Author Archives: C. DAY

Babson College Establishes The Babson ACADEMY

Babson College, the pioneer and global leader in entrepreneurship education, today announced the launch of the Babson Academy

Created to advance global entrepreneurial learning at universities around the world, the academy is rooted in Babson’s mission for its second century—to take entrepreneurial education shaped by its acclaimed and dedicated faculty to more people and places worldwide.

The Babson Academy provides faculty, administrators, and students of other educational institutions access to Babson’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and hopes to inspire change in the way universities and colleges think about, teach, and learn entrepreneurship.

The Babson Academy will launch with a new, inaugural program this November—Babson Fellows for Entrepreneurship Educators.

This program brings 20 acclaimed faculty from universities around the world into a weeklong, immersive Babson residency. Here, they are paired with a Babson faculty mentor and will strengthen their approach to teaching by experiencing classroom time, as well as entrepreneurial extracurricular activities on and off Babson’s campus. Once they return to their home campus, the Fellows launch an individual project to enhance their university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Babson’s existing educator and student programs, including the Global Symposia for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE), Babson Build, and the Babson Collaborative, have moved from Babson Executive Education to the Babson Academy to be expanded upon and enhanced.

Also forthcoming is the Babson Academy’s first SEE program at Babson Dubai, the College’s newest location. In February 2019, Global Symposia for Entrepreneurship Educators—Dubai will give local participants the skills needed to pass on an entrepreneurial mindset to their students to shape the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

Longstanding Babson community members Amir Reza and Heidi Neck (Neck below) are leading this effort.

As dean of the Babson Academy, Reza will apply his deep-seated experience in international education to his role in supporting global university participants. As academic director, renowned entrepreneurship educator Neck will oversee the development and delivery of Babson programming worldwide. “Academic institutions, as changemakers, recognize the power of entrepreneurship education,” said Neck. “But entrepreneurship isn’t just another discipline. It’s a way of thinking and acting that transcends traditional perspectives on teaching and learning. At Babson, we don’t teach entrepreneurship. We teach students to entrepreneur. And it’s our north star to bring our version of entrepreneurship education to the world.”

Babson College has long been a connector and convener of entrepreneurially minded people. Through its external, global entrepreneurship programs, Babson has impacted more than 8,700 educators and students from 1,300+ educational institutions in more than 80 countries.

The Babson Academy, which offers an extensive portfolio of programming to help universities build and grow their own entrepreneurship programs, will extend the College’s reach.

“Through the Babson Academy, participating institutions benefit from all Babson has to offer—from mentorship to unique teaching methodologies, events, networking, and more. Through a hands-on approach, they learn to take immediate action, and accelerate the development of current and future entrepreneurial generations,” Reza said.

From Babson Thought & Action Online by  |


TiE Hosts Panel on Startups at Atlanta Tech

The Atlanta Startup Scene, Economy & Future.

TiE Atlanta hosted a high-profile panel at their monthly Business for Breakfast 10/19/2018  titled Atlanta’s Economy, Startup Scene, and the Amazon Effect at Tech Atlanta, Alpharetta GA,   To set the tone for the panel Metro Atlanta’s Chamber of  Commerce economist Tom Cunningham provided some outlook for the greater Atlanta economy.

TiE  is a non-profit, global entrepreneurship organization founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley to support startups through networking and the raising of capital for entrepreneurs.  As Atlanta has evolved in FinTech, as a University center, and serves as a major corporate headquarters (Delta, Coca-Cola, Home Depot), its economy is now larger than that of Ireland.  While the U. S. as a whole grows labor at ½ of 1%, Atlanta’s rate runs 2-3% per year. Cunningham emphasized its diversity, comparable lower cost of living, and vibrant collaboration as success factors.

Besides Tech Atlanta in Alpharetta, Atlanta sports Tech Village, ATDC, Switchyards, and a publication called the Hyprpotamus which covers the tech scene. Additionally, Atlanta remains a finalist in the competition to become the second headquarters city to Amazon.  Cunningham estimates if awarded it could bring 50,000 jobs to Atlanta over several years.

The panel consisted of David Lightburn from Atlanta Tech, Karen Ried from Client Command (a lead generation firm), and John Yates, manager of the tech practice at Morris, Manning, and Martin law.  As Lightburn says everything happens at a faster pace when entrepreneurs are in one place.   He should know because Atlanta Tech has produced 330 startups in six years.

Yates has practiced tech law for 37 years, has experience in Silicon Valley, and just hired an Entrepreneur-In-Residence engineer to assist clients.  His mission is to “give entrepreneurs their best chance for success”.  Karen pointed out their lead generation has recently added AI to their process, and all agreed venture capitalists are totally focused on ROI (return on investment) looking always for a growth path.

The key to  a strong Atlanta ecosystem is an innovation engine, and Yates made the point the process will always depend on personal relationships regardless of the reach of automation.


Enterprise is dead, long live Agile.

In corporations, the term “enterprise” often instills a sense of importance, complexity, cost and scale. Likewise high-budget, high-profile projects often result in tech departments responding with enterprise-ready software solutions and infrastructure.

What this means is extensive planning, evaluation, procurement, and timeframes often of several years to “get it right”. The cost of building an enterprise-level solution in this manner is usually in the millions. The risk from failure is extreme.

Of course, enterprise-level solutions shouldn’t mean high-cost, high-risk and long timeframes. Often this is the result of a traditional mindset and organisational structure. It’s sometimes also an inability or unwillingness for businesses to transform and embrace change.

This article considers what is needed for traditional corporations to transform from that mindset and become agile.

What is Enterprise?

In the context of this article, enterprise means large-scale complex solutions delivered at scale. It often results in enterprise-ready software solutions, which consists of specialised applications that solve a particular business-need across an organisation.

As the term “enterprise” infers scale, cost and complexity it often drives a traditional approach to roll-out and planning for these reasons. It leads to on-premise solutions or management of third-party applications.

A traditional enterprise project might consist of the following:

  • Dedicated crack team
  • Feasibility studies
  • Risk assessment and mitigation strategies
  • Identify all functional and non-functional requirements upfront
  • Documentation and project planning
  • Integration strategy with other systems and teams
  • Migration strategy
  • Estimations of costs
  • Evaluation and procurement process
  • Implementation
  • Operational guides and checkpoints
  • Disaster recovery planning
  • Deployment and release planning
  • Big-bang release
  • An investigation into what went wrong

Why Enterprise?

Ironically traditional enterprise approaches are aimed at reducing risk, ensuring longevity, maintainability and to provide maximum value across the business.

Decades ago this made sense. Deploying software and maintaining servers was a complex process that required specialised teams and specialised applications. It required dedicated teams to guarantee uptime, availability and to provide 24/7 support. Deploying, monitoring, securing and managing these enterprise systems was a fulltime and complex challenge and required high lead times to realise new features. Corporations grew around these dependencies and their organisational structure formed to support it.

With the advancement of technology and modern practices, many of these challenges no longer exist and far more superior, scalable and performant solutions can simply be bought with ease through relatively low-cost subscription-based Cloud providers. This allows startups and companies embracing Lean principles the ability to quickly gain a competitive advantage. Although they face the same challenges in terms of product development, they are able to deliver faster, cheaper and at greater scale.

Challenger banks such as Monzo are a good example of this in practice, now competing with the giants at scale. This is no doubt an enterprise-level product offering, but the product is built on Agile principles and leverages modern architecture. It has the ability to roll-out features fast and adapt to the needs of its customers at pace.

In reality, corporations taking a traditional approach to enterprise are less able to compete in the market. Their aversion to risk and change increases actual risk and cost. Many projects fail and legacy systems get built on top of or integrated with the systems they are meant to replace.

This stems largely from the traditional organisational structures which result in an IT-first approach and detachment from the business. Once a business need is identified, IT build vast enterprise solutions before any value can be realised to the business. In that time the market or business needs may have changed, or the assumptions about what the customer needs could be wrong.

In traditional corporations, projects are sliced horizontally into siloed teams. The IT/operations team provide the enterprise software solutions to service the business. The result is large communication overheads and hand-off points throughout a project lifecycle.

Siloed teams drive a need for monolithic systems that support many requirements across the organisation. This creates complexity for deployments, upgrades and project management. It also prohibits change due to the large level of investment required in rolling out these systems.

Traditional enterprise

What is Agile?

Agile is a methodology formed on a simple manifesto.

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

It’s based on twelve principles which put the needs of the end user above all else, and this is an important and powerful strategy. It’s also about releasing often and driving architecture decisions from within self-organising teams, whilst collaborating closely with the business.

Agile methodologies are really frameworks and rituals to facilitate collaboration and communication within a team as well as self-improvement and learning. It aids rapid experimentation and iterative development.

Lean principles coupled with Test & Learn complement the Agile way of working and further drive the ability to validate user value and assumptions throughout the project at low cost. This focuses teams on doing the least work necessary to reach the business objective in satisfying the customer. This is the opposite to traditional enterprise which instead works to plan for and predict future requirements of the business.

Organising for Agile

In order for a company to transform and embrace Agile, it requires reorganisation away from siloed teams. To do this successfully the horizontal slices across an organisation need to be broken down and reorganised into small vertically sliced Product Teams.

Agile Product Teams

An Agile Product Team should be:

  • Self-organising
  • Delivering user value and validating that user value
  • Composed of all skills needed to realise the product
  • Autonomous in all decision making
  • Responsible for product datasets and product infrastructure
  • Able to deploy independently, rapidly and frequently
  • Loosely coupled with other Product Teams through product services

For a traditional company transforming to Agile principles, these are often hard to achieve due to the high-coupling of legacy systems across products. Over time these cross-dependencies should be removed and new systems migrated to the control of the single team that owns them.

Other challenges are of course with keeping the lights on throughout the transition, knowledge transfer and resistance to change.

Choosing the right dissection of Product Teams is important to ensure the right level of granularity of the products, and to minimise cross-dependencies and constraints. These teams should be focussed around specific business capabilities.

Architecting for Agile

What we really mean here is architect for Continuous Delivery in order to become more agile. This supports the Product Team in achieving its business goals. To deliver continuously is one of the 12 principles of Agile. Continuous Delivery is its own set of practices and principles to achieving this with minimal risk, cost and overhead.

A Product Team with full autonomy are free to adapt and improve the architecture of its products over time to meet its business objectives, and without the constraint and complexity of a siloed operations team. This in itself removes the need for enterprise software that touches multiple parts of the business. It allows each team to re-architect and simplify the path-to-production to meet the business needs.

Strangling the Enterprise

During transformation, the need to rearchitect and evolve is hampered by legacy systems and high-coupling between products. The Strangler Pattern is one solution to this problem and allows the business to continue functioning throughout the transition process.

With the Strangler Pattern small slices of an existing system can be replaced in small incremental changes, and one piece at a time. It requires minimal upfront investment and risk. Each slice is re-built on a new architecture and allows the legacy counterpart to be slowly eaten away until it’s completely replaced. The new slice may contain new features and continue delivering value during the transition.

A reverse proxy is often used to make this process transparent to end users and keeps the user experience seamless.

Strangler Pattern

This approach avoids the alternative which is a large-scale refactor, potential code freeze and large-scale migration of an existing system. Such a project would conflict with the Agile principles as it would not be providing direct value to users during the rewrite.

TSB bank in the UK very publicly failed with a large-scale big-bang migration project that back-fired and crippled its product range. This left customers without access to their accounts or money.


To stay competitive in an evolving market, traditional companies must embrace change across the organisation and break the enterprise traditions. It requires large-scale business transformation which starts with the organisation structure. This involves setting up dedicated cross-disciplined Product Teams and removing silos.

Product Teams must be given the autonomy and trust to fully manage the products they own, without external governance or architectural constraints.

To achieve the necessary transformation across an established product range the Strangler Pattern can help teams evolve products whilst continuing to deliver value to customers. This is achieved through modern Cloud re-architecture and iteration within the newly formed Product Teams. It may require simplification and/or replacement of large-scale enterprise systems to refocus on business objectives.

The KPIs on which these teams should be measured include speed-to-market and customer satisfaction. A good team should be able to deploy multiple times a day. They should be continuously improving through rapid experimentation and user testing. This allows teams to quickly innovate, truly understand their customers and pivot where necessary.

From Hackernoon by Mike Carlisle, Cloud architect.

13th Annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge


Early yesterday morning 46 NFTE entrepreneurs from across the country began pitching to judging panels at our 13th annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The three national finalists who emerged from the all-day competition went head to head last night, pitching in front of a cheering crowd at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

18-year-old Kelsey Johnson of Los Angeles, founder of Kinky Kaps, took first place in the 2018 National Challenge and was awarded the top prize of $15,000. Way to go, Kelsey!

For the first time this year, an additional competition track was held for students from NFTE’s new advanced Entrepreneurship 2 (E2) classes. Top E2 students came to New York to compete for a total prize pool of $15,000. Judges awarded $10,000 to E2 winner Simone Hufana, founder of Color HerStory. Elizabeth Berenguer, founder of Pawfect Pets’ Festival, was named a runner up and awarded $2,500. The five founders of DesignAhhJeans – Yetunde Arongudade, Antonio Finley, TyVon Jones, Diate Jackson, and Hasan Lipscomb – were named runners up and received an award of $2,500 to share.

Bravo to all who qualified for the national finals this year. You’re an extraordinarily talented group of competitors. Every one of you models the entrepreneurial mindset and we wish you continued success!

We’d also like to express our deep gratitude to Citi Foundation and EY, presenting sponsors of the 2018 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Without dedicated supporters like these we would not be able to produce events like the national finals.

NFTE activates the entrepreneurial mindset and builds startup skills in youth from under-resourced communities to ensure their success and to create a more vibrant society.  See

The State of Inclusive Entrepreneurship: By the Numbers



At the Case Foundation we are committed to expanding the field of entrepreneurship and ensuring all have a chace at the American Dream, regardless of their race, place or gender. The wide range of stories featured on #FacesofFounders show that entrepreneurs are essential members of their communities, building businesses that will bring new innovations, jobs and economic growth. That is why we are committed to support women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color who are constantly overlooked and to raise up their stories.Yet the data clearly shows that women and people of color have a disproportionate lack of access to the capital, support and networking that young companies need to scale and grow. By failing to supply all aspiring entrepreneurs with the same social and financial capital, we aren’t tapping our nation’s full potential for innovation. This despite a growing field of evidence that shows many of these groups outperform their peers.

To bring the issues to life, we have curated key entrepreneurship date on gender, race/ethnicity, and geography below. We will update this resource when new data comes to light. There are a lot of data out there, so we aimed to highlight statistics surrounding major disparities that take the form of three different kinds of data: the number of entrepreneurs and businesses; investments in entrepreneurship, mainly in the form of venture capital; and revenue these businesses are producing. All three are interdependent and show a different side of the same coin — the pervasiveness of biases around race, place and gender.

Women Entrepreneurs

Women have made large strides over the course of nearly half a century. Since 1972, women have gone from owning 4.6 percent to 40 percent of all businesses, totally 12.3 millionwomen-owned businesses in the U.S. Although there is a positive increase, these businesses have not experienced the scale of growth that male-owned businesses experience.The 12.3 million women-owned businesses generate $1.8 trillion, which is only 4.3 percent of total business revenues. The gap between the number of businesses and the low revenues stems from the disparities in venture capital investment in women entrepreneurs. All-women teams received just 2.2 percent of all venture capital dollarsin 2017. Co-ed teams with at least one female founder fared a little better, receiving 12 percent of the funds. That means over 85% of the venture capital investments made in 2017 went to all male teams or individual male entrepreneurs. The blocked funding pipeline may be caused by male dominance in venture capital firms. Ninety-three percentof investing partners at the top 100 venture firms are men.Women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America and they should have access to all the funding and resources that men have access to so their businesses can produce revenue on a similar scale.

Women of Color Entrepreneurs

The disparaging statistics for women entrepreneurs gets even more bleak when looking at women of color entrepreneurs because of the compounding factors of gender and race. On the bright side, women of color are starting businesses at an outstanding rate. Between 2007 and 2018, the number of Latina-owned firms increased by 172 percent, a larger increase than any other minority group.The number of Black-women owned firms rose almost as high, at 164 percent.While the growth rate is high for women of color, Latina-owned firms tend to be smaller than Latino-owned firms. Latina business owners may perceive themselves as “not qualified”to receive funding from financial institutions or venture capital firms.

While women of color are starting businesses at unprecedented rates, the funding just isn’t reaching them. In 2017, there were 6,791 newly funded startups led by at least one female founder, but less than 4 percent of those businesses were led by a Black woman. From 2009 through 2017, Black women-led startups have raised $289 million. That is 0.0006 percent of $424.7 billion in total tech venture funding. The average amount of funding raised by Black women is $42,000, yet the average seed round for all startups is $1.14 million.The funding gap is enormously restrictive on how successful these businesses can be.

The gap in investment contributes to the widening gap in revenue between businesses owned by women of color and those owned by white women. In 2007, the average revenue for a woman of color business owner was $84,100; by 2018 it dropped to $66,400. Comparatively, the average revenue for a white woman business owner was $181,000 in 2007; by 2018 it jumped to $212,300.There is a stark difference in revenue and progress is not just stalling for women of color but getting worse. Entrepreneurs have the ability to lift up their communities but women of color aren’t being allowed the same opportunities to be successful. The combination of gender and race bias creates difficult barriers to entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs of Color

Looking more generally at entrepreneurs of color, without the gender lens, gives a different perspective of the problem. Again, the number of businesses is growing at a rapid pace. Latinx entrepreneurs have more than tripled in recent years to over 2 million. According to the two most recent Surveys of Business Owners by the US Census Bureau, privately held minority businesses contributed 1.3 million jobs to the American economy in the years following the Great Recession. Clearly, entrepreneurs of color are crucial to the nation’s economy and to their individual communities. However, they aren’t able to scale and produce revenue on an equal playing field to white entrepreneurs because of their limited access to venture capital investment. Less than 1 percent of venture capital-backed founders are Latinx. The same is truefor Black founders. This accounts for the low streams of revenue. In 2015, Black and Latinx entrepreneurs made up 14 percent and 8 percent of all entrepreneurs in the U.S. respectively, but their reported combined revenue was less than 2 percent of $33.5 trillion. Entrepreneurs of color deserve equal access to venture capital and a fair shot at success.

Geographic Distribution of Entrepreneurs

While we strive for diversity across race and gender, we also find that for decades three states receive a disproportionate share of the venture capital dollars: California, New York and Massachusetts. In 2017, 75 percent of all venture capital went to these three statesleaving only 25% to ideas germinated in the other 47 states. And when countingthe total number of deals — no matter their size — 52 percent went to the same three states.There is no shortage of ideas or talent in the rest of the 47 states, yet the Venture Capital that is needed to scale, and tap key networking and mentoring opportunities is in short supply.

Even though three states received most of the venture capital money in 2017, there are two states worth highlighting that have the greatest number of minority-owned businesses. Hawaii and California led all states in the percentage of all employer businesses that were minority-owned, at 56 percent and 33 percent.Other cities like Houston, New Orleans and Miami are on their way to become some of the best places for entrepreneurs of color to launch and grow their businesses.

But there is some good news

While the data highlighted above is stark, the wide range of studies that show positive performance results is heartening. women-led companies perform three times better than the S&P 500.Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likelyto have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. In terms of geography, the 47 states that received only 25% of the venture capital last year perform well.In 2017, 76 percentof the Fortune 500 companies were not based in California, New York or Massachusetts.

Data and transparency are critical to understanding the opportunities and challenges in movement building and we are committed to updating this compendium of data to ensure the challenges and opportunities are clear to all. These collective statistics point to a powerful opportunity to energize our economy and our communities to ensure that anyone from anywhere with a great idea for a business has a shot at the American Dream. We have created #Faces of Founders to highlight these stories and we work alongside and with a wide range of partners and ecosystem builders committed to supporting all entrepreneurs, no matter their race, gender, zip code or background. We are committed to bringing a new face to entrepreneurship and demonstrate to aspiring entrepreneurs, funders and media that diverse entrepreneurs are key to driving innovation and growth in this country.

From #FaceofFounders (FOF) and the Case Foundation, “We invest in people and ideas that change the world.” Founded by Steve and Jean Case in 1997.

Artificial Intelligence Demystified


Artificial intelligence is such staple of science fiction that when many of us think about where it might lead, images of malevolent robots and nefarious power plots may come to mind. But McCombs School of Business Associate Professor James Scott has a friendlier view of AI. He’ll share his insights at a Texas McCombs Presents morning coffee gathering Wednesday, Sept. 26 in the Crum Auditorium of Rowling Hall on The University of Texas at Austin campus.

Scott’s new book, “AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together,” demystifies the core concepts behind artificial intelligence by exploring the history of the ideas that led to its development. The result is both positive and entertaining, offering an optimistic look at the benefits of combining human creativity with powerful machines.

Written in collaboration with Nick Polson, a professor at the Chicago Booth School of Business, the book uses history, mathematics and real-world examples to debunk common controversies surrounding AI.

“On the one hand, you have this huge amount of hype coming from the business world,” Scott says. “Companies are making it seem AI is going to fix every problem for humanity. Then on the other hand, you have the Elon Musks of the world, AI doomsayers who say AI is going to kill everything that we care about. As educators, we believe that to participate in these important debates, you really have to understand what AI is, where it came from, and how it works.”

“AIQ” has an approachable take on the ideas behind AI, one anchored in stories rather than equations, going as far back as Isaac Newton’s ill-fated stint as warden at England’s Royal Mint. While explaining the roots of AI, the book draws parallels to its wholesome modern-day uses in areas such as cancer therapy and cucumber farming — no Black Mirror episode to be found here.

Some fears associated with AI pertaining to privacy or data leaks and are not unfounded, Scott says. These worries are not glossed over in the book. Scott writes about the reasons human judgment is a crucial part of any system that uses artificial intelligence.

“It’s really important that we don’t treat these algorithms like a microwave oven, where you just punch in set of numbers and walk away,” Scott says. “You really have to have humans who know what they’re doing … using (AI) to maybe supplement decisions, not make them.”

To read the McCombs feature Q&A with James Scott about “AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together,” click below. :

Artificial intelligence, it seems, is suddenly everywhere — from the recommendation systems for the movies we stream to the electronic assistants that respond to our voice commands to the self-driving cars that are beginning to appear on our roads. AI advances mean computers can increasingly accomplish tasks in a human-like way.

But the ideas behind artificial intelligence have been around for centuries, moving through the minds of innovators like Isaac Newton and Florence Nightingale. That’s according to James Scott, associate professor of Information, Risk, and Operations Management at McCombs, and the co-author of AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together.

Scott says such fears are unwarranted, and that he doesn’t know a single reputable AI scientist who thinks that kind of thing is a realistic possibility on any timeline for the foreseeable future.

Scott recently discussed these and many other issues surrounding today’s AI explosion, including both the unfounded — and very real — concerns around the adoption of AI.

Why is AI taking off now?

The answer is technology, the speed of computers. It’s impossible to convey intuitively how fast computers have gotten at computing numbers.

We like to use a car analogy. If we go back to 1951, the fastest computer around was called the UNIVAC. It was the size of a room, based on vacuum tubes, and could do 2,000 calculations per second, which is radically faster than any human being. The fastest car was the Alfa Romeo 6C, which can travel about 110 miles per hour. Today, both cars and computers have gotten faster. Formula One cars travel over 200 miles an hour and computers are radically faster than the UNIVAC. But if cars were as much faster as computers, the modern Alfa Romeo would travel at 8 million times the speed of light.

Aside from computing speed, what else explains AI’s sudden rise?

The scale of data sets. If you digitized the Library of Congress, you’d get about 10 terabytes worth of data. That is 120,000 times less data than was collected by the big four tech firms — Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook — in 2013 alone. That’s a lifetime ago in internet use, and the pace of data accumulation is just accelerating at incredible speed.

AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together:

Amazon page –

New Google Tool to Help U.S. Veterans Find Jobs.

Google Launches New Tools To Help U.S. Veterans Find Jobs And Promote Businesses

Google Data Scientist and former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Sean O’Keefe pointed out that there are more than 2.5 million businesses in the U.S. that are majority-owned by veterans. This amounts to 9% of all businesses in the U.S. To help veterans find jobs and promote their businesses, Google has launched some useful new tools.

Veteran-Led Attribute

Google has enabled a new “Veteran-Led” attribute for businesses that are owned, led or founded by a veteran. This attribute can be added through the Google My Business profiles. And it will appear along with others such as “Outdoor Seating” and “Has Wifi.”

Veteran-Led attribute on GoogleGOOGLE

Kevin Ryan is a former Army commander who was stationed in Iraq and was responsible for the lives of over 300 people. After returning home, he decided to test his skills in the civilian world by working with his father in healthcare. When his father passed away, Ryan knew he had to find his own passion and his partner Meredith Sutton persuaded him to make his own beer with the help of YouTube tutorials.

After that, they founded Service Brewing Company with the intention that the business would give back to the veterans. And in the first three years of business, Service Brewing Company raised over $70,000 for organizations that assist first responders and veterans. And half of their staff are veterans. 

In the screenshot above, you will notice the veteran-led attribute that was added to Service Brewing’s business profile page. And below is a video interview that Google put together featuring Service Brewing Company:

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Back in March, Google also released a similar women-led attribute for business listings to commemorate International Women’s Day. And Google also added “LGBTQ-friendly” and “Transgender Safe Space” attributes in June.

Jobs For Veterans Search

Google Cloud program manager Matthew Hudson served as a civil engineer in the U.S. Air Force for seven years and his job was to ensure that the bases in Iraq and Afghanistan were logistically prepared for his servicemen and women to do their duties. After returning to civilian life in 2014, he did not know what to do next and navigating through job applications was a new experience.

To help fix this problem, Google built a tool to help veterans find jobs with a simple search query. When veterans search for “jobs for veterans” along with military job codes such as MOS, AFSC and NEC, the Google search results will display relevant job openings. Employers can also build this feature into their own job boards through Google’s Cloud Talent Solution API. Some of the websites that have this feature implemented include career sites using Talent Solutions like CareerBuilder, Encompass Health Careers, FedEx Careers, Getting Hired and Siemens Careers.

    MOS Calculator  =

“Through Grow with Google, our initiative to help create opportunities for all Americans, we hope to use our technology to help veterans understand the full range of opportunities open to them across many different fields. Right now those opportunities are getting lost in translation,” wrote Hudson in a blog post. “There isn’t a common language that helps recruiters match a veteran’s experience with the need for their skills and leadership in civilian jobs. As a result, 1 in 3 veterans—of the roughly 250,000 service members who transition out of the military each year—end up taking jobs well below their skill level.” 

(Google’s philanthropic arm is also giving a $2.5 million grant to the USO (United Service Organizations) in order to provide training and career guidance in IT support. This grant will enable the USO to incorporate the Google IT Support Professional Certificate into its curriculum.)

From Forbes Aug. 24, 2018, By Amit Chowdhry, Consumer Tech Contributor

The Value of an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Entrepreneurship Means More Than Just Start-ups

Last year, Sarah Nelson ’18 interned at the retail consulting firm JL Buchanan. As part of its consumer insights team, the entrepreneurship major worked on researching and developing a strategy for an essential oil category at a major department store retailer. The information Nelson and her colleagues produced was instrumental when JL Buchanan pitched ideas to the department store.

Nelson’s role at JL Buchanan focused on consumer research, aligning much of what she did at the company with what she had learned in a class she had taken on entrepreneurial research and design thinking methodology.

This summer, Nelson worked for Fusion Hill, a research, strategy and creative agency. She was part of a strategy team tasked with conducting research, competitive analyses and value propositions for clients. Once again, Nelson used those entrepreneurial skills to think critically while keeping in mind the client’s position and the needs of the consumer. Nelson credits the skills she developed as a student at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship with helping her succeed as an intern and preparing her for “life in the real world.”

“As entrepreneurship majors we were able to grow and develop as individuals by running companies from head to toe, understanding investor financials and learning about the consumer’s view through design thinking,”  Nelson said. “Most notably, I became better equipped to test the viability of a concept or strategy. I learned how to mitigate risk and make wise choices. These skills will definitely help me as I grow and develop as a strategist.”

The value of an entrepreneurial mindset

The entrepreneurial mindset Nelson sharpened at St. Thomas is applicable to any career, said Laura Dunham, PhD, associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. While most people think entrepreneurship is synonymous with business, it is far from the only career choice for majors in the field. In fact, many graduates take an “intrapreneurial” route allowing them the opportunity to bring their own, unique entrepreneurial skills into an established company looking for innovative employees to boost growth. Companies rely on those tools and skills entrepreneurship students and graduates have to spot new opportunities in the marketplace, evaluate them and decide how to pursue them effectively.

“My students who don’t want to start a business will ask, ‘What will I do?’” Dunham said. “I just have to go onto and type in ‘entrepreneur’ and 600 opportunities show up in the Twin Cities from entry level positions to chief operating officers. You’re seeing the entrepreneurial mindset and entrepreneurial skills more and more as a requirement for jobs across functions in a company. They want people who can deal with unstructured problems, who know how to – despite uncertainty – search opportunities and figure out how to pursue them. Those are entrepreneurial competencies.” 

Critical parts of that mindset include curiosity and empathy, along with unique business competencies and creative problem solving skills.

“It’s about sparking your creative confidence – your ability to know you can do stuff,” Dunham said. “It’s about sparking what we we call opportunity orientation. When other people say, ‘This is a drag,’ entrepreneurs say, ‘This is a drag, but what would make it better? Is there a business here? Let me think.’”

Intrapreneurs using entrepreneurial skills

A consultant for Optum, Dylan Condé-Brooks ’17 uses his expert problem-solving skills to tackle issues in the health care industry.

“One of the biggest skills entrepreneurs have is looking at, ‘Why has there always been a problem like this and how can we solve it?’” said the entrepreneurship and marketing major.

Instead of just putting a Band-Aid on the complex problems he’s asked to scrutinize, it’s up to Condé-Brooks to find creative solutions.

“I’d go to job interviews and they would ask why I majored in entrepreneurship if I didn’t want to start my own business,” Condé-Brooks said. “They didn’t understand why anyone would major in that and want to go work for a company. I told them it was more about problem-solving. You have one class as an entrepreneurship major at St. Thomas where you have to read balance sheets and know what a convertible note is – all of the minutiae, finite details of finance for business. All the other classes I had were about problem-solving, being creative and doing more with less. You can apply that skill set to running your own business or for going into a business and helping it solve its problems.”

Alex French ’11 might be well-known for starting Bizzy Coffee, which is ranked No. 1 on Amazon in the cold brew coffee category and is sold at hundreds of stores across the United States. But prior to launching Bizzy with Andrew Healy, French was an innovator at General Mills.

After graduation, he took a job at a big electronics retailer, where he worked in planning. He couldn’t leverage his entrepreneurial skills at that particular company, so he created a snowboarding accessory and began to market the item. This helped him land a job at General Mills, where he flexed his creative muscle as he solved consumer problems.

“As soon as I was at General Mills, everything opened up and I was able to leverage that skill set of mine,” said the entrepreneurship and finance major. “I ended up getting promoted into a role as an intrapreneur where I was working in their start-up division. I was literally running a tech start-up.”

French ended up working on a nontraditional product line for the company, where he exceled thanks to his talent and passion for entrepreneurship and his own personal business experience.

“I became one of the go-to innovators within the company,” he said. “People would bring me into meetings for innovation and they would use me as a sounding board for ideas and consumer insights and learning. It allowed me to be the intrapreneur; I was able to present ideas to leadership and actually get investment behind my ideas. I was able to execute them based on my plan. That’s the perfect world intrapreneurship – it was my definition of starting businesses within a corporation, which was really exciting and fun. You’re basically an entrepreneur with less risk.”

Ultimately, French left General Mills to focus on developing Bizzy. Because of his stellar reputation at the company, French said many of his former colleagues were willing to help him out when he launched his own start-up.

Feeling empowered

Drawn to St. Thomas because of her interest in in the entrepreneurship program, Jenna Breen ’12 knew from a young age she wanted to pursue a career in business after watching her father in his role as vice president of operations at a Fargo company.

While she saw some of her classmates start businesses, Breen discovered she had a passion for implementation rather than generating ideas. She was able to apply what she learned in the entrepreneurship program to further her career both at the health care communications company Spok and currently as a CRM product manager at HelpSystems.

“I realized getting into the business as a product strategy/product manager role, you are basically like an internal entrepreneur – you’re the owner of your own product,” Breen said. “It’s very entrepreneurial in that regard.”

While starting a business wasn’t for her, Breen said learning a vast variety of skills as an entrepreneurship major was instrumental in her success as a CRM product manager, where she’s given the space to be innovative.

“I established the program I’m running here,” she said about her work at HelpSystems. “I feel my role has a big impact on the organization, which is always a good thing. Some people would be intimidated by that, but I feel empowered by it. I feel I’m able to do what I want with it.”

Amy Carlson Gustafson, Schulz School of Entrepreneurship, Univ of St. Thomas (MN) 

A Good Way to Procure an Entrepreneurship Textbook

Today in a veterans entrepreneurship class I had an active duty SFC Army recruiter ask to look at my Heidi Neck book opposite.  It is the latest and newest academic entrepreneurship textbook, and well written.  Her book is being adopted by many curriculums across the country because of its “meat” and “modern” content. I had it in class because in its marketing section she believes entrepreneurs in today’s world are better served and can even the playing field by using (her new term) “entrepreneurial marketing”  She defines it as, “the creative use of affordable, innovative, and easy-to-use marketing tools such as viral videos, social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and mass emailing to grab the attention of the customer.  Citing Zappos as one of the first companies to use social media as its main marketing strategy, they were able to attract a large customer base very quickly by emphasizing free, easy, returns on shoe purchases and excellent customer service.   Her point was that entrepreneurs can even the playing field by using just the internet.  While industry giants may have bigger budgets and more resources, that cannot not stop new entrepreneurs from waging their own successful social media campaigns.  Their use of social media is just as valuable as that of Proctor & Gamble.

Her term of ‘entrepreneurial marketing’ and ‘evening the playing field’ struck me between the eyes.  Yes, we all have used social media for part of marketing a new business, but never exclusively and never to be as good as the big boys.  I agree with Professor Neck.  To get a new idea with no brand recognition, established marketing channels, and probably a better product, it takes creativity and innovation.   What better medium to use for these actions than the lower cost internet?

So, Sergeant Norman, my student immediately balked at the cost of her text at $120 (it is a new book and these collegiate texts are often required reading for students).  I quickly suggested he pick a recent text in a superseded edition. (There are none for the Neck book because it’s a first edition).  The price drops dramatically after it has been replaced with a new edition.  Generally speaking, if you are new student or person to entrepreneurship, one as old as ten years will contain the meaningful information and explain the basics.  Heidi Neck’s book is new, but other professors of renown (Bruce Barringer and Steve Mariotti come to mind) have meaningful books being sold for much less money.  Not only that idea, but I have a good friend out in CA at Cal State Domingues Hills who teaches minority students with little spare cash.  He uses the Entrepreneur Magazine book,  ‘How to Start a Business’, selling for $15 and containing some 200 plus pages of a good material on the subject of starting your own business.

Being an advocate of lean entrepreneurship (the newer, better way  to design a business plan), I must add a caveat.  If an older text uses a traditional business plan as its planning method, please disregard that one section.  It is now obsolete because Silicon Valley has given the world lean entrepreneurship, meaning use of a one-page business model canvas (BMC) to work with the end-user, the market that will pay money for your product. Called validated development, when the person with the problem or need, works an entrepreneur through their situation and personal desire, the idea or concept is either a “go” or a “no-go” before launch.  The end market either validates and express a serious interest in the product or they do not.   Hope this concept helps wannabe entrepreneurs out there who want some meaty, inclusive entrepreneurship content like Sergeant Norman.  Editor.