inLab@HCC STRIVE Ribbon Cutting


The InLab@HCC hosted an amazing ribbon cutting ceremony (video highlights below) on September 12th recognizing a first of its kind partnership between Hillsborough Community College’s (HCC) Operation Startup and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ (IVMF). The Startup Training Resources to Inspire Veteran Entrepreneurship (STRIVE) program is a multi-phase entrepreneurship program for veterans, military members and their families with a golden opportunity for funding as well for participants that meet the requirements.  STRIVE will expand veteran entrepreneurship and grow IVMF’s number 1 nationally ranked veteran’s entrepreneurship program locally here at HCC!

 HCC’s Operation Startup’s Beth Kerley and Dr. Andy Gold hosted the event acknowledging with pointed gratitude everyone that helped create this day of celebration. Recognition covered everyone that pitched in from both higher learning institutions and the supportive Hillsborough County officials and South Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Speakers included HCC President Dr. Ken Atwater, Syracuse’s IVMF Chief Operating Officer Maureen Casey and South Tampa Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Kelly Flannery. Kelly spoke to the future by stating that while she is proud to help with this milestone ribbon cutting ceremony, she will be even more excited to help host ribbon cutting ceremonies for each future business that is created in the Tampa Bay area because of this amazing opportunity.

The STRIVE program offers Veterans, active duty, Reserve/Guard, and their spouses with an opportunity to take an early stage business, or business idea through a rigorous 6-week training program. Outstanding instruction led by Beth Kerly, Dr. Andy Gold, Greta Kishbaugh and Entrepreneurship Resources, Inc. Founder & CEO Clinton E. Day (Vietnam Veteran). During the period of August 30 – October 6, 2019 participants access course materials and complete assignments attending in-person training at the InLab@HCC and online through the learning management system called Canvas.

As a CPA, I volunteered my time for financial cash flow statement questions during the Monday night September 19th class.  I came away very impressed at the amount of information, support and speakers curated for each participant. Speakers included Zig Ziglar certified Dave Kauffman, entrepreneur Sharon Fekete and a full panel of heart centered Hillsborough County officials. Dave questioned how far everyone is willing to reach with our imagination pointing out every product once started as an idea. Sharon provided an authentic look into how important connecting with a community is. She credited her Dad for setting such a wonderful example in her life when he made sure to as a young girl introduce her to each person he worked with. The three Hillsborough County officials covered every aspect of business and support an entrepreneur could dream of. Business best practices are shared in abundance for each STRIVE participant.

Here are some highlights of both September 12th and 19th:

Our military and their families are some of the best prepared to take on the startup challenge! God bless the service of these participants and the future jobs they will create for our Tampa Bay community!!!

Apply Now for the 2020 Cohort; here:

by Clinton D. Swigart, CPA, MA
Entrepreneurship Resources, Inc.

Coming Workforce Crisis and Need for Entrepreneurship.

Only lean startup entrepreneurship allows the art of entrepreneurship to be taught and learned so that a person can use their hobby or passion as a backup for self-employment if and when they loose their job.  It also equips an individual to survive in the Gig Economy.

Photo – Yang with colleague Bruce Bachenheimer, Entrepreneurship Professor, Pace University, New York.  Yang was quite an entrepreneurship himself having worked in various startups  and  as a founder or executive from 2000 to 2009.  He was Obama’s  “Global Entrepreneurship Ambassador” in 2015.

Importance of Entrepreneurship Now

The world economy faces a massive disruption of labor.  Jobs are going to machines at an alarming rate, and ramifications will alter everything we know  about work. Three forces have been at work since 1990, but will soon go to warp speed.  First is the Gig Economy, which is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.

Second is the automation of anything that is repetitive and can be replaced by robotics; most automobiles are now made by robots.  Third is the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.  Deep learning is a type of machine learning that trains a computer to perform human-like tasks, such as recognizing speech, identifying images or making predictions.

Because Big Data has been growing exponentially, AI and deep learning have much to work from.  In 2013 SINTEF estimated that 90% of all information in the world had been created in the prior two years.  Lots of data is exactly what machines need in order to learn to learn.  Google’s DeepMind AI has learned how to read and comprehend what it reads through thousands of annotated news articles.

McKinsey research says that up to one-third of U. S. workers and 800 million globally could be displaced by 2030.  They recommend businesses and policymakers act now to keep people employed.  The single most impactful solution is to empower one and all with entrepreneurship whose innovative and creative skills can allow laborers to transit to self-employment (or to thrive as a freelancer in the Gig Economy).          —USA Today Editorial Sept. 17, 2019 —

Getting to “No”

Leaders love to be work heroes.  But that can come at a hidden cost.  Oftentimes, the most valuable thing you can do is say no –and here’s how.

Mary was doing well at VP of business development at a San Francisco tech company.  She’d been hired to create goodwill within the community, and she was a perfect fit.  But here work had started suffering.  Her CEO has asked her to take on a new project in Brazil, which would require here to spend at least a third of her time there.  Her instinct was to say yes; she didn’t want to lose her CEO’s approval, and the opportunity was an honor.  But realistically, she couldn’t be in South America and do what she’d been hired to do in San Francisco too.

When I met with her, I recognized the problem immediately.  I’ve been an executive coach for more than 25 years, and Mary had made one of the biggest mistakes I see among top executives and founders: They’re always saying yes.  Leaders want to grow business, please people, avoid conflict, and keep a job. But accepting every request or business proposition can render leaders overloaded and overworked.  Since this prevents them from thinking clearly, it can also keep them from focusing on their –and the organization’s–most important work.

With another client of mine, the founder of a company who agreed to every merger and acquisition that came his way, I put on a whiteboard all the costs of saying yes –his health, barely knowing his daughter, his COO constantly rotated.  When he looked at the board, he cried. I get it; telling someone no feels selfish.  But when you learn to say it artfully and strategically, everyone is wins in the end.  It’s all in how you deliver that important, critical word.  Consider one of these approaches:

1.  The flat-out ?No”.  It’s best for a reason.  Consider, “I appreciate your request.  Since it comes from you, I’ve given it a lot of thought.  But, I have to say no because I’ve already committed to X and Y.                                                                                                                                                                       2.  Tinker with the timing.  Offer to tackle the request at a later date.                                                   3.  Accept with conditions.  After the request, alter the conditions –“If you assigns a project manager who can assure time and budget, I’ll be happy to handle X.”                                                                4.  Become a problem solver and offer an alternative solution.

The thing about saying no is that it enables you to say yes in a much more collaborative way.  We often think people don’t want to hear “No”, but CEOs get frustrated when people accept and then can’t deliver.  They generally have more trust in somebody who is assertive –who can either push back or provide a new way to deal with the situation.  My client’s boss saw that in her and thought Wow, she understands the business.  In his eyes, she’s not a naysayer –she’s a business strategist.

by Nadine Greiner in Stress-Less Leadership available at bookstores and excerpted in Magazine July-August 2019.



A slowdown in US business formation poses a risk to economy

Despite a decade-plus of economic growth, Americans have slowed the pace at which they’re forming new companies, a trend that risks further widening the gap between the most affluent and everyone else.

The longest expansion on record, which began in mid-2009, has failed to restore entrepreneurship to its pre-recession level, according to a Census Bureau report based on tax filings.

Between 2007 and the first half of 2019, applications to form businesses that would likely hire workers fell 16%. Though the pace of applications picked up somewhat after 2012, it dipped again this year despite President Donald Trump’s assertion that his tax cuts and deregulatory drive would benefit smaller companies and their workers. App

Business formation has long been one of the primary ways in which Americans have built wealth. When fewer new companies are established, fewer Americans tend to prosper over time. In addition, smaller companies account for roughly 85% of all hiring, making them an entry point for most workers into the workforce. Even with the unemployment rate at a near-record-low of 3.7%, a decline in the creation of new companies means there are fewer companies competing for workers, a trend that generally slows pay growth. The pace of pay growth has stalled for the past five months even as hiring has remained healthy.

“What you see is reduced social and economic mobility,” said Steve Strongin, head of global investment research at Goldman Sachs. “It means that most of the growth is occurring in the corporate sphere, which keeps wage growth down and improves profits.”

Smaller companies and startups were generally cautious about expanding as they emerged from the Great Recession, in many cases choosing not to hire. The 2008 financial crisis delivered a warning to many would-be entrepreneurs that scaling back their ambitions might help them survive another recession.

Goldman Sachs on Thursday is releasing a survey of business owners who took part in its “10,000 Small Businesses” program, which has provided management training to several thousand small companies since 2010. The survey concluded that entrepreneurs typically struggle to find qualified workers and to navigate complex regulations. Both factors tend to slow the formation of new companies.

Among the business owners who were surveyed, nearly eight in 10 said they favor a higher local minimum wage well above the federal baseline of $7.25 an hour. Focus groups conducted as part of Goldman’s survey indicate that smaller companies believe wages have failed to keep pace with the costs of living and the retention of employees.

Just 20% of the surveyed business owners said they felt that Trump’s 2017 tax cut would increase their companies’ growth, according to the online survey of 2,285 alumni of the Goldman program.

Social and demographic forces are also thought to be limiting opportunities for entrepreneurs and smaller companies. America is aging, many young adults are weighed down by student debt and larger retailers have used their scale to offer lower prices than smaller companies can afford to do so.


Questions Are the Answer.

Alexander Osterwalder, co-founder of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) used to design a new business under the lean method, hosted a webinar today interviewing Hal Gregersen, world authority on questioning. His topic is critical to success when building a business model canvas  (BMC) and a founder/entrepreneur attempts to elicit revealing answers from an end-user, potential buyer. The process of interviewing is both an art and a science much like entrepreneurship, but critical to the validation or no-go of a product or service idea.

Two main takeaways were creation of an uncomfortable quiet and use of “catalytic” questions.  For example, Intuit was turned back to innovation by the founder Scott Cook changing from dropping long “to-do” lists on subordinates desks to walking into the person’s office and asking, “what are you wrestling with today”, waiting a pregnant minute for an answer, and then asking, “what can I do to help”.  In Hal Gregersen’s own words:

“As disruptive innovators, from Albert Einstein to Jack Dorsey, put it, “Question everything!” Engage in pure question talk, with one team member writing down each question verbatim. This gives everyone the chance (especially introverts) to see each question, reflect a bit, and then create even better ones. Don’t give preambles to the questions and don’t devote any time or energy to answering them. Just ask. Ask as many questions as you can. Go for at least 50, perhaps 75. But don’t give up when your mind goes blank around question 35. Savor the momentary dead space and continue the search for even better, more provocative questions, which will come with patience and persistence. It usually takes 10 to 20 minutes to exhaust a group’s questioning capacity. Push for exhaustion.

At a recent World Economic Forum workshop, this five-step Catalytic Questioning process took 24 minutes. It rapidly engaged the group, turbocharged a subsequent brainstorming session (conducted right after by Tim Brown from IDEO), and helped identify several intriguing new areas of potential industry disruption. During the debrief, most participants agreed that asking nothing but questions was a surprisingly powerful tool for revealing innovative solutions. They left the session highly energized to become even better question catalysts within their everyday work.

Across the globe, I have seen the same process—and success—occur with thousands of executives and entrepreneurs, including Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola International, who realized, “if your questioning muscles have atrophied, it’s time to start exercising those muscles.” Catalytic Questioning ensures this essential leadership skill improves over time to unlock even better, more creative solutions. What you discover in this questioning quest might not only surprise you, but may also unearth an entirely new direction for your team, organization, or career.”

Hal wants the questioner to create a condition of awkwardness to embrace silence, working off answers to new questions and “operating on the edge of uncertainty”.  Somehow the questions become the answer!

Hal Gregersen is Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management,



36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival

The annual 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival located in Nashville, Tennessee (named for latitude 36 and longitude 86) engages the startup ecosystem in substantial ways! Launch Tennessee creates the perfect balance of venues, speakers, sponsors and volunteers. Launch Tennessee CEO, Margaret Dolan helps transform Music City into an Entrepreneurship destination friendly for all startups.

Two bright summer days, engaging conversations and southern hospitality like you would not believe, create an environment that earns its national presence. Across entrepreneurship disciplines, both successes and failures are shared for the attendees benefit.

Both days, the agenda is packed with options to explore with amazing Pitch Competitions and networking events like Live on the Green concert capping each day off with a win for everyone. A keynote chat includes Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, US Senator Bob Corker and Commissioner Bob Rolfe discussing the importance of their startup friendly state and lessons learned. A main event discussion showcases Apple Machine Learning & Accessibility Research Leader Jeffrey P. Bigham. Jeffrey’s conversation reveals how carefully Apple approaches Machine Learning to ensure that it will continue to improve accessibility for all their users. He focuses on the iPhone as an example to point out each way a user engages with device covering Vision, Hearing, Mobility and Learning. One ambitious panel covers the importance of art and the creative economy with the agreed upon passionate statement, ‘Artists are Independent but Not Alone!’ in a call for community and support. Andrea Zieher, Contemporary Art Director, is leading the way on a major statewide contemporary art event in 2021 named the Tennessee Triennial.

The unique 36|86 agenda spread across venues allows for an immersive learning experience for each attendee. Entrepreneurs in need of funding are even supported with ‘Investor Speed dating’ to pitch their companies during the event and build their network!

Take a look at this two minute highlight video clip to see 36|86 for yourself!

Thank you to the amazing Launch TN team for their contribution to the startup Entrepreneurs of your great state and beyond!

Overall, 36|86 captures the essence of why Entrepreneurship Resources, Inc. believes in offering the Entrepreneurship products and trainings we do!

Save the Date for 36|86 August 26-27 2020!

by Clinton D. Swigart, CPA, MA
Entrepreneurship Resources, Inc.

NACCE 2019 Entrepreneurship Star Award

By Clinton D. Swigart

Entrepreneurship and Innovation at HCC hosts the Annual Susie Steiner Community Impact Award Breakfast with an outstanding morning reception full of laughs, tears and accomplishments. Hosts Beth Kerly and Dr. Andy Gold captivate the audience with their fun-loving antidotes inviting the audience in to feel the rollercoaster of highs and lows experienced throughout the year as if you were right there with them.

Of the awards presented, one especially is near and dear to our hearts which is this year’s NACCE Entrepreneur Star Award! The NACCE Entrepreneur Star Award presented by Rebecca Corbin, President of NACCE goes to… CLINTON E. DAY!

Here is the exciting presentation for your viewing pleasure in which Dr. Corbin explains the importance of the award given and Clinton E. Day shares highlights and lessons learned of his Entrepreneurship journey with his beautiful wife Donna (my two amazing Godparents).

Thank you all for your continued support of and our educational nonprofit Entrepreneurship Resources, Inc.

8 Wacky Entrepreneur Stories to Inspire Your Own Business Success

 The business world might appear buttoned-down from the outside – but in reality, it’s a lot more interesting than you might realize. Many entrepreneurs are known for being colorful characters, both at work and in their personal lives. After all, following rules and staying inside the lines doesn’t often make for business success! From winning seed money in a poker game to attempting to clone dinosaurs, here are eight unexpected things that entrepreneurs have done.

1. John Paul DeJoria Bounced Back from Homelessness

You’ve probably heard of Paul Mitchell hair products and Patrón tequila, but did you know these brands have a common origin? John Paul DeJoria co-founded both legendary companies, becoming a billionaire along the way. The path to success wasn’t always easy for him, though. DeJoria spent time on the streets twice. The first time he was homeless, he was only 22 and had a two-year-old son to care for. He persisted in his entrepreneurial vision, though, eventually co-founding John Paul Mitchell Systems with $700 in startup cash. Today, DeJoria is a philanthropist who supports a number of social causes. Among other things, he helps to provide resources to people dealing with homelessness.

2. David Daneshgar Won Startup Money by Playing Poker

What’s the quickest way to come up with $30,000? If you’re a card shark like David Daneshgar, the answer might be to sign up for a poker tournament. Daneshgar and two friends wanted to start an online marketplace connecting florists with customers, but they didn’t have startup cash. So Daneshgar – who won the World Series of Poker in 2008 – spent $1000 to enter a poker tournament.The grand prize of $30,000 was, coincidentally, just the amount of money they needed. At the end of the tense final round, Daneshgar told his friends what they wanted to hear: “It’s flower time.” They launched their business, BloomNation, soon afterwards.

3. Seth Priebatsch Took Dedication to a New Level – While Barefoot

In 2011, SCVNGR – a social app similar to FourSquare – was a $100 million company with a rather non-traditional CEO. Founder Seth Priebatsch, the self-described “chief ninja” of the company, was 22 years old at the time, and he had a habit of eschewing footwear at the office. He also sported a bright orange shirt every day and rarely went home from work, preferring to sleep in his office. Priebatsch transformed SCVNGR into a mobile payments platform called LevelUpin 2012, but he kept his title of Chief Ninja and his signature orange shirt.

4. Nicholas Berggruen Decided Not to Bother Buying a House

For most billionaire businesspeople, having more than one home is par for the course. But for years, Nicholas Berggruen avoided ever buying a house at all. He opted to live exclusively in hotels while traveling the world instead, which earned him the curious nickname of “the homeless billionaire.” Recently, though, Berggruen decided to put down some roots. He finally bought a $40 million house in 2017, perhaps wishing to give his two young children a stable place to grow up.

5. Mark Zuckerberg Killed His Own Food

In 2011, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg undertook a personal challenge to only eat meat that he killed himself. He announced this challenge to the world with his now-infamous status update, “I just killed a pig and a goat,” on May 4, 2011. Zuckerberg soon clarified that he took on the challenge in an effort to learn about sustainable farming and to consume resources more responsibly. The change wasn’t permanent, though. After the year-long challenge was over, Zuckerberg went back to buying meat at the store.

6. Clive Palmer Tried to Clone a Dinosaur

What if Jurassic Park wasn’t just a movie? Eccentric Australian businessman Clive Palmer wanted to make dinosaurs a reality through cloning, and he went so far as to discuss the idea with scientists. This happened in 2012, and since cloning techniques still haven’t advanced enough to bring back extinct species, it doesn’t look like Palmer’s dreams will be coming to fruition anytime soon. However, his love for dinosaurs abides. In 2013, he opened a theme park called Palmersaurus that features over 160 enormous dinosaur replicas.

7. Mark Benioff Staged a Protest to Steal a Competitor’s Spotlight

Mark Benioff, one of the founders of Salesforce, is notorious for coming up with over-the-top (and sometimes inflammatory) marketing gimmicks. Most famously, he once orchestrated a fake protest at a Siebel Systems conference, complete with picket signs, chanting, and even a fake TV crew. This drummed up a lot of attention for Salesforce at his rival’s expense. On another occasion, Benioff arranged to rent an airport’s entire taxi fleet right before another Siebel event was held nearby. He then had his employees pitch Salesforce on the way to the event, much to Siebel’s displeasure.

8. Robert Klark Graham Tried to Create a Genius Sperm Bank

Robert K. Graham was an entrepreneur who invented shatter-proof lenses for eyeglasses. Today, though, he’s probably better remembered for the controversial sperm bank he started. Called the Repository for Germinal Choice, this sperm bank only accepted donations from people who were considered extraordinary in some way. Some were Nobel prize winners, some were geniuses, and some were gifted athletes. Graham’s reason for starting the sperm bank? He wanted to create a better human gene pool – a mission that did not go over well with many people, who compared his ideas to Nazi eugenics programs. The sperm bank was closed in 1999, two years after Graham’s death. It claimed to have produced 229 children during its 19 years of operation.

Wrapping Up

Entrepreneurship tends to attract people with unique minds and strong personalities, and that can make for a lot of interesting stories. Do you have any wacky entrepreneur moments of your own to share? We’d love to read your stories, whether inspiring or just plain entertaining, in the comments below!

By Adam Heitzman Co-founder, HigherVisibility, Published in Inc. Magazine March 2018

Opportunities Everywhere.

“When you think like an entrepreneur, you see everything around you differently.”

A few months ago, my wife and I were brainstorming ways to market our novel.  We spend three years writing it together -it’s called Mr. Nice Guy, and it  comes out October 16.  And as any author knows, publicizing and marketing a book is tough.  It’s a crowded space, few publications cover books in any meaningful way, and readers are hard to reach.

We stared into the air for a while.  Then, I thought, What would happen if I stopped looking at this like an author, and started doing it like an entrepreneur?  And with that, a new world opened up.  I don’t see entrepreneurship as a career  choice.  It’s a mindset.  That’s the thing I marvel at most when spending time with brilliant entrepreneurs,  and it’s the skill I think everyone should continually hone.  When you think like an entrepreneur, it like wearing augmented reality glasses.  You see the same things as everyone else, but you see them differently.  They appear as inactive opportunities, just waiting to be achieved.  All you need is to find a new way for something old to be useful.

There are ample famous examples of this, of course.  Airbnb realized that a house isn’t just a house;  it’s a rentable space.  Uber resized that a car isn’t just a car; it’s a taxi service.  But his happens on a smaller scale, too. Consider the inventor of a butter dish called Butteries, who told me she couldn’t afford $10,000 ini market research.  She realized the airport wasn’t just a place to travel;  it was actually a perfect polling place, filled with people who have nothing better to do than answer questions about butter dishes, and so she began showing up early for flights and surveying travelers.  Or take the man I interviewed whose camera equipment business was slowing.  He realized Amazon wasn’t just aside to sell products -it was really a giant R & D Lab, where he could scour reviews of other products to meet the commenters’ specific desires.  “I like this clock, but I wish the numbers were bigger”, someone might write.  Bingo.  Today his company, C+A Global, sells tens of thousands of products and has offices around the world.

So, I started thinking about what I’d overlooked.  What had I once thought of as just a part of my book, but that was really an inactive opportunity?  And then aha!  There’s a critical scene that features a remote-controlled vibrator.  (You weren’t expecting that, I bet.  Mr. Nice Guy is a romantic comedy about two people who each week sleep together and then critically review each other’s performance in a magazine.)  What if the vibrator wasn’t just any ol’ vibrator but was instead …some brand’s vibrator?  I called the adult product company Adam & Eve with a proposal:  I’d put them in the scene, in exchange for them emailing their entire list about our book. They said yes.  Interactive opportunity: activated.  This was exciting.  And, addictive!  I kept going.  Would Elliott Clark, a well-respected cocktail creator I met who goes by Apartment Bartender, make drinks inspired by the book?  Sounds fun, he said.  Most authors launch their books at bookstores, but…what if that’s actually an interactive opportunity?  I emailed a friend at WeWork; would they host our party and invite members?  Yes, they would!  Now, back to Elliott;  Would he come?  Yes!  Could he get us a liquor sponsor?  Yes!  Opportunities everywhere!

This thinking is equal parts thrill and anxiety.  There’s the thrill of finding opportunities and the anxiety of never possibly finding them all.  But at least there’s a solution:  Make the mindset a habit.  Do it until it become second nature, until you can’t remember what it was like to not see opportunity everywhere.  You’ll see more every day.  Why else do you think I wrote this month’s column the way I have?  This, right here, was an opportunity I needed to activate.  Now you can let me know if I was successful.

Jason Feifer is Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, reprinted with his kind permission.