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Five Things Every Entrepreneur Must Do to be Successful

An entrepreneurs must take risks to gain the most rewards. (A businesswoman; Image Credit – Freepik)

SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

The entrepreneurial process is made up of trial-and-error. But to help you avoid the pitfalls that most first time entrepreneurs make, we have compiled a list of the top five things that are non-negotiable in entrepreneurship.

1.  Identify the Market Need and Focus on the Customer

Many companies launch a variety of products that might be the best in class but fail to achieve success. What these companies failed to zero in is to identify whether there is a need for their product or service in the market. One such example is of the Segway. Some investors considered it the future of transport but failed to take into account how many people would like to use such a vehicle to travel locally or to work. In the end, it looked like a glorified skateboard and failed to drum up customer interest. When it was launched, after months of secrecy, it was panned for being dorky rather than cool. No to mention the numerous accidents that took place.

Entrepreneurship involves empathizing with a customer’s needs and helping them overcome their problems. Successful entrepreneurs consistently seek feedback to improve their product.

2. Figure Out Your Values and Mission

A mission statement communicates the purpose of the organization while values work as your North Star. Your company’s values reflect its core principles and ethics, and motivate people to push forward even in times of trouble. A written mission statement also makes it easy to reject anything that does not align with your values.

Good brands combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into their mission statements. For Patagonia, its mission statement is – We’re in the business to save our home planet. It is this principle that has influenced how the organization functioned and the billionaire owner’s decision to entrust company to a trust.

Entrepreneurship calls us to connect with our customers in a way that resonates with their values system and identity. Successful entrepreneurs recognize people’s inherent need to belong and ensure that their business is inclusive.

3.  Be Ready to Take Calculated Risks

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” It goes with saying that one of the top things entrepreneurs must do is take calculated risks to let their businesses grow. Entrepreneurship calls for a risk-analysis and action plan.

A big wave surfer often rides seemingly dangerous waves. But what is scary to the average person provides unparalleled thrill to the surfer as she goes into it well-prepared and relies on her skills to make it out to the other side. Although it is risky to enter turbulent waters, just like professional surfers, young entrepreneurs must make it a habit to take calculated risks for the sake of their business.

Perhaps, the best example of taking calculated risks can be found in the baby formula market in the US. A $4 billion enterprise that was dominated by three established giants was disrupted by two startups that did their research and boldly ventured into this highly FDA-regulated market. Both ByHeart and Bobbie understood what their new-age consumers were looking for and meticulously planned their business before deciding to take on the Goliaths of the baby formula industry. As luck would have it, the pandemic helped propel the businesses into the limelight where new parents were looking for healthier alternatives to available baby food. 
entrepreneurial process and entrepreneurship.

4.  Financial Planning

Any business that is not a money-making machine, is bleeding money. Financial planning is necessary for making key business decisions that will decide the future of your company. Analyzing data to understand where you stand and where you want to go is imperative towards avoiding costly mistakes.

Successful entrepreneurs know their numbers and are familiar with the balance sheet. One of the must dos for entrepreneurs is to understand business financials so that you can make a solid case when you seek out investors. Taking the time to understand the data helps you detect blind spots before they become problem areas and make informed decisions.


Without a few calculated risks, it is impossible to move forward. (A man playing chess ponders his next move; Image Credit – Vlada Karpovich/ Pexels)
For any business to thrive, the key is to not let failure deter you. Learning from your mistakes helps you refine your service or product to the customer’s taste. Successful entrepreneurs recognize that we learn more from our failures than our successes. Failures are life’s way of telling us that we have veered off course and to evaluate the situation to get back on track.

One person who understands this is intimate apparel Spanx’s founder Sara Blakely. After starting out small, she continually sought feedback to figure out what worked and didn’t work for her clients. Blakely looked at mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve her product line. What started with a $5,000 investment in 1998 eventually turned into a billion-dollar empire.

One of the most popular female entrepreneurs in the world, Sara Blakely, says that entrepreneurship is about being “willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.”

Another example is gaming company Rovio. Even after 51 of their games failed to become hits, they did not give up and continued working to give people what they would like. The 52nd game they launched was Angry Birds. As of 2021, the company had revenues of $326.6 billion and has spawned an empire of angry birdies.

Although the list of top things entrepreneurs must do can run long, these five points will help you get your business off the ground. For any entrepreneur, learning can come from books, real-life experiences, and mentorship. As the year comes to a close, entrepreneurs can set new year resolutions to find success. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and to never let the curveballs of life force you to make a U-turn.
Without a few calculated risks, it is impossible to move forward. (A man playing chess ponders his next move; Image Credit – Vlada Karpovich/ Pexels)

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Entrepreneurship & Motivation, Part 2

Motivation of students is important to all teachers at every level.  We worry over students who appear disengaged, attend sporadically, or whose cell phones seems busy with social media rather than note taking.  The ideal classroom contains students who are motivated to learn, attend classes, participate during class, and make an effort to prepare.  Consequently, understanding student motivation and designing classes to improve desire can make a big difference in learning and performance.

In an earlier blog below, we described motivation theory.  There is a fundamental human need for autonomy and self-determination that can tapped to motivate.  The more we give students a sense of control by providing choices the better students are motivated.  Comparing intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation we made the case intrinsic is the best type because students value activities more than an external rewards (grades).  Students can be motivated for the pleasure of learning and by setting their own educational path.  Teaching entrepreneurship has taught  facilitators that intrinsic, experiential-type learning promotes understanding, develops creativity and increases involvement.  Self-discovery while engaged in a project can by itself impart knowledge, and students want to learn more.  If the instructor can stimulate curiosity, offer choice and provide challenges in an activity, students are motivated to engage.

We emphasized the importance of motivation to the entrepreneurial process, and made the case using evidenced-based facts, anyone can build a successful startup so long as there is overwhelming desire.    Motivated to perform one’s best and persist in the face of obstacles makes entrepreneurs successful.  Motivation is described as a desire to do something with your personal life, work or any pursuit.  Babe Ruth said, “it’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”  How then can we help others achieve their goals, realize their desires or reach their objectives?  Humans, being complex beings, have made motivation both a science and an art.  Different people are motivated by different things.  Purpose can be a great motivator.  When someone makes progress and sees a project to fruition, they were invariably highly motivated.

Because knowing what motivates other people and desiring to influence other people, it’s important to know how a person acts upon their needs.  American psychologist Abraham Maslow in a 1943 paper, Theory of Human Motivation, related needs to stages of human growth per his famous triangle below:

These needs are split between deficiency and growth.  Maslow explained humans intrinsically (inherently) take part in this motivation behavior.  Each stage must be satisfied for motivation to rise through the pyramid. The goal of the hierarchy is to attain the highest level or self-actualization at the top, a stage of self-transcendence, the most inclusive level of human consciousness.  Psychologist Steven Reiss argues that there are core motives based on values.  Knowing how we and others prioritize these motives can explain why we do the things we do. Some of these motives are:

  1. Curiosity – The desire for knowledge and experience.
  2. Acceptance – The desire for inclusion.
  3. Order – The desire for organization.
  4. Physical activity – The desire for the exercise of muscles.
  5. Honor – The desire to be loyal to one’s parents and heritage.
  6. Power – The desire to influence others.
  7. Independence – The desire for self-reliance.
  8. Social contact – The desire for companionship.

If we want to motivate other people, we must learn what motivates them.  

Here’s a list of how to use these values to motivate someone:

  1. Use specific, not generic, motivational words -say the person’s name and tailor words to suit the situation.
  2. Use “I” instead of “you” phrasing -“you’ puts them on the defensive while “I” offers encouragement and support.
  3. Motivate with positivity, not negativity -negative approaches do not work.
  4. Prioritize their activities over results -focus your motivational efforts on the “climb” rather than the “summit”.
  5. Identify smaller goals in the big picture -it’s easier to see success when goals are smaller.
  6. Praise for working hard -motivate future achievements by rewarding current efforts.
  7. Encourage them to reward themselves -self-praise is a great motivator.
  8. Don’t go overboard with commitments -prioritize quality motivational words, not quantity.

Educational consultant Axelrod says there are a variety of reasons why someone may not be motivated in which case he recommends talking to them, asking about their personal life and reasons for not being interested.  He advises to always encourage people, be helpful and supportive, change their perspective, and break goals into manageable changes.  If an instructor can arouse the student’s curiosity, present the right kind of challenge and offer choices to enhance control, they have exceled at intrinsic motivation.  This method is not to say extrinsic motivation cannot improve the mix.  Extrinsic rewards at the beginning of a course are productive while the student gains a mastery of the subject.  Earning a good grade can also foster an increased interest in the material.  Rewards are more beneficial when they involve feedback that helps students improve by providing specific actions.

Another form of motivation is the expectancy-value where students direct effort towards activities they value and for which they have an expectancy of success.  Instructors do best when they motivate using both methods -student expectancy for success along with value in the outcome.  Entrepreneurship projects are more successful worked in teams.  While a successful startup venture can be quite valuable, the expectancy of success is greater with diverse teammates bringing complimentary skills to the table.  A good motivator points out the benefits to be realized by accomplishing the task or goal, and his or her enthusiasm and passion can be contagious.  Appeal to student autonomy with experiential exercises, build fun and variety into the curriculum, lavish praise on students, bring excitement to the course, call students by name and show a personal interest, and tell stories to make a point.  Both students and faculty will be richly rewarded by enjoyment, understanding and self-actualization.

 

The Importance of Motivation to Entrepreneurship

“Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” 
― Les Brown

Motivation is key to learning entrepreneurship.  Research has shown motivated learning acquire  skills and strategies faster than task learning and influences what, when and how we learn.  On the journey from having a unique business idea to making it profitable and sustainable, an entrepreneur may experience moments of frustration.  Motivation can keep entrepreneurs on a continued path during these moments.  To achieve objectives entrepreneurs must be hard-working.  It is an inner energy that affects the direction and intensity of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is about taking risks and coming up with innovative solutions to real-life problems.  Of key attributes of an entrepreneur, none is more important than motivation –risk-taking, passion, hard work, innovation, organization and…motivation.  For entrepreneurs, self-belief is crucial to motivation.  It is a tough task to start something new, and it becomes even tougher when people are doubtful about the practicality of the venture. The desire and motivation to keep focusing on the tasks and to work hard are keys to growing into successful entrepreneurs.

After thirty years as a serial entrepreneur (insurance agencies) and fifteen years teaching entrepreneurship (adjunct professor), I have come to strongly believe in the evidenced-based, “lean” entrepreneurship method.  Almost anyone using customer development evidence can build a successful business provided they want it bad enough and have sufficient motivational desire.  It becomes the secret to building a successful venture and makes understanding and cultivating motivation meaningful.  Entrepreneurs need to understand, tap into, and sustain their motivation to start a business, but they also need to be able to motivate others to buy into their vision.

Influences on wanting to be an entrepreneur include greater freedom (you are the boss and make the decisions), greater income (everything after taxes and expenses belongs to the entrepreneur), greater influence (desire to have control over the product) and leaving an impact or legacy in a field.  The benefits of entrepreneurship are independence, satisfaction, self-esteem and, as above, financial security.  “The Bible”, Motivation in Education, by Dale Schunk, Judith Meece, and Paul Pintrich treats the history of motivation (early 20th. Century and around 1970 for cognitive perspective), and three theories -attribution, social cognitive, and intrinsic motivation.

While attribution theory uses emotions, the pride, shame angle, and the fact social cognitive deals with motivation from mental processes (beliefs, rules), it is the intrinsic motivation that applies the most to entrepreneurship.  This motivation engages for its own sake and depends on arousal and incongruity (vs. extrinsic or means to an end motivation).  People who are intrinsically motivated work on tasks because they find them enjoyable. Task participation is its own reward and does not depend on rewards or constraints.  Lepper and Hodell identified four major sources of intrinsic motivation -challenge, curiosity, control, and fantasy

“Students find activities challenging, as when goals are a challenge and success not certain.”  It might depend on learners’ curiosity arising from activities that are surprising or incongruous.  Intrinsic motivation derives from students experiencing a sense of control over their learning and task participation.  Activities that help learners become involved in make-believe and fantasy also enhance intrinsic motivation.  These latter characteristics of intrinsic nature are why learning from experiential exercises has become common in entrepreneurship training. The locus of control and personal causation, a feeling of control over one’s life and an awareness of the effects of one’s actions motivate inherently.

Professor Sara Sarasvathy’s (UVA) Theory of Effectuation from her 2001 book  “Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise” found entrepreneurs are essential to economic development because they put capital to use, explore new ideas, and take risks, but most importantly they tolerate uncertainty.  She defines this element of inner motivation as “effectuation: the logic of thinking used by expert entrepreneurs to build successful ventures”.  It’s impossible to predict the future; effectual thinkers believe that “If they can control the future, they don’t need to predict it.”

Entrepreneurship develops students by forcing them to think, create and solve for themselves.  It empowers them and changes their lives for the better.  By teaching customer questioning, concept presentation, working in a diverse team, controlling time, and having ownership of their work students evolve intrinsically and over time into entrepreneurs.  As Ernest Holmes said, “change your thinking and change your life.”

Edited by Clinton E Day, MBA with contributions from Techfunnel and WorldNewEra

November is Entrepreneurship Month

2022 National Entrepreneurship Month ~ November 14, 2022

November is National Entrepreneurship Month, a time to reflect on the concept of small business creation and their contribution to a healthy economy.  We celebrate the doers, dreamers, and job creators whose vision and girt fuel our economy and capture the essence of America.  Starting and owning a business has always been a key path to the American dream –a way to build wealth, serve your neighbors, and leave a mark in a community and on the world.  Requiring risk-taking and daring, entrepreneurs faced additional challenges during the pandemic and the economic crisis that it created.  Two years ago, hundreds of thousands of small businesses struggled to find workers and stock their shelves.  As we recovered, Americans have responded with entrepreneurial spirit, seizing the opportunity to build new businesses and launch new careers.

Today, American entrepreneurship is booming, A record 5.4 million new businesses were started in 2021, over 20 percent more than any year on record.  New entrepreneurship rates have increased the most among minorities, particularly in Hispanic and Black communities.  The American Rescue Plan distributed $450 billion in emergency relief to more than 6 million businesses at the height of the pandemic.  The Restaurant Revitalization Fund kept restaurants open.  Expanded State Small Business Credit Initiative is helping entrepreneurs tap $10 billion in investment and loans, and the Minority Business Development Agency is being made permanent to boost minority entrepreneurs’ access to capital and markets. 

Meanwhile, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, railways, and ports so businesses can get goods to consumers quickly and affordably.  It is bringing high-speed broadband to small towns and rural areas so Americans anywhere can run a business online.  The CHIPS and Science Act is making historic investments in semiconductor companies that produce the tiny computer chips that power everything from smartphones to cars –benefitting thousands of smaller businesses along the supply chain.  The Inflation Reduction Act is slashing health insurance and energy costs for entrepreneurs, increasing research-and-development tax credits, and incentivizing manufacturers to American suppliers, creating good-paying jobs.  The government is. Investing in small business support and STEM education to give entrepreneurs access to the skills and workforce needed to thrive.  When the federal government spends taxpayer money to buy the things it needs, its buys them from American companies –including from small, disadvantaged businesses, to whom government has already awarded a record amount of contracting dollars.  

“I have long said that America can be defined in one word: possibilities.  Entrepreneurs’ willingness to take risks, work hard, and make possibilities come alive.  They turn vision into reality and ideas into products, profits, and national prosperity.  This month, we celebrate their contributions as a point of national pride and recommit to giving them the space and support to make sure America wins the 21st century.  Now, therefore, I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority invested in me proclaim November 2022 as National Entrepreneurship Month and November 15th as National Entrepreneurs’ Day.”

The importance of entrepreneurs can’t be overlooked. Entrepreneurs identify and solve our most pressing problems, delivering products and services that increase our collective economic and national security, and our individual prosperity and well-being. They transform innovative ideas into new technologies and new markets and remain a steady presence in the daily rhythms of our communities. Ultimately, they catalyze growth, create jobs, and increase U.S. competitiveness. As we face ever more complex challenges—climate change, pandemics, growing inequality, deteriorating trust—entrepreneurs rise to meet them, inventing, deploying, and delivering innovative new technologies. Broadband undergirds our information-rich economy. Reliable supply chains via roads, rail, ports, airports, and innovative last-mile transportation enable product creation and delivery. Unique, cutting-edge testing and demonstration facilities at our national laboratories facilitate the transition of breakthrough technologies into markets and communities. The right kinds of capital available at the right times ensures that businesses have resources that match their growth needs. And human infrastructure, like childcare, healthcare, and workforce development systems, makes entrepreneurship more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Here are eleven ways to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Month:

  1.  Support with a purchase.  National Entrepreneurship Month is best celebrated by purchasing something from an entrepreneur. You can also show your support by recommending that small business or entrepreneurs to others.
  2. Connect with entrepreneurs on social media.  It goes without saying that most entrepreneurs have an online presence and use social media to promote their businesses and themselves. Follow them across social media platforms is a great way to support them.
  3. Patronize Crowdfunding Campaigns.  Consider looking at Kickstarter or another crowdfunding website to support an entrepreneur.  Kickstarter launched many household names, including Exploding Kittens, Tile, Fidget Cube, the Coolest Cooler, and Occulus.
  4. Start you own business.  Has starting your own business what you’ve always dreamed about? This month, make the leap!
  5. Become a mentor.  Mentor a new entrepreneur who is just starting out. Perhaps some of the knowledge you’ve picked up over the years will be of value to them, even if you think you don’t have much to share.
  6. Take up teaching.  Learn how to teach small business basics to your chamber of commerce by volunteering to help college students with their interview skills. As well as assisting others, you will gain knowledge for yourself as well. 
  7. Get involved politically.  Contact your local congress member and ask them to introduce or support legislation that will help entrepreneurs. You could ask them to defer tax liability for founders during the first couple years of business.
  8. Attend a conference.  By attending industry conference and events, you can connect with your peers, find partners, close deals, and rediscover your passion. 
  9. Make an Introduction.  There is a need for office space for startups. As well as marketing, materials, and advice.  They also need workers, beta testers, and, most importantly, customers.
  10.  Join (Start) an Angel Network.  Despite the popularity of venture capital, angel money backs more startups –roughly 64,000 each year, according to the Angel Capital Association.
  11.  Be Thankful.  It is important to thank your mentor, if you have one, for the guidance and support they provide. Send them a thank you card or take them to lunch as a special gesture. 

                Courtesy of the White House and Entrepreneur Magazine Author John Rampton

The Startup Pitch

The startup pitch is one of the most important skills you can develop as a founder, and the quality of your pitch is a critical part of getting traction and growing your company.

A startup pitch is an attempt by a founder to communicate their business idea to potential investors, clients, partners, or even employees. The most common purpose of the pitch is to get money from investors in exchange for equity in the business. When founders try to raise capital from angel investors or venture capitalists, they are making a startup pitch.

In short, any time you’re trying to close a deal, whether it’s attracting a new hire or landing a Series A funding deal, you’ll need to pitch your startup. While pitch decks are commonly used, a startup pitch can be entirely verbal, such as over a phone call.

What is the elevator pitch?

The elevator pitch is a short summary of your company — and it typically takes about 15 seconds to say everything you need to say about the business. The idea is for investors to get an overview of what you do in as little time as possible.

YCombinator is a world-class startup incubator and accelerator. YCombinator offers plenty of helpful advice for startup pitching, such as that “a great pitch is one where you can tell it to your mom and she gets it.” This means that you need to do much more than just talk about your company — you need to be able to explain it in a clear and concise way.

You should also be prepared for a wide variety of questions. Investors will want to know about your team, the problem you’re solving, how you plan to execute that solution, and what makes you and your company different from other startups in the same space. 

Doing well at YCombinator isn’t easy — only 1.5% to 3% of companies that apply make it through their rigorous process to become accepted. And if you don’t, there are plenty of opportunities online to build networks as well.

What are some common mistakes founders make?

One of the most common mistakes founders make in their pitch is focusing too much on the product. While it’s important to highlight how your product works, you should also spend time highlighting the problem that you’re trying to solve and how your startup will solve that problem.

Another common mistake is failing to communicate their passion and enthusiasm for their startup. This is especially important when speaking with investors, as they’ll be able to tell if you’re truly passionate about your business or just going through the motions. This is also reflected in the vision and mission statements that you include in your business plan.

Lastly, many founders fail to properly structure their pitch. It’s important for your pitch to have a logical beginning, middle, and end, so that it flows smoothly and doesn’t feel like a jumble of words thrown together without any order.

Avoiding these mistakes can help you stand out to investors; however, if you’re talking with the wrong type of investor, then even a perfect pitch will fall flat. That’s what makes finding curated investor networks so important

Elevator Pitch | An Investor Suddenly Changed the Terms Mid-Deal?

Teachers Are the Motivators

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level. She taught at elementary high school, junior high school and special educational level Institute, and was known for being a popular counselor, coordinator and an assistant principal.

“Level Up”, Great New Startup Book

Rise Above the Hidden Forces Holding Your Business Back

An inspiring and revelatory guide to starting and scaling a small business, form powerhouse duo Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson. Lara Hodgson is Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Harvard Business School, and Stacy Abrams is a two time candidate for Governor of Georgia and voting rights activist.

Like man business owners, renowned politician and activist Stacey Abrams didn’t start a business because she dreamed of calling herself an entrepreneur. Her parti-time post (and its $17,310 annual salary) as a member for the Georgia House of Representatives necessitated striking out on her own as a consultant–her first small business. Then, Stacy and her friend Lara Hodgson launched an infrastructure advisory firm–named Insomnia Consulting because the did their best thinking at 3:00 AM–and then another business, and then another.

Fifteen years into their entrepreneurial journey together, they have tackled the obstacles that many business owners face: how to grown sustainably, hire thoughtfully, and keep up with the Goliaths in your industry.

Now, for the first time, Stacey and Lara share their inspiring and relatable personal story and lessons learned the hard way to show how every business owner can confront the forces that conspire to keep small businesses small. Lauded for there “resilient, visionary leadership” (Barack Obama) and celebrated as “passionate advocate of democracy” (Madeleine Albright), Stacey now brings there fierce sense of justice to the challenges that America’s business owners face. Level Up arms readers with the confidence, know-how, and savvy to overcome the obstacles that hold their businesses back.

Some of the chapter include Watch Out for the Grizzlies”, “It’s Not What You Know, It’s What You Notice”, “Hire Patience, Hire Patiently”, “Cash Is King, But Flow Is Queen”, “Know Your Numbers”, and “The Big Bad Wolf”.

Your editor has read, used and written several books on entrepreneurship, but this book is unique in that it shows how business owners can confront the forces that conspire to keep them small. Lara is founder CEO of Nowcorp.com, a service that enables businesses to get paid actual revenues immediately. Heather Cabot, an award-winning journalist and ABC News correspondent assisted in the writing.

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20th Annual NACCE Conference a Smash Hit.

Held at the beautiful Park Plaza Hotel in Boston on October 2nd-5th, this year was the 20th anniversary of this group of community college entrepreneurship educators, partners, and students coming together to share knowledge. Increasingly over the last few years, NACCE* has taken the lead innovating new programs, strategically partnering, and joining forces with other organizations. Among their accomplishments are venture funding for inner city, disadvantaged entrepreneurs, designing niche programs for veteran entrepreneurs adopted by IVMF Syracuse, and combing colleges with corporate America to produce things likes a Verizon STEM program for young girls, an Intuit education partnership bringing Quicken Books to members, a certificate badging of small businesses courses , and intellectual property and financial literacy. *National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.

Much of this progress is owed to NACCE’s dynamic leader, Rebecca (Becky) Corbin whose background included foundation leadership, non-profit consulting, and successful fund raising. With a masters in public administration and a doctorate in organizational leadership, Becky has a “magic touch, which, as a long-time member, your editor can attest has revolutionized NACCE into the value entrepreneurship organization in the country. Her team produced wonderful expert panels of over the conference, among them “Unleash Every Student’s Talent”, “Infusing Entrepreneurship into the Skilled Trades”, and “The Power of Ideation in Colleges and Communities”.

Beside these panel discussions, there were workshop sessions, “The Impact of Invention Education”, “Multiple Dimensions of Diversity Exercise”, and Throwout the Textbook and Teach through Experience”. Motivation was part of the menu with author David Gaudet speaking “Be Better at Being Human: Pillar Competencies for Life and Work”, and my special colleague from Hillsborough Community College Tampa, Dr. Andy Gold, organizing and leading an early morning conga line.

One program close to my heart is the EEVF, Everyday Entrepreneurship Venture Fund, established by Chip and Stuart Weismiller and embraced by NACCE. Stuart is a former community college President married to a successful tech entrepreneur. Together they saw a vision of leveraging college resources to launch new businesses by provide training, mentoring, seed funding and loans to would-be entrepreneurs who are women, people of color, veterans and others who do not qualify for traditional financing. They reported the program is now in eleven states supporting local economies through entrepreneurship.

Much is focused on the entrepreneurial mindset, a set of skills that enable people to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setback, and succeed in a variety of settings. The conference had two excellent sessions about this core ingredient of entrepreneurship education. A pre- conference the first day present by ELI, the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, taught how to learn to think and act like an entrepreneur based on the Ice House Program, an experiential process through the entrepreneurial mindset. Additionally, Stephanie Couch and Leigh Estabrooks of Lemelson-MIT offered a breakout secession titled, “Invention Mindset: How to Infuse in Your Classroom through Making”

Above Becky Corbin leads one of the most valuable panels, the one on venture funding crucial to the startup activities across the U. S. The panel members were left to right Andy Still, the Kauffman Foundation, Landon Phillips, Singleton Foundation, Thom Ruhe, NC Idea, and Phil Weilerstein, VentureWell with Becky Corbin moderating. What stuck the audience was the enormity of funding from source like I-Corps (NSF), grants, SBA, subsidies, foundations, crowdfunding sites, business credit cards, and the EDA (Dept. of Commerce).

One is left with the feeling of family attending a NACCE conference first and every time. It is a collaborative group who want to work together for good, and this 20th conference showcased the value of NACCE from start to finish.

The Value of the DE&I Movement

MedTrans Go is a B2B healthcare appointment optimization marketplace solving the $150B problem of medical appointment cancellations in the U. S. Using a tech-enables portal the company coordinates patient care.

Your editor as a member of the Innov8GA.org consortium of metro Atlanta and North Georgia entrepreneurship educators attended the organization’s fall conference Sept. 27th at the Emory University incubator The Hatchery. The theme of DE&I was enlightening to those outside of the specialty. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), three words that have recently been grouped together are used to designate any role or initiative that aims to strengthen exactly what they define. The phrase also broadly outlines the efforts an institution takes ot create a more welcoming environment of people of less privileged identities.

*white anglo-saxon protestant. this usually refers to affluent people in the new england area, but also whites of “old money” in other areas throughout the country.

Two panels were outstanding, the first designing inclusive teaching for entrepreneurship and the second exploring inclusive accessibility to entrepreneurship ecosystems. Among the participants were educators from Spelman College’s Blackstone Launchpad, GA Tech’s Social Innovation Center, Emory University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), Georgia State’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI) and practitioners from Goodie Nation, GA Tech’s VentureLab, the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund, and the HBCU Founders Initiative. These panel members by themselves represented diversity providing a wide spectrum of players in the field practicing D, E & I.

For a mainstream former entrepreneur and WASP* adjunct professor the discussions were heartfelt and revealing. One lady professor “told it like it is” flat saying access to entrepreneurship was limited by race. Metro Atlanta is the exception because it is the chief African American middle class city and an educational hub. For this reason these panels were a perfect representation of the Atlanta entrepreneurship ecosystem.

*White anglo-saxon protestant. this usually refers to affluent people in the new england area, but also whites of “old money” in other areas throughout the country.

Editor Clint was glad he was in attendance. Asking to address the group at the end of the second panel, I gave my own experience inside the community college system as a member of the advisory board to NACCE.com, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. I have seen first hand the impact entrepreneurship has on minorities and disadvantaged persons. It is simply impactful and changes the course of peoples lives. Our poster student is Rodney Walker who was growing up listless and a high school senior on the Southside of Chicago. Curious, he took an elective course in entrepreneurship, and his life changed abruptly. Not only did Rodney start his own business, but he applied to Morehouse College getting accepted on probation. The rest, as they say, is history (see https://www.nacce.com/contacts/rodney-walker#).

Entrepreneurship is an experiential learning experience, students learning by creating and building themselves often in teams. They learn self-efficacy, how to present in front of others, follow steps to build a new enterprise, and self satisfy their own work. It is a transformative experience because they begin to think entrepreneurially, the so-called entrepreneurial mindset takes over. They see opportunity and visions others do not, and they learn how to reduce risk to an acceptable level. In a mentor process they are exposed to successful role models and get one-on-one attention. Because the learning is fun, they improve in other areas of education and acquire interest, often becoming passionate about their work.

Among my travels across the U. S. to entrepreneurship programs and conferences, two programs stand out, and they were shared with the Innov8GA organization. One is the EEVF, the Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund run by NACCE.com and founded by a former college president and her husband, a tech business founder. The other is a well-know professor’s focus over time on poverty entrepreneurship. Dr. Mike Morris invented the Experimental Classroom for Entrepreneurship which I had the privilege of taking at the University of Florida. He has since moved onto Notre Dame University’s Keough School of Global Affairs and founded the UPBI Poverty Entrepreneurship Program. UPBI stands for Urban Poverty and Business Initiative, and designed to to advance knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for poverty alleviation.

Michael H. Morris, Ph.D Senior Professor of Entrepreneurship and USASBE Longenecker Fellow.

Dr. Morris focus after forty years is this endeavor which has successful enrolled 23 communities as diverse at several U. S. cities, the UK, France, Germany, Uganda, Nigeria, Canada, Pakistan, Ecuador, Bolivia, South Africa, etc. Because poverty is pervasive throughout the world, entrepreneurship has success at raising populations not just economically but issue of food security, housing, chronic health problems, transportation, safety, limited education. and limited social networks. Through this program over 80% of a given cohort end up with a formalized operating business and 35% reach a place of sustainability. Families are able to move out of poverty and experience the self-efficacy, the belief one can be successful at a specific task, i. e., starting a small micro-business.

Entrepreneurship not only raises self-worth, but it teaches by experience developing abilities to present in front of others, social skills, and most importantly it is fun to create one’s own version of a personal concept. Low-income and disadvantaged individuals are just as talented and have the same aspirations as others with different circumstance but just have not had the same opportunities to grow. These program focused on less advantaged populations are truly the most life changing of any use of entrepreneurship. More and more foundations and non-profits are discovering the impact of training populations long neglected from independent business. We leave the reader with our NACCE.com “poster child”, one Rodney Walker, who took an entrepreneurship course in a Chicago Southside high school, got into Morehouse College on probation, and, as they say, “the rest is history.” You can read about his journey at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/a-young-author-and-entrep_b_9632816. Editor.

The Rise of the Rest

In 2014, Steve Case launched Revolution’s Rise of the Rest, an initiative to accelerate the growth of tech startups across the country. Rise of the Rest is based on a simple idea: cities can be renewed and rise again if they develop a vibrant startup culture. A visionary entrepreneur himself, Case believes that great entrepreneurs can be found anywhere, and can thrive with the proper support and investment. In fact, they’re key to the American DNA. After all, America itself was a startup. It struggled to get going and almost didn’t make it. Today it’s the leader of the free world, in part because it has the world’s largest economy—a testament to several generations of pioneering entrepreneurs. But America needs help keeping its promises, as it is harder today for innovators who live outside the major tech hubs. For most of the past decade, seventy-five percent of venture capital has gone to just three states—California, New York, and Massachusetts—while the forty-seven states making up the rest of the country have been forced to share the remaining twenty-five percent. And it’s even harder for some people no matter where they live. Less than ten percent of venture capital currently goes to female founders, and less than one percent to Black founders. Since new companies—startups—are responsible for net new job creation, it is essential that entrepreneurs everywhere have the opportunity to start and scale companies. Rise of the Rest is about leveling the playing field for everybody, and in the process creating opportunity and jobs for the people and places that have been left behind. This book tells that story and provides a hopeful perspective on the future of America.

In The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream, Case takes readers on an exhilarating journey into the startup communities that are transforming cities nationwide. Rise of the Rest’s signature road trips, on a big red tour bus, have created significant local and national buzz and spotlighted communities large and small that have committed to a new tech-enabled future. Along the way, Case introduces readers to dozens of entrepreneurs whose inspirational stories of struggle and achievement match the most iconic examples of American invention.

To date, Case has traveled to forty-three cities on his Rise of the Rest bus tour and has been featured on 60 Minutes, and in The New York TimesUSA TODAY, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal. With dedicated venture funds, backed by an iconic group of investors, executives, and entrepreneurs including Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, John Doerr, Sara Blakely, and Ray Dalio, Rise of the Rest also invests in the most promising high-growth startups located anywhere in the US outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston. The fund has invested in more than 175 companies across more than eighty cities, including: Phoenix, Chattanooga, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Louisville, Baltimore, Columbus, St. Louis, Green Bay, Madison, Buffalo, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Miami, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Omaha, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and dozens of others.

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Steve Case, born Stephen McConnell Case, August 21, 1958, in Honolulu, Hawaii is an American entrepreneur who cofounded America Online, Inc. (AOL), the world’s foremost internet service provider (ISP), and negotiated the merger in 2001 of AOL and Time Warner Inc. to create a global media and entertainment conglomerate.

From Ken Burns (filmmaker), “I’ve spent my life telling stories about America, and the role of pioneers cannot be overestimated. A new chapter in America’s story is now being written in cities all across the nation, as a new generation of innovators builds new companies and helps rebuild communities. Steve’s book tells those reverting stories and give us hope for America’s future.”

From David Rubensterin (cofounder of Carlyle Group), “Steve Case, one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, has spent much of the past decade supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, in dozens of cities all across the country. The rise of the Rest is a must-read, as it provides a hopeful and optimistic view of America’s future.”