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A Word from Young Entrepreneurs on What (and How) to Teach this Semester

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, January 13, 2014

I know faculty are prepping for their classes (if they have not started teaching already). I am a fan of Lean and the concept of #GetOutTheBuilding. All firms need to check in with their customers to confirm they are solving their problems and providing value. Faculty are no different. I reached out to NACCE2103 ""Next Gen Entrepreneurs - Next Gen Community College" panelists Jason Jannati, Co-Founder of greeNEWit and Sheena Lindahl, Co-Founder and President of Empact to get their opinion of what student entrepreneurs need to learn. Listen to their ideas in this podcast starting at 14:16. 

 

Continue To Teach The Basics…But Remember All Student Are Not The Same

Both Jason and Sheena agree that there are basics that need to be taught to help businesses launch and grow.

·         Create a sales and business development plan – Students need to know the pathway and tools needed to acquire their customers. Make sure they map to the target market and marketing plan. How are marketing plans and sales plans different?

·         Develop financial statements - In addition to the cash flow and profit & loss statements and balance sheet, be sure the student know how to create bids for jobs. How should they account for their time in all of those documents?

They also cautioned to remember that students are in entrepreneurship programs for different reasons - some already have a business idea, some want to work in a startup, some want to develop a lifestyle business and some have a high grow tech idea. Diversify the examples you give in class.

Teach by Giving Students Experiences to Learn From

"Push students to take action on the business plan,” said Sheena. Both Sheena and Jason agree that students need to get out of the classroom and gather fact and skills.

·         Make a real sale on a business idea. Have students get a target customer to commit to buy when their product or service launches.

·         Enlist students to get internships in startups or small businesses. This will give students a sense of what it takes to run a business –from energy level, to flexibility to testing new ideas and innovating.

·         Become a magnet for mentors. Pair your students with mentors to get feedback on business ideas, pitches and plans.

 

Did they hit it? Post a comment below.

Sheena Lindahl is Co-Founder and President of Empact, an organization facilitating entrepreneurship throughout the world through exposure, celebration and connection. Through Empact's Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, Sheena has overseen 500+ events connecting communities and colleges across the country with young entrepreneur speakers and role models. To learn more about Empact's programs, contact sheena@iempact.com.

Jason Jannati is Co-Founder of greeNEWit, a company that helps society build more sustainable communities through energy efficiency. Jason is an Empact Connect entrepreneur and can be reached for speaking inquiries here.

 

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