Post-it seals win for Chapman

Special to The Times

The lowly Post-it note was the star of a global warming ad campaign that won its Chapman University student creators first place in a national competition held this month by EntrepreneurshipWeek USA.

Today, the students from the small school’s highly ranked entrepreneur program will compete in another challenge, the Los Angeles regional phase of an international competition held by the nonprofit group Students in Free Enterprise.

“We want to show that entrepreneurship is more about creativity, imagination and being innovative and that the size of a [school’s] program is not really that critical,” said Pradip Shukla, the team’s faculty advisor and director of the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics at Chapman.

He seems to be making his point.


Last year, senior Mike Brown won first place in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition held by Entrepreneurs’ Organization (

Last fall, the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine ranked Chapman’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program No. 15 in the U.S.

Shortly afterward, Shukla was named the 2006 Best Faculty Advisor by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a network of 500 colleges and universities around the world.

EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, a nonprofit set up to boost student business savvy, gave participants from 200 schools one week to “create maximum value from an everyday object.” The Chapman entry, called “How a Post-it Can Save the Planet,” was born of the students’ desire to create social value with the ubiquitous Post-it note.


Their winning proposal included a sample full-page newspaper ad that featured a Band-Aid stuck to the top of the page. The copy read, “A Band-Aid will not solve the global warming problem, a Post-it might ... but, only if you act!”

The Post-It note stuck to the bottom was printed with a website address and telephone number to make it easy for a reader to pull it off, tack it up somewhere convenient and then take action by calling or visiting the global warming information website.

The campaign won first place in the “social value created” category.

For more information about the school’s entrepreneur programs and the students’ competitions, visit

Workers’ compensation is top worry in survey

Dozens of groups keep formal tabs on the health and opinions of the small-business community because they know these job creators are the canaries in the economic coal mine: harbingers of problems ahead.

One of the latest looks at what’s keeping California small-business owners up at night is Union Bank of California’s annual survey of 2,000 owners of companies with yearly revenue of $15 million or less, released this month.

The January survey found the availability of skilled workers to be a growing challenge as the state’s unemployment rate sits at 4.8%, the lowest level in the 30 years the employment figures have been compiled.


Finding skilled workers climbed to No. 5 on the list of small-business owners’ top concerns this year, up from No. 6 in 2006.

Workers’ compensation insurance costs remained the top challenge to doing business in California, according to the survey, which has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. But the pressure is easing as just 43% of respondents cited it as their biggest concern this year, down from 66% two years ago.

IRS releases annual list

of ‘Dirty Dozen’ scams

The Internal Revenue Service released its annual “Dirty Dozen” top tax scams list this month. Unethical tax preparers who try to inflate refund requests, which can boost their fees, are a potential nightmare for unwary small-business owners.

The IRS’ bottom line: It doesn’t matter if you are unaware of the scam; if you sign the return, you are responsible for all of the information in it.

To prevent such fraud, the National Assn. of Enrolled Agents (, whose members are licensed tax professionals, is leading a push to require licensing for tax preparers.

To see the full scam list, visit


Workshops to focus

on trade with Asia

If you are drawn to the potential profit of international trade but are unsure how to get started, consider attending two low-cost workshops in downtown Los Angeles.

Learn about the China Import and Export Fair to be held in Guangzhou, China, in April and October, as well as the latest trade financing options, at “The Future of Trade Finance Made Easy” workshop, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. March 27 at the City Club.

The event is hosted by 1st PMF Bancorp of West Los Angeles and sponsored by a number of business groups, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Southern California Minority Business Development Council. It is the second of the financial company’s six seminars on doing business with China.

The workshop is free to members of participating groups. The cost for nonmembers is $40.

For more information, visit and click on Current Seminars/Events or contact Cynthia Liu at (310) 858-6696, Ext. 203, or e-mail

On March 31, “Importing From Asia” will be held at the L.A. Athletic Club from 10 a.m. to noon by the Service Corps of Retired Executives and UBS Financial Services Inc.

The workshop will feature tips from veteran retail import experts on how to find a reputable foreign supplier. The discussion will also cover financing options, freight, customs and warehousing challenges. China will receive special emphasis.

Tickets cost $15 through March 30, then $20 at the door. For more information, visit or call (818) 552-3206.