Student Entrepreneur Catches Wave of Success

The feeling of launching a new business is much like riding a wave, full of adrenaline and the hope that you will make it through to the end — instead of wiping out, Thomas Lundgard says.

“The passion and hard work I’ve put into this to get it launched and getting honored with the entrepreneurship award has been amazing,” said the young menswear entrepreneur.

Lundgard won first place and $5,500 in May in the seventh annual New Venture Challenge sponsored by the SBCC Scheinfeld Center, a business plan competition for the county’s college and high school students to promote youth entrepreneurship.

His business of creating surf-inspired underwear is called Meraki Surf but will soon change its name to Tahiti Wear to be more inclusive of different varieties of outdoor apparel.

Lundgard was one of 10 college competitors in the challenge, all of whom are students in the Scheinfeld Center program that features courses on launching enterprises, formulating business plans, production, manufacturing, design and prototyping.

“My mom signed me up for surf camp some years ago and I thought that I wouldn’t like it, but I fell in love with the sport, and I couldn’t have imagined where I am today without surfing,” Lundgard said.

Originally from Half Moon Bay near San Francisco, he has ridden waves at the infamous Maverick’s, but the sunshine called to him and he chose to attend college in Santa Barbara.

“I love going to Rincon and catching waves. Its just so foggy where I’m from,” he laughed.

On a family trip to Kauai he couldn’t surf because of a concussion and he spend a lot of time on the beach looking at the beautiful scenery.

“I was thinking, ‘Why are these designs only on board shorts?’ I thought it would be cool to actually have them on underwear, so I signed up for the entrepreneurship course at SBCC and took off from there,” Lundgard said.

Names for the late James Scheinfeld, and SBCC donor and SBCC Foundation board member, the center was founded in 2007 and the enterprise launch program started up three years later, originally as a campus club.

The enterprise program is open to all SBCC students, who are offered business counseling and coaching from the Small Business Development Center.

Second place in the challenge was Silvia Franco, who pitched Casa de Comer and its Smokin’ Good Salsa, a grilling-flavored homemade salsa she said she planned to market at festivals, fundraisers, tailgate parties and to food reviewers.

The third-place honor went to Piper Lovegreen, creat0r of Piper Swimwear, a line of athletic women’s swimwear.

Of the 10 high school finalists, Elizabeth Kravchuck of San Marcos won first and $1,000 for her TuneIn app, through which people in an emergency can call translators of many different languages if emergency personnel can’t speak with a patient.

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