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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Ryan Wallace Ryan Wallace

SDSU Student Gets Real About Entrepreneurship

SDSU student entrepreneur Ryan Wallace is driven to help people overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation through his work with the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.
By Fowler College of Business News Team

“Given the credibility and reputation of this institution, I saw an opportunity to be a part of a revered organization and better improve my ability in business.”

Ever felt lonely even while in a crowd?

Ryan Wallace has.

The San Diego State University student entrepreneur knows that many people, particularly during these difficult times, have felt a similar sense of isolation. This inspired Wallace and his business partner, Lovans Florial, to build a company to help individuals connect to the community through artist management/business services, events, festivals and fashion. 

The company, Lonely Floater, was founded by Wallace and Florial in fall 2016. The name was inspired by the harsh reality when people are individually facing challenges that make them feel alone even when they are surrounded by people said Wallace, a senior management information systems (MIS) student at SDSU. 

“It’s evident that there are a significant number of people struggling to live and survive, at least with their sanity and stability intact,” said Wallace. “In our perception, these people feel like they are floating alone and, hence, the term ‘lonely floaters.’ My co-founder and I were once in such a position, but that did not hinder us from pursuing our dreams and constantly working on improving ourselves.”

The Brooklyn-born Wallace came to San Diego via the U.S. Navy, where he served for over nine years before he was honorably discharged in 2021. He chose to attend SDSU to build his “knowledge and skill in business.” 

“Given the credibility and reputation of this institution, I saw an opportunity to be a part of a revered organization and better improve my ability in business,” he said. “Of particular importance was the need to be a beneficiary of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.”

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center was developed to serve students, entrepreneurs and business leaders through a blend of its entrepreneurial curriculum, workshops, internships, resources and events.

Wallace said he learned about the center “the hard way” when he tried to register Lonely Floater’s trademark through an unscrupulous fiduciary company. He noted that the fiduciary kept their money, but did little to resolve the trademark issue. 

“Fortunately, I met an SDSU student who identified himself as a Lavin Entrepreneur and he was able to solve the issue that had been plaguing us for two years in a matter of two months,” said Wallace. “I realized that if some ‘college kid’ could do more for me than a paid fiduciary, I knew I needed to be a Lavin Entrepreneur too. I signed my acceptance letter into the Lavin Entrepreneur program before I enrolled at SDSU and to this day, I’m proud of that.”

When Wallace graduates from SDSU in May, he said he plans to “further grow and develop Lonely Floater to become a household name in fashion and the management of events and artists. 

To do this, Wallace plans to collaborate with more professionals, seek more investors, grow and improve the company’s online presence, and take on programs and courses that will hone his skills and supplement my knowledge. He also said the company plans to embark on a series of art and music festivals in the near future.

To other SDSU students who are considering the world of entrepreneurship, Wallace offers these insights: “Entrepreneurism is not as easy or glossy as it may seem or as people may want you to believe, because it’s a daunting process. But despite the constant and potentially shifting challenges, you’d best believe that there will always be a way out — you just need to look hard enough and have all hands-on deck. But it’s still worth the trials and the struggle because the rewards are fulfilling. You learn through the process and more opportunities are likely to open up over time.”