Category Archives: Current in Entrepreneurship

Lean Innovation Educators Summit June 2021

The fourth summit of global lean entrepreneurship educators was held virtually from UC Berkeley on June 3rd.  Hosted by Haas School adjunct emeritus Jerry Engel, there were over 300 lean innovation educators online.

Following their productive format, the keynote speaker, Dr. Laura Tyson, Distinguished Haas Business School Graduate Professor and former Obama and Clinton administrations economic advisor, gave a talk centered on the pandemic impact and the end of real interest rates.  Her lasting changes from COVID-19 are a hybrid from work-from-home, e-commerce “blowning-away” real commerce, and A. I. (artificial intelligence) as a business model going forward.  She also thought some of the coming increases in productivity could be mirrored and adapted by small business.

As host Engel wrote, “it was in the summer of 2019 when Steve Blank and I agreed to create the Lean Innovation Educators Summit. We had simple goals. We knew that the Lean Innovation movement created a revolution in how entrepreneurship education took place. Having been at the forefront of this revolution, we knew there were few guidelines and limited resources for those creating and leading these programs. And we knew that the best resource was the community of educators—each facing their own challenges, running their own experiments, and adapting and evolving their educational approaches. The challenge was how to capture and share these learnings. The opportunity was to build a resilient community of educators with the proverbial positive feedback loop. Thus, the first Lean Innovation Educators Summit was born.”  Each successive summit has expanded the reach of evidenced-based entrepreneurship.

After the Tyson keynote, there were lean educator leaders (many of whom were original I-Corps program founders) impressions for the current landscape including:

Pete Newell and Steve Weinstein reported on the Common Mission growth, now including use of lean launch for the environment (oceans) as well as Hacking for Defense Hacking (H4D®) a university course sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Finally, educators were broken-out into smaller rooms which reported back conclusions -lean is now a truly international community, new disciplines have been created like more student-centric modes, more specific than general each with its own set of solutions.

Here is the full recording -keynote first  37 minutes, the panel of 7 at 45 minutes, discussion groups wrap at 1 hr:12 minutes (valuable). Hope you  can join the group at their next summit on Dec. 2nd.   Editor


Pandemic Iteration, “On the Bayou”.

Janice Johnson of On the Bayou

Janice Johnson is the founder and chef at On the Bayou, a prime location for great food, entertainment, special events, and banquets.  On the Bayou brings the flavor New Orleans and the skill of a 5-star chef.  They offer a variety of dishes that are sure to keep you coming back for more.  Whether it’s uniquely battered catfish or the succulent lamp chops, you are sure to find the dish perfect for your taste.

Janet’s entrepreneurial inspiration comes from “Having the freedom to create my own destiny, believing in a product that I know that people would enjoy, and knowing that both my successes and failures are direct results of ME and by ME.”  She also says the best part of being a business owner is “seeing people leave with a smile on their face and being recognized as the owner of a business that God appointed me to take care of.”

When COVID hit, it forced Janice to think outside the box and come up with new creative solutions.  She was able to restructure her business to make I more successful.  Earlier this month, On the Bayou was featured on the Food Network show Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine.  Janice’s hard work and entrepreneurial spirit led her to enroll in the BizStarts Institute bizstarts-institute/) which she graduated from in May.  BizStarts is excited to work with Janice and the other Institute entrepreneurs by providing them with resources for them to make their business thrive!

On The Bayou is in the heart of Milwaukee. Story courtesy of  BizStarts of Wisconsin who has help start, mentor and promote over 1,000 entrepreneurs.

Nation’s Workforce Crisis

Executive Summary and Key Findings

The most critical and widespread challenge facing businesses right now is the inability to hire the qualified workers they need. When businesses do not have enough employees, they are forced to turn down jobs, reduce hours, scale down their operations, and in the worst cases, permanently close. The latest data and surveys reveal a national economic crisis that is getting steadily worse.

  • There were 8.1 million vacant job openings in the United States—a record high—in March 2021, the latest month for which data is available. That’s up more than 600,000 from February.
  • There are approximately half as many available workers for every open job (1.4 available workers/opening) across the country as there have been on average over the past 20 years (2.8 historical average)—and the ratio continues to fall.
  • In several states and several industries, including hard-hit sectors like education and health services as well as professional and business services, there are currently fewer available workers than the total number of jobs open.
  • More than 90 percent of state and local chambers of commerce say worker shortages are holding back their economies, and more than 90 percent of industry association economists say employers in their sectors are struggling to find qualified workers for open jobs.

Macroeconomic Insights

In April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report fell well below expectations.  Businesses only created 266,000 jobs when most analysts expected more than 1 million. Even with 9.7 million unemployed at the beginning of April, workers’ reluctance to return to work and fill open positions was one reason for the lackluster job creation. Another could be that employees know just how easy it is to get a new job – the percent voluntarily leaving their current job is now above pre-pandemic levels.

BLS also reported that there were 8.1 million job openings in the economy as of the end of March — an all-time high. That is more than 600,000 higher than at the end of February and the fastest growth rate since July 2020. So far, in 2021, employers have added 1.4 million. Clearly, businesses are hiring – if only there were workers ready, able, and willing to fill their open positions.

The Worker Availability Ratio measures the number of available workers divided by job openings. More specifically, it compares (1) “available Workers” (persons who want a job and are available to work now) as reported in the monthly BLS Employment Situation Report household survey of individuals to (2)  employers’ job openings as reported in the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

The national Worker Availability Ratio and has fallen precipitously in recent months. There are now approximately half as many available workers (1.4) for every open job across the country as there have been on average over the past 20 years (2.8 historical average).

In several industries, including hard-hit sectors like education and health services as well as professional and business services—there are currently fewer job seekers than the total number of jobs open.  The circumstances are most challenging for employers in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Vermont, where the total jobs available outnumber the total available workers to fill them.

Ninety percent reported “lack of available workers” as the main factor slowing the economy in their area—with two-thirds reporting it was “very difficult” for employers in their community or state to hire workers. Respondents were twice as likely to say that lack of workers is holding back the economy as they are to say that COVID is holding it back.  Less than 1% said it was easy to fill open jobs.  While the pandemic has certainly impacted the labor market, the lack of workers to fill open jobs isn’t a new problem. In late 2019, there were more open jobs than unemployed individuals. Keeping our economy growing requires that we fill these jobs. To do so, we need to remove barriers that prevent people from entering the workforce, get individuals the skills they need for the open positions, and enact sensible immigration policy.

Two Recent Activities of Note

Ignite the Entrepreneur e-Book

Truly, a unique experience.  One incredibly dynamic lady from Alberta Canada has give the world a big chunk of self-improvement by publishing over a dozen Ignite books, the latest titled as above and highly recommended.  It contains thirty individual stories of entrepreneurship from people all over the globe -Finland, Romania, Morocco and more, and your editor has one on page 240.  Go to this link to download an e-Kindle copy –

Owners are J. B. Owen, the dynamic lady, and Peter Giesin. If you have a hankering to write in one of her books, go to their website –  It is a first class experience with instruction sessions in writing, social media and  guest speakers the like of Les Brown, motivational guru.  Here’s quote from my chapter as a taste of prose:

“Just like that, completely impetuously, we made the decision, and it was an “ah-ha” moment for both of us. That day, we stayed home, brainstormed goals, came up with a list of criteria, and visited a library to do research. The only location meeting all yardsticks was Jacksonville, Florida, which I had never visited and my wife only once.  It had large healthcare and insurance industries, and we each wanted to be self-employed in those fields. Florida law said an insurance agent had to work for another broker before licensing. In the interim I was looking for a niche product to match a target market.

Moving to a strange city across the country was a bold experiment.  We were a bit idealistic and heavy into goal setting. When we first met, we had both been reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  His book said, “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve” and we wanted to give it a shot. We checked into a low-budget motel, hand-wrote resumes, and went cold calling. I had a letter of introduction to a surety producer, and Donna went to work for a self-employed PT to learn that side of rehab while I served a required year working for a large insurance broker. Synchronicity again came to the rescue!

The south has many “EMCs” or electric member cooperatives established during the New Deal to provide electricity to rural America. I was chosen to train as the rep for a national rural electric insurance program. One competitor came into clear focus. My boss heard of an impossible bond (surety for construction projects) issued by a small company across town called… Cotton States (CS).  Then, a month later I could not “close” (an order for insurance) at a rural electric in Georgia. The competition was again Cotton States, the same regional company based in Atlanta.  My curiosity was piqued, and I thought of Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “I will prepare and someday my chance will come.”  ~ Editor Clint Day.

Bodacity Unleashed Workshop

One of the Ignite authors from above (different book) is Jannette Anderson who teaches a life purpose workshop called Bodacity Unleashed.  I took it 14-16 May, and can tell you if you do not have a firm and satisfying purpose, you should too.  Her Faster Mind Group works you progressively through your “Why” basing tools on neuroscience starting using your own 3-5 significant experiences during your life.

I did it, and quickly discovered three of my five  meaningful occurrences centered around service in the Army during the Vietnam War.  Not only did I learn leadership in some hairy circumstances, but I also met my wife from the Army medical corps and later grew a pituitary tumor probably from exposure to Agent Orange.  So my impactful experience determining future values, goals, and viewpoints turns out from combat service.  Once uncovered from there a participant can design a roadmap to purpose and profit.  One identifies gaps and needs to address going forward.

Bodacity’s action steps are carefully thought out, and they can change a person’s life.  Jannette Anderson can be contacted and followed at  ~ Editor Clint Day.

Asset Management: Get Started With These Easy Tips

As a small business owner just getting started in your industry, you know you need to be good at managing your assets so you can improve your finances and make enough money to justify the hard work you’ve put into your business. But how do you get started? What things do you need to remember as you embark on your asset management journey? Let’s take a look at what you need to know as you move forward.

First thing’s first: What is asset management?

Asset management is a critical part of running a successful business. Basically, you need to know what you have, where it is, and what its value is — especially when it comes to running audits of your inventory. Especially now that mobile devices, cloud technologies, automated software tools, and other technologies are being used every day in business, it’s imperative that you track what you’re using. These systems can track both software and hardwareassets.

The benefits of asset management systems are folded into how you run your company. You can see where your assets are and collect data on them in one centralized system, eliminate the need for complex spreadsheets, and improve data collection by automating it. Not to mention that knowing the location of your assets can save you time and money when it comes time for maintenance and tax auditing.

Go from here: Steps for getting started

Now that you know what asset management entails, let’s go over what you need to do to get ready for your new system.

Figure out whether you need asset management software. List out all the devices, tools, and documents that you need to keep track of. Do you have a lot of convoluted spreadsheets, but you can’t seem to find the right one when you need it? That’s a sign.

  1. Find an asset management system that allows you to automate processes and keep track of your inventory and devices, but make sure that it’s within budget.
  2. Consider applying for a loan to get started with asset management software. There are myriad loans and grants available to small businesses.
  3. Partner with the right company or consultant so you know exactly how the asset management system works and how to use it to its full advantage. It won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it.

Important reminder about cybersecurity

As you mature in your asset management practices and get a handle on what devices, products, and tools you have at your disposal, don’t forget to consider cybersecurity. Especially as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more prevalent in the business world, small-business owners want to make sure their networks are safe and that malicious actors can’t gain access to your resources. Therefore, the assets you’re tracking need to be secure.

One way to ensure your networks and assets are as impenetrable as possible, you could consider ethical hacker recruitment. These professionals, who can be found on online job platforms that display reviews, delivery time, and cost, can test your network’s security by lobbying a cyberattack against it — for your benefit. (This is commonly referred to as a penetration test.) When they find vulnerabilities, they let you know, so you can patch them.

Partner with the right people

Now that you know how to get started with asset management software, it’s time to take the next step: making sure you implement your solution accurately so your company can take advantage of the efficiencies coming your way.

Article courtesy of Marissa Perez, who has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills and now shares her knowledge with entrepreneurs. She co-created Business Pop to provide insight and advice to those who aspire to succeed in owning a business.  

SBA Public-Private Strategies for Small Business.           SEVERAL WEBINARS DURING JUNE

  • Hear about what steps you can take now to learn and take advantage of new and existing programs that are available at the SBA
  • Get an update regarding programs and recent policy announcements made by the Biden-Harris Administration
  • Have your questions answered by SBA leadership and small business experts
  • Learn how you can become a vaccine leader in your community
  • Discover tools and resources you can use to take your business digital

Entrepreneurship Going Forward

It’s never been easier to start a business, says Loren Padelford, vice president and general manager of revenue at Shopify (SHOP), which powers digital storefronts for over 1.7 million businesses across 175 countries.

As existing business owners had to close their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans found themselves out of work. This created increased appetite for an already ballooning market for entrepreneurs creating companies online.

Indeed, the number of people applying to start a business in 2020 eclipsed 2019’s total by mid-October. As a one-stop shop to set up a store, facilitate customer support and payment processing, Shopify has become a crucial tool for small businesses.

“We do think it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur; more businesses are being started now than have been in the last decade. That is a signal to the world that the barriers to entry are no longer as big as they used to be. And you can be a big brand and create a big story relatively quickly,” Padelford said during Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit: Small Business Recovery, which aired Thursday.

During Shopify’s first-quarter earnings report, the company announced it made $988.6 million in revenue, more than doubling from a year ago. Gross merchandise volume was also up 114% year-over-year hitting $37.3 billion in the quarter.

“It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur,” Padelford said. “It’s a great time to start something and we see that accelerating, not slowing down.”

Eunice Byun built her business on Shopify and has seen it flourish during the pandemic. As co-founder and CEO of Material, a 4-year-old kitchenware line, she saw 100% growth between 2019 to 2020, and a repeat customer rate as high as 64% year-over-year.

“We saw early on in the pandemic our sales up 350% just immediately because people recognized that they may not have the goods and the equipment that they needed,” she told Yahoo Finance.

As families were stuck at home, many turned to upgrading their daily staples. The ultra popular Always Pan by Our Place (a brand that’s also hosted on Shopify) is a prime example of a runaway winner fueled by Instagram ads and influencer marketing.

When asked whether the market for direct-to-consumer shopping is too saturated, Padelford said he doesn’t think it’s “anywhere close to peak.”

“I think we’re at the beginning, I think we’re seeing now the potential of entrepreneurs. And when you look at it from a macroeconomic perspective, the growth rate of entrepreneurial businesses is eclipsing the growth rate of big box,” he said. “And that shows you that we as consumers want to shop local, 50% of consumers want to shop at a local store. We want to shop from brands that have a good story.”

Story Courtesy of Yahoo Finance, written by Melody Hahm.  Follow her on Twitter @MelodyHahm.

GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) 2020-21 Global Report

The world is currently in the grip of a devastating pandemic, COVID-19, which has been causing widespread negative health, social and economic impacts. There is a pressing need for careful, authoritative and evidence-based assessment of the pandemic’s impacts on levels of entrepreneurial activity across the world, as well as on attitudes and ambitions. The new 2020/2021 GEM Global Report spells out how levels of entrepreneurial motivation and activity vary across the world. In doing so, it provides the world’s first evidence-based assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on levels of entrepreneurship.

In most countries across the world in 2020, there were more people who knew someone who stopped a business than knew someone who started one, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2020/2021 Global Report.

Among the adults (ages 18-64) from 43 economies participating in GEM’s Adult Population Survey (APS) during the summer of 2020, 43% knew someone who had stopped a business in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, while 25% knew someone who had started a business amid the pandemic.

There was a total of 135,942 respondents with highly varying participation rates between economies. Among many examples of this, 72% of adults in Indonesia knew someone who had stopped a business due to the pandemic, compared to just 16% of adults in Taiwan. In all of the Latin America & Caribbean GEM participating countries except Uruguay, more than half of adults knew someone who started a business as a result of the pandemic, as they did in Indonesia, Angola, Oman, and India.  In the United States, 22% know someone who started a business due to the pandemic, while 42% know someone who stopped a business.

Due to COVID-19, both the markets and the rules of the game have changed and entrepreneurs will increasingly come up with new solutions for the challenges the world faces,” said Niels Bosma, Chair of the GEM Board. “These findings underscore why it is crucial for governments to not just focus on keeping existing businesses alive, but also nurture a fertile ground for new entrepreneurship that can safeguard the jobs of the future.”


New GEM research highlights entrepreneurship trends around the world. Report findings are based on interviews and surveys with nearly 140,000 adults from 46 economies, including both the Adult Population Survey and the National Expert Survey.

2021 Trends in Entrepreneurship Report

From Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC Kenan Flager Business School

Click to Open PDF  –  Frontiers-Report-2021

The Trends in Entrepreneurship Report brings together expertise and data from academia, industry and policymakers to highlight relevant topics facing entrepreneurs and investors today. Our aim is for this information to guide leaders in their decision-making, as well as to highlight gaps in research and policy for leaders in academia and government.

The 2021 report explores the following:

Initially, we explore the state of startups, small businesses and investments after a year –and global pandemic –have passed.

Then we dive into one of the hottest areas today: health innovation. We highlight trends related to COVID-19, as well as other relevant topics, such as how AI and machine learning are impacting innovations in health.

After that deep dive, we zoom out to explore broader trends related to investment structures, the impact of economic recovery funds distributed by the government, and other capital formation specific to entrepreneurs and small businesses. One of the major highlights is the disparity in funding as it relates to support for underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship.

We then take on the theme of diversity, equity and inclusion in entrepreneurship, highlighting some of the massive experimentation of the past several years to create more inclusive ecosystems through case studies and models, with a hope to inspire action and research related to these topics. 

We conclude by examining factors inside organizations related to teams and talent, and how those elements play into the ongoing success of organizations.

Courtesy McKinsey & Co.