers with blood, tissue and bone marrow.

What was your first business idea?“
“My FIRST, goodness I have had so many my whole life (that) I have no idea what my first was.”

How did your time at Sac State prepare you after graduation?
“I had to work the whole time I was in college.
So (while) I was at Sac State I started a (maintenance contracting) company that I knew I wouldn’t have forever, but knew would help me pay for college. It did, and I bought my first house in East Sacramento the year I graduated.”

What hardships did you endure while starting and expanding your business?
“I started the company with $9,000 so every dollar had a purpose and had to be stretched. I think a great deal of our success is our continued focus on how we spend money and what researchers NEED from us. We focus our funding on those areas, listen to our clients and don’t disregard their needs.”

What is the best part about owning your own business?
“There are so many things, but my top three: building what you dream, watching employees grow because of what you have created and changing the future of medicine.”

Stacey Powell (Photo courtesy of Sarah Marie Hawkins)

Stacey Powell

  • Major: Accounting
  • Graduated in: 1992
  • Business: Finance Gym (financial coaching services) and Creating Answers (a  CFO firm that focuses on financial coaching for small businesses and nonprofits).

What was your first business idea?
“It was my business Creating Answers.”

How did your time at Sac State prepare you after graduation?
“My accounting coursework gave me an excellent foundation, and helped prepare for the workplace. I was also a part of Beta Alpha Psi, an honors fraternity that was helpful as a commuter student to build relationships with students, professors and industry professionals. ”

What was the hardest thing about starting your own business?
“The cash flow and learning how to become a marketer and salesperson. You cannot own your own business without these skills.”

What is the best part about owning your own business?
“Helping other people change their lives.”

Read about Sac State students who have started their own businesses or some of the craziest businesses pitches heard by Sac State professors and students. 

This story was produced by the students of the State Hornet Digital Academy: Vu Chau, Ashley Morosky, Sharon Castilo and Sebastian Cambrey.

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