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Northeast State November Blog

Posted By Lynn Anderson, Friday, November 28, 2014

R. Lynn Anderson, CPA

Associate Professor, Business Technologies - Accounting

Northeast State Community College



Center for Entrepreneurship


The proposal presented by Northeast State Community College at the NACCE 2014 Conference focused on the development of a Center for Entrepreneurship.  The Center will function as a highly interactive, collaborative learning center for customized entrepreneurial and leadership training.  Faculty, staff, local entrepreneurs and students will participate in the training.   The ECIA grant and assistance from the Coleman Foundation and NACCE encouraged us to expand our vision for the Center.  Future plans for the Center include making the Center mobile.


The Center will house:


·         a 3-D printer and associated software to enable inventors/innovators to produce prototypes of products.


·         top of the line tablets/laptops loaded with QuickBooks, business planning and Microsoft Office software


·         facilities for training, workshops and interaction.


The committee designated to develop the Center and outline its initial activities has undertaken the following tasks, using the "Bird in Hand":


·         Determine an appropriate, temporary location for the Center.  This location will be the Center's "home" until the permanent facilities are completed in the Advanced Technologies building, (occupancy expected in 2017)


·         Identify potential sources of additional funding


·         Identify potential contributors/workshop leaders


·         Identify campus resources - staff, contacts, expertise


·         Identify Center resource requirements in terms of staffing, supplemental equipment


·         Identify ways to market the Center


The formation of an Entrepreneur Club and holding informal "coffee clubs" in addition to the structured training and workshops will engage students in the development, staffing and utilization of the Center.


We are developing a contact list which includes local Chambers of Commerce, ACCELNow, Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), Kingsport Office of Small Business Development Subcommittee (KOSBE) and other local groups and individuals.  We will also involve the Advisory Committees, the Northeast State Foundation, local entrepreneurs, faculty, staff and students who are potential contributors or users of  the Center.


Lessons Learned:


·         The formation of a Steering Committee which would include members from outside the immediate "campus community" will create buy-in from the region.


·         The resources available can extend well beyond those we first consider.  We need to keep building our "crazy quilt".


Key Takeaways:


·         Find creative ways to get others engaged and involved.  Entrepreneurship is not limited to the business community.

·         The Northeast State community has many talented individuals in various disciplines who have much to contribute.  We need to hone our "ask" to get them committed to the Center.





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Practice The "Ask" (For Involvement)

Posted By Steven Groner, Monday, November 17, 2014

Steven Groner, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Success

Kaskaskia College, Centralia Illinois

PRACTICE THE "ASK" (For Project Involvement)

Kaskaskia College is one of ten members of the ECIA project powered by Coleman. We have a number of program delivery formats, so for the year ahead we are focusing on strengthening the infrastructure that supports entrepreneurship. We elected to expand our internal team and have used NACCE tools to elevate the involvement of our president (President's Pledge, Essential Practices Series and the NACCE2014 Annual Conference). Having Dr. Underwood participate in the Effectuation Master Class and the annual conference was powerful. We were able to focus on how to infuse entrepreneurship into all that we do for several days. "The future of work" topic continues to prompt discussion and will be the lead topic as we approach career & tech faculty. The fact that 50% of current students will be self-employed at some point in their career elicits conversation from all groups approached so far.

We returned from the conference with the helpful reminder- "make sure that the rest of the school knows what we are up to". We set out to talk to various groups immediately:

Announced our ten month project at staff & faculty professional development day

Spoke to the college vice presidents (with the meeting called by the president)

Talked to feeder high school district superintendents and advisors (two separate groups)

Introduced our project to the KC Foundation at their quarterly meeting, and as part of the president's welcome

Met with Business Department faculty and their clubs to ask for student co-creators

Participated in a high school career fair day and prepared a special flyer on the future of work

Began to outline our marketing communication plan with the public relations group

Introduced our project and needs to Alumni Relations staff

In each meeting we are practicing; a) asking for suggestions and, b) asking for participation. We are making the "Ask" a habit. We have gone back through notes from various NACCE Breakout Sessions to prepare for each group met with. Our "pitch" has differed for each audience.

A challenge that we face is: how to move beyond polite listeners in our group meetings to creating action and buy-in? We know that continuous follow-up must be scheduled for each initial contact, and we will make our ASK more specific with each meeting as we learn their affordable loss and other insights. During the next four weeks, we are targeting the Career & Tech faculty for one-on-one sessions of asking and listening. We are also tackling the Board of Trustees- as individuals and as a group. We are looking for project champions and co-creators.


Respect each audience and encourage open discussion. LISTEN. Tailor each session to the targeted audience. Keep asking about what they are interested in and why.

Ask for involvement, over and over. Develop specific requests wherever possible and move out of generalities.


Use YouTube, the Internet and other visual sources to help people quickly grasp the entrepreneurial method. Entrepreneurship can be a tough concept to grasp, with many holding a narrow preconception of what it is. Try to get onto a common page of understanding quickly. Gifted speakers may be brought into your school meetings and discussions through the Worldwide Web to help break through common stereotypes. Pick the right length and content for each targeted audience.


Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  Kaskaskia College  NACCE 

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NACCE2014 Conference Blogging - Chancellor Lambert on Salt and Education

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Initial Notes from Dr. Lee Lambert's Opening Welcome on Monday morning. Love to diver deeper into this wake up call for higher ed.  


Salt and education 

Credibility gap

Three insights from salt and it's connection to Salt

1.  Importance drives need

The increase importance of salt drove new discoveries for access to it.  Same is true for education. It's growing importance has led to new ways to provide greater access to it. Waterways vs. information superhighway.


2.  If your service or product can be reduced to a lowest common denominator consistent with its importance then the more vulnerable you are to disruption. 

Salt available on every table. Education can be reduced to a common set of courses that everyone needs. The more I can increase my sale and spread the cost across the volume.


3. A place exist for service providers who can distinguish themselves and add value that is distinct whether or real or perceived as way to support higher cost.


Barriers to Change: Innovations in Higher Education 

From a Recent Chronicle article by Ann Kirschner, Dean of CUNY, honors college


How many academics does it take to change a light bulb?

Change? Change? Who said anything about Change?


She cites to the work of Mark Taylor, a philosopher of religion at Columbia University, in which he argues, "until colleges accept the need to change, they have little incentive to overcome their natural inclination to stay the same. "


The NY times recently reported that between 1998 to 2008' enrollments in public and private universities went up less than 25 percent. Enrollment in for profit colleges went up 236 percent.


Technology is redefining the play field. She argues that what is needed ia a broad minded strategy that embraces technology and learning at all levels. She goes on to write, no discussion of change should omit international study as a key component...we need to connect more students to a meaningful global experience. Only 14 percent of students study abroad.


Close with President Obama, " So let me put colleges and universities on notice, if you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down."



Tags:  12th conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Launching All Future Entrepreneurs

Morning Panel

Panelists: Jason Jannati | Sheena Lindahl | Chris Allen | Thom Ruhe

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

This discussion revolves around the entrepreneurship mindset and how to bring it to every student on campus.

What type of students have you seen on the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour?

Sheena: We’ve seen all types of students.  Our primary goal is the spread entrepreneurship to every student across campus and help them realize they can be their own type of entrepreneur.  We want to help students find the great resources already in their community and begin to self-identify their own entrepreneurial type.  Sometimes it’s hard for studnets to realize their potential.

Who do you see as the non-traditional business owner you’re trying to teach?

Thom: Everybody has the potential to be an entrepreneur.  We used to have these philosophical discussions of whether entrepreneurs are born or made.  But now the whole discussion is about the entrepreneurial mindset and the fact anyone can think entrepreneurially.  We can help empower these students by giving them the mindset; whether they’re and employee or a business owner, they need this mindset.  With some data we hope to prove once and for all how necessary the entrepreneurial mindset is and how we must all embrace it.

As a former student, how do you reach all students, not just business students?

Jason: You could have hit me in the head with an entrepreneurial stamp and I wouldn’t know what it meant.  I never considered myself an entrepreneur, I was just somebody who wanted to control his time and his future.  Some community colleges have done a really good job at turning themselves into magnets for mentors.  These colleges’ uses these mentors as a value add and they’re seeing students are naturally drawn to these programs.  Mentors are critical at helping students demystify the allure of entrepreneurship and the risk inherent in the process.  It also helps humanize this very large and broad process of starting a business.

What do you think about incorporating industry into the entrepreneurial process?

Thom: Most community colleges work very closely with the large corporations in their community.  The deficit we’re seeing though is the soft skills—team orientation, critical thinking, communications, etc.  What if someone took initiative in the corporate structure like Jason did—taking control of his income and time, we’d promote them all day long.  We need to get entrepreneurship education in the same context as reading or mathematics.  The problem with current curriculum is that it relies on self-selection, what about the people who don’t yet realize they need to be entrepreneurial.

Sheena: while working on my company, we came up with this idea of the ice berg.  The top part being material success, but most people don’t realize how important the things below the water are to success—personal brand, networks, etc.  Even if the business fails, because of the mass of assets below the water you will always have an opportunity afterwards.

How do you reach students across campus, what types of messages do you give and how do you do it?

Chris: it’s a huge challenge, probably the biggest challenge.  With such a wide and varied population there can’t be one answer or one strategy.  One thing which doesn’t seem like a benefit but is, is that our area has been blessed with poverty.  Poverty has forced us to tap into family, community, and natural resource assets.  It’s made us a stronger community and forced us to cocreate the ecosystem and businesses.

Jason: Around the fire last night we got talking about innovation and how critical the ability to think outside of the box is.  Break your students into two teams and make them go earn the most money in a single day.  That will get them so uncomfortable the can do nothing but grow.

Chris: A versatile program is important.  We’re not all the same and some programs will work better for other students than others.

We are in a new world of work…

Thom: We’ve used terms like ecosystem and networking, but really it’s community.  Community is the new form of currency.  The smart and successful entrepreneurs realize how to leverage their community greater than any amount of investment money.  We have to be intentional about building these supportive communities.

Chris: I wouldn’t be here if it was for community.  The mentorship and the support there is zero chance we’d be here.

Sheena: It’s important to remember some of the best businesses are the sexy businesses.  Too many times we’re focused on the high-growth or the raise of investment money.  Too many entrepreneurs will focus too much on raising money when in reality they don’t need it.  Raising money can actually hurt your company because it takes you away from the most important tasks in building a great businesses.  Communities need to recognize and glorify even the unsexy companies.

Chris: sometimes the less glamorous the better.  I love hearing how many more young farmers there are in my area—it’s not sexy but there isn’t anything more important than food.

How do we get across the industry gap?

Jason: There are some conceptual and tactical truths.  The conceptual truths can be great at getting the light bulb to go off in students.  I love the quote, “The want is more important than the how.”  I also love, “it takes pressure to create diamonds.”  Entrepreneurship isn’t supposed to be a fluffy ride, it’s going to be hard and people should recognize that taking hits means you’re doing things the right way.  Tactically a residual sales model is so much better than a transactional model.  A sales force gets burnt out if you only ever focus on transactional sales, entrepreneurs need to leverage all of their resources.

Thom: I love talking about the importance of the entrepreneurial mindset.  When the Vatican thinks entrepreneurial thinking should be a basic human right, we’re in for some great things.  Entrepreneurship and IceHouse is growing faster off our shores than on our shores.  My ask is don’t let this year’s NACCE be the year where you get inspired but let the machine beat you down when you get home.  You cannot let yourselves get beaten down, there’s too much at stake for each of us and our country.  The French may have given us the word, but we’ve given it meaning.

What are some tactical suggestions for the folks in the crowd?

Jason: As an entrepreneur you can have a great plan in place, but you need to be able to adapt.  Be able to supplement your core skills with the business management skills.  The question should be what can I do to turn my program into a magnet for high potential entrepreneurs.  As people are attracted to your program you’ll build momentum and you’ll see so many great changes.

What is your recommendation for how to create your ask?

Thom: From experience, the message behind an ask and what it means for the community is a very attractive product or package for philanthropists to fund.  Find the people who don’t want their names on a building or don’t need a brick and mortar type of give.  Investment in education programming is a lifetime of giving, it will change entire generations.

Sheena: Finding the common ground and how your solutions fit into a very large problem is crucial.  You have to work with what you’re starting with, realizing you’ll need to translate from one cluster to another.  Networking is about bridging the clusters.

Chris: It’ll all come down to accessibility.  Students need to realize the programs are there for everyone, not just the people who self-select into entrepreneurship.  Make sure people realize the programs and resources are open to everyone.  You can’t sell this entrepreneur thing as easy.  Be very honest with it or you won’t end up with the type of entrepreneurs you want.

Jason: Put your marketing hats on.  Market it as we’re going to teach you how to secure your own financial future.

Our Second panel…

Mike Hennessy | Sara Whiffen | Angeline Godwin

We need some direction on the entrepreneurial mindset and an accumulation of small actions.  Instead of talking about method, we put it into action.  NACCE wants the stories, it doesn’t just want the words, and it wants to see the assets and inventories of community college ecosystems.

What is your reaction on how you might fund the entrepreneurial method?

Mike: We have a very traditional approach to funding.  As time has gone on, we’ve tried to become more and more targeted on identifying results.  It’s necessary to find ways to bulletproof the grants and the outcomes.  If someone leaves too many times the programs die because that evangelist is no longer there.  I believe we need to fight for a focus on what we’re talking about and what is expected out of incorporating entrepreneurship on campus.  One of my big fears is that we only focus on supporting the next big ideas.  The Effectuation framework and the NACCE process helps people find that target.  Too many times we’re focused on the end game not the first step.

What value did you see in the community assessment and entrepreneurial method?

Angeline: it resonated with me because it just seemed to make sense.  Effectuation gave a clear framework to wrestle with the problems we all face.  Having started and run my own businesses, it made real sense.  I felt this overwhelming sense of urgency to cocreate our future.  I saw effectuation as a path forward not a path out.  I first did an effectuation of myself, to thy own self be true.  We all have 24 hours and we choose what to do with that time.  Taking this framework to start the conversation was great.  It’s not academic and it spoke to everyone regardless of whether you’re a student, a faculty, or an entrepreneur.

Can you talk about poverty as an asset…

Angeline: We’ve always talked about how to overcome the intense poverty, we have the highest poverty level in Virginia.  However, what we realized is to embrace our poverty, we have those students and community members with the survival mentality. Our community uses entrepreneurial principles to survive every day.  Now we can use that to our advantage.

There’s interest from corporations in the Effectuation model, could you share a little?

Sara: I came from a corporate background and couldn’t wait to finally do my own startup thing.  However, I quickly realized when you’re calling with your own name and not the reputation of a huge corporation people don’t throw money at you.  I had the opportunity to participate in an Effectuation accelerator with Saras which really helped place everything into context.  Through that accelerator I was able to build a relationship and partnership with Saras, and it’s grown from there.

The more someone asks the more confident they are to ask.  It’s this feedback cycle.  A self-fulfilling prophecy which helps move an entrepreneur up the ladder.  When coaching the community college crowd, I always get this one questions, “I’m drowning in opportunity, but how do I know where to go?”

There are certain concepts people don’t understand, could you speak to your work with companies and what are some challenges as they go through this process?

Sara: Affordable loss is probably the number one issue we see people grappling with.  Just because something sounds easy doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement.  When they get to roadblocks, people will start to blame the process.  However, stumbling and being challenged is part of the process.  It’s a marathon not a sprint.  Starting with the bird in the hand and setting affordable loss will keep you going.

Mike: In higher education there aren’t too many reasons to ask.  Getting out of your comfort zone and especially your experiential zone is critical.  Take advantage of the ask to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things.

You can’t just wholesale and make all of these changes.  It takes time and it’ll get muddy, but from there great things will emerge.  Emphasis needs to be placed on the action. 

What are some things you hope to accomplish with this year’s college pitch winners?

Mike: we’ve been doing pitch contests for a long time, never really having put formality or structure around them.  Now we’ve taken a little more intention to observing these winners as using effectuation.  We’d like to see some more train the trainer opportunities to colleges can learn from each other.  We also want to see what the colleges have done that they never did before, what’s the impact?  We have a great opportunity to help push beyond falling back into our typical routines.

Angeline: we’ve learned so much from each other, we’re grappling with so many of the same problems.  Between this year and next year I’d like to see this implosion of action.  I’m sick of hearing the flavor of the day and chasing some random pot of money.  I would love to see entrepreneurship on campuses move beyond conversation and into action.  We are in control of everything, we don’t have to be emotionally or financially fragile.

Sara: I’d like to see that shift in attitudes and actions.  Community colleges need to realize how many great resources they have and which can be utilized.  A college’s students are so valuable and are so eager to help build the future with the college.  I’d like colleges to combine forces with their students.  Hearing success and failures would be great—if you’re not failing, you’re not pushing hard enough.  Apply effectual thinking not causal thinking.

Failed entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs are the same person.  Every successful entrepreneur has many failures.  Failure and success isn’t something that has to define the person, it’s only a single part of the whole.

Angeline: we’re adding failed entrepreneurs to our crazy quilt.  They’ve never been at the table but we’re going to go back and ask them to join us.  We can learn so much from their stories and their failures.

Maybe failed entrepreneurs only failed because they stopped.  Perhaps we can help them take that label off and reengage with their communities.

NACCE: we want the stories, not at the end of the quarter, we want stories in real time.  We want to see what your asks were and we want to now the results.  Show us the dots and how you put the quilt together.

Coleman Grant Winners!

From The Coleman Foundation: Mike Hennessy | Clark McCain

This year’s competition called for proposals from colleges focused on how their college would implement 5 action steps to the 5 President’s Pledge principles.  There were 10 finalists:

  1. Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College

  2. Fox Valley Technical College

  3. Indian River State College

  4. Ivy Technology Community College of Indiana

  5. Kaskaskia College

  6. Maricopa Corporate College

  7. Middlesex Community College

  8. Northeast State Community College

  9. Patrick Henry Community College

  10. South Mountain Community College

Each of these finalists are the winners of this competition.  They are the co-creators of the future of community college entrepreneurship. 

A huge congratulations to them all!

Tags:  12th conference  conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Community Mapping: Defining Assistance for One Year Old Businesses

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

Entrepreneurship across Northeast State College has been growing in the past few years because of how entrepreneurial the community and the Governor has become.  Governor Bill Haslum, developed the Drive for 55 initiative which works to help the state reach a 55% college degree recipient rate.  The initiative has been a wonderful boon for community colleges because of the students’ ability to get help with financing tuition and books.

One of the first steps for Northeast State CC was summarizing all of their initiatives.  They came up with the mission: Access, Completion, Community.

Northeast State CC took the President Pledge and it has worked out great for them.  If you’re not familiar with NACCE’s Presidents Pledge it includes:

  1.  Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship
  2. Increase Entrepreneurs' Engagement in Community Colleges
  3. Engage in Industry Cluster Development
  4. Leverage Both Community College and Community Assets to Spur Innovation and Job Creation
  5. Create Buzz and Broad Exposure of your College's Commitment to Entrepreneurship

Lemonade was made out of the lemons Northeast State CC received.  The college was given the old county's jail house, sheriff’s office, parking garage, and administrative building which had been severely damaged by flooding.  The county, local banks, and the community college helped fund the renovation of the building.  After the renovations it looks beautiful.  Taking Saras’ effectuation to heart, Northeast State CC has made a crazy quilt of partners using the RCAM expansion as the catalyst. 

With a lot of brainstorming, Northeastern realized they need to help their citizens think past the economic destruction plant closings and lost manufacturing can cause.  They were able to leverage their assets and access as a community college to find new ways to help unemployed individuals.

Out of these discussions and brainstorming sessions, they came up with an ecosystem map.  Their map is a community within a geographic region, composed of stakeholders working together to promote and support newly created businesses.  From this definition they were able to use the Google Fusion tool to create a physical map of their support and entrepreneurial resources.  The map appears to be very useful in helping entrepreneurs and others locate businesses and resources near them.

Northeast has also come up with a mind map of their entrepreneurial ecosystem.  The map has provided an interactive method for drilling down into the specific actors in their ecosystem.  FreeMind powers their map.

After all of this mapping, the question becomes, what does a business need that has been around for a year?

Northeast uses a DACUM, a job analysis workshop.  The DACUM process uses live interaction with entrepreneurs to answer what should be taught and what is currently taught.  You must first start with an occupational definition.  As a group, attendees were able to come up with a list of duties and tasks for the community.  Their group decided entrepreneurs needed to know how to:

  • Manage their business

  • Document and organize business flow

  • Grow the business

  • Develop advertising/marketing process

  • Forecast growth

  • Identify potential innovation

  • Manage human resources

The saying you don’t know what you don’t know, couldn’t be truer for entrepreneurs.  The mapping process is about helping entrepreneurs and the community understand what they don’t know.  The Northeast mapping method is a simplistic, yet powerful, method to help entrepreneurs scale their awareness of critical business tasks.  Key to making these assessments work is the type of vocabulary used.  Not all entrepreneurs can be expected to know fancy accounting or legal jargon.

Tags:  12th conference  conference  Northeast State Community College  PFEP 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs: The Entrepreneurial Mindset in the Workforce

2014 NACCE Alumni Entrepreneur Awards

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

A great birthday song for Cheryl to start the morning off.  Happy Birthday indeed.

This year we have three award winners.

  1. Gary Krause

  2. Marylyn Harris

  3. Pamella Butler

Ed2Go has been nice enough to sponsor these awards and has provided a number of wonderful prizes.  We congratulate these individuals and wish them the fullest success in the future.

Gary has a truly inspiring story.  Going from patient with a head injury to entrepreneur and resident nurse.  He took a difficult situation and turned it into immense opportunity, as a good entrepreneur always does—when life gives you lemonade…

Marylyn is a vetrepreneur who has not only served her country but served all of her fellow entrepreneurs.  After leaving the service, Marylyn knew there had to be something out there which called her and spoke to her passions.  She found that activity by starting the Houston Women Veterans Business Center.  Now she travels the country and helps other national heros get their companies started.

Pam was nominated by Tallahassee Community College and now she encourages people to take action, not just make donations.  Pam knows that here in this country anyone who puts their mind to it can change their stars and the stars of their family, friends, and communities.  We must continue in Pam’s footsteps to help train entrepreneurs and future leaders.

We welcome to the stage Virginia Hamilton

Virginia has over 30 years of experience in workforce development at the local, state, and national level.  She serves now as the regional administrator for U.S. Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration Region 6. 

Contrary to popular belief, the Department of Labor is indeed interested in aligning the interests of all employers, employees, and government agencies.  The Department does this through active investing in social infrastructure and assistance programs.  Many of the Departments programs help entrepreneurs start their businesses and access resources which otherwise wouldn’t be available to them.

Imbedded in all of the Department’s projects are evaluations.  They’ve heard the anecdotes and qualitative success, but now they want to know the quantitative analysis.  We can all help in the writing of the future of business by helping Virginia’s department know what matters to entrepreneurs and our entrepreneurial ecosystems.  So far the government has come up with 7 core principles to their employment and entrepreneurship programs:

  1. Engage employers

  2. Earn and learn

  3. Making smart choices—using labor market data

  4. Measuring matters

  5. Building stepping stones

  6. Opening doors

  7. Regional partnerships

The principles will help define how the government evaluates and funds employment and workforce training programs.  Many of these principles as entrepreneurial educators we already know are important, however, it is nice to see more people jumping onboard.

“The real problem isn’t that there isn’t enough innovation, it’s that there aren’t enough entrepreneurs starting businesses.”  Entrepreneurship is indeed on a decline since the government started measuring the data, but this can change.  Through our work at NACCE and colleges or universities around the country we can reverse this trend.

Entrepreneurs need to be a jack of all trades.  There are so many different skill sets and mindsets entrepreneurs need to embody.  From technical skills to interpersonal skills, any entrepreneurship education program should focus on building the whole person.  As more people learn about the opportunities to start their own businesses we have a perfect ability to help them along that path.

It’s amazing to think that in certain geographic regions sole proprietors, 1099 contractors who are self-employed, provide a three to one rate of tax receipts to governments.  It shows how important self-employment and entrepreneurship will be in the future.  We will all eventually have to be entrepreneurs.

We will now welcome a panel to the stage.

Panelists: Diana Kander | Dr. Jeanne Wesley  | Kristine Spengler

There are 53 million freelancers in the United States, so what are you seeing in your world about the new era of work?

Diana: I think we’re currently doing a terrible job at preparing students for the new world of work.  We actually diminish the entrepreneurial mindset in class by taking this ‘sage on the stage’ philosophy.  The real world never works like this, it is actually customers and consumers who determine what employees and employers do.  There is never an authority figure who has a crystal ball on the market.  Primarily we need a workforce who figures things out, they need to be able to think critically about market and social problems.

Kristine: I agree with Diana.  The majority of student we work with have tremendous energy and enthusiasm but we have to teach them a whole new skillset of thinking entrepreneurially.  There’s a lack of comfort with ambiguity coming from these students.  You can’t be entrepreneurial if you’re constantly worried about not having all of the information.  Without a book to turn to, what will these students be able to do?  They need to turn to the customer.  The bright spot is, they’re ready and eager to learn.

How does anyone teach and help students learn to be comfortable with ambiguity?

Diana: Create as many opportunities and activities where students are tasked with large jobs.  Give a vague assignment and just leave the room—ex. Go make as much money as possible in 3 hours.  We’re not challenging our students enough.  We don’t trust them to be creative thinkers.

Jeanne, how did you get started and what’s your story?

Jeanne: One of the things we observed was that entrepreneurs want skills.  Very simple, very easy, they have skill needs.  Entrepreneurs’ skill needs are typically greater than the needs of students; there’s a lot more on the line for these individuals.  We started helping by using existing entrepreneurs who are already highly skilled.  This gave us credibility and helped young entrepreneurs think through customer discovery and get out of the building.  We built nine workshops around the core lean startup principles and brought them onto campus through startup weekends, internships, and curriculum. 

Through these workshops and activities we were able to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the bars and in the coffee shops.  Before we did these, there were no meetups and no community around helping entrepreneurs.  Now we want to build a coworking space and even start an angle investing network.

It’s critical to teach our students to get out of the building and talk to customer.

What can be done differently at community colleges?

Diana: my suggestions are very high level.

Entrepreneurship is very different than any other subject.  It’s more like teaching basketball, could we really earn a certificate by reading this history of basketball but never touching a ball?  Even if they’re writing business plans or interviewing customers, they’re still not experiencing what it means to be an entrepreneur.  It’s something you can only learn by doing it.  We should help them realize whether they even want to be entrepreneurs.  Are you making your students feel uncomfortable, do they have butterflies?  They must feel uncomfortable and be emailing you all of the time.  If they’re not up all the time working on and thinking about their company, you’re not doing it right.

Kristine: Too many times we focus on the books and the theory, but we forget to tell them to follow their gut and follow their instinct.  Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to follow your intuition.  Your gut will guide you.  That little voice in your head will tell you where to go.  We don’t empower our students to trust themselves and their abilities.

We can layer all sorts of stuff on top of that trust.  We need to make them feel uncomfortable, we need to push them and force them out of their comfort zone and the building.  After they get out of that comfort zone they become energized and excited.

How do you teach intrapreneurship?

Kristine: we started with the lean startup but then created a lean program with the intention of training internal employees.  We take trainees through a very short, 2 day, curriculum which helps them understand the terminology and basics of the lean startup.  Those trainees then bring in a real problem their employer is facing and work on that problem through the lens of lean.  Thy end up looking at their work very differently by the end of the program.

Jeanne: We do many of the same things.  We’ve hosted the Marine Intel IT group and used the same lean principles to help them.  We also helped a State Capital group to use lean principles to manage and access big data.

Diana: The curriculum between the entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship classes I teach is identical.  The process and the principles are the same.

It’s about experience and principles, how do we prepare our workforce with this sense that it’s a new game in employment?

Diana: One of the new realities is that business models don’t last as long as they used to.  ‘Built to Last’ no longer holds true.  Entrepreneurs and businesses maybe have 10 years with a single business model.  This principle holds true for career paths as well.  The average employee will have 17 jobs before they retire.  Our job needs to be helping these employees continually learn and access continuing education support.  We need to teach curiosity.

Jeanne: The product is YOU.  Whether you go to a company or start your own business, YOU are the product.  Thus it’s your responsibility to brand yourself individually and get the skills you need to always be valuable.

Kristine: It’s a sense of empowerment.  We need to help workers understand that there’s a paradigm shift happening in the workforce—the truth is YOU have the answers, you don’t need to go to your boss for everything.  If you have good ideas, follow them and then go to your boss with your conclusions.  We’re empowering you to make the decisions and find the answers.  Once people are empowered, realizing they’re the product, they are much more creative.

What are the skills we see in the intrapreneur and entrepreneur paradigm?

Diana: We need to change the way we think about business.  It’s not about prediction and huge risky bets, it’s about finding evidence and making small bets.

Jeanne: I agree, it’s about what we call data driven decisions.  Don’t throw the spaghetti at the wall but rather find the data which supports your ideas.  A lot of businesses will approach us about soft skill training.  These businesses want students who can deal with working in teams, working with difficult people, or how to manage time.  Leadership is another skill which every employer is asking us to train.  These are hard to teach, but we need to embed them throughout the educational system.

Kristine: It is that soft skill set.  We’ve used personality and aptitude testing to help us understand how our employees think and what part of the brain they predominantly work from.  Our employees have loved having that insight.  It helps them realize not everyone thinks the same as they do.  These tests helped employees break their assumptions and work better in diverse teams.  Personality blended with evidence based decisions is a powerful combination.

Can you teach people sales or pitching, is it part of that mindset we need to teach?

Kristine: At the end of our internal lean competitions, our employees pitch.  It’s vital that these people can succinctly and powerfully be able to present their ideas.  If they can’t present, no one will buy into their vision.

Jeanne: Regarding sales we really emphasis relational sales.  This means getting to know people and connecting with them on a deeper level.  It’s not a used car sales strategy, it’s a trust building process.

Kristine: Sales is problem solving.  If you can get to the bottom of your customers problem, the selling becomes easy.

Diana: I think sales is an invaluable skill for all human beings.  Everything is sales.  The challenge isn’t to teach those tactics of ways to sell, but rather to teach them customer empathy — stop selling and listen.

Tell us a little about what you do and your skills?

Diana: I’ve had 9 companies and when I look at opportunities I think of my tool belt.  I ask if an opportunity will add additional skills to my tool belt.  These diverse skills will make you much more attractive.

Jeanne: Educators and admins need to think of themselves as infinite contractors.  You should think through what is your brand.  Become internet savvy and get out of the building to meet with students, other entrepreneurs, and faculty.  Get on Twitter today!

Kristine: Think of what you’re doing as creating a product.  When you think about what you’re providing as a product for a customer, the student, it gives new meaning to your work.  You’ll approach the way you interact with your ecosystem entirely different.  Solve problems with your customers and consumers.


Tags:  12th conference  conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entrepreneurship: A Mindset Every Student Needs and the Workforce Demands

Panelists: Bree Langemo | Gary Schoeniger | Joe Raso

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

This discussion will help redefine entrepreneurship and the mindset entrepreneurs need, as well as the workforce view which is driving modern entrepreneurship and employment. 

Fun fact for everyone, in the United States, 70% of workers are not engaged in their work.  Gallup notes that 19% of the workforce is actively unengaged and 51% is just unengaged, meaning they won’t create anything great for their companies.

Entrepreneurial thinking provides a framework which can help recapture some of that lost human potential.  However, we’re facing a problem in defining mindset and its understanding in an actionable way.  The term mindset is the underlying beliefs and assumptions that drive behavior—a simple definition but does it cover everything?  We’re often not aware of the actions and patterns which define our mindsets and employees, citizens, and business owners.

Entrepreneurship can be simply defined as searching.  Not everyone is going to sign up to be a business owner or is capable of coming up with a revolutionary technology.  Entrepreneurship though is simply about containing a body of search skills.

The search process must come before the business process. Entrepreneurial attitudes and skills are the search for the connection between needs and business opportunities.  Entrepreneurs possess interaction, observation, experimentation, adaptation, problem solving, networking, and communication skills.  Many times these skillsets aren’t taught or are even actively discouraged in an academic setting.  We teach delivery skills not searching skills.

We must learn how to help students search for the intersection of their competencies and other people.

Entrepreneurship is not a business discipline. 

Only once someone finds something, they have searched far and wide enough, do managerial skills become important.  Redefining entrepreneurship as the ability to search, helps skeptical teachers embrace the idea of entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneur believe he or she can empower themselves by solving problems for others.  As educators, it is our job to help students take their passions, their abilities and turn those into problem solutions for other people.

The question is, is it the person or the situation which makes entrepreneurs?

Fundamental attribution errors is the tendency to overemphasize the importance of traits while failing to recognize the importance of situation factors that influence behavior.  Causation for correlation.  People fail to recognize the extent to which observed action and outcomes relate to the person versus the situation.

Social pressures are influencing use to such a severe extent that most of the time we don’t even realize it.  Entrepreneurs need to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs.  Social pressure is why ecosystem need a critical mass of entrepreneurs to truly thrive.  Keep in mind that A players want to work with A players.

People are defined by their situations and the experiences of their lives.  No entrepreneur will ever be the same people none of us have the same past, present, or future.  We need to ask ourselves whether what we are doing in our institutions is helping students find solutions and understand searching is the key skill to possess for entrepreneurial success.  We must turn class into an incubator for inquiry and analysis.

No matter who you’re talking to, people will always be talking about jobs.  It’s simple but true, “it’s about the economy stupid.”  An amazing stat is that 40% of the workforce in the next few years will be independent contractors.  A tectonic shift is happening in what it means to be employed. 

As communities what are we measuring—completion rates, job openings, or work output?  Traditional metrics will no longer be relevant because work will no longer be performed in the traditional manner.

As communities, the task will be to make it an ecosystem where people will want to live because they can work from anywhere.  Community is the new currency.  If I can work from anywhere, why will I choose your community?

The number one thing employers talk about needing—not technical skills—but foundational skills: communication, team building, creativity, etc.  Big corporations and startups alike all need workforce.  They need a workforce with an entrepreneurial mindset of searching and creativity.  The communities which build these foundational skills and make these skillset connections will be the most prosperous moving forward.  Let’s not treat the symptoms, but rather let’s create an antidote.

Community colleges can be the best resource to lead the creation of these antidotes.  CC’s make the perfect leader because they are focused on serving the regional economy and are typically the closest to the employer.  Community colleges serve tremendously as the connector between K-12 and four year institutions.  CC’s also have a myriad of credit and non-credit courses which are imperative to entrepreneurial training and skills development.

Pikes Peak Community College is breaking the mold and placing their entrepreneurial programs, Icehouse, outside of the business program.  The mindset of entrepreneurship which Icehouse teaches should be provided and taught to all students, no matter their course of study.  PPCC is even mandating their students learn the search process of entrepreneurship by making their program a foundational course.

PPCC’s goal was the advancement of student persistence by inspiring and engaging students in a success mindset and the limitless opportunities it can provide.  The bigger picture goal is the creation of entrepreneurship as a mindset every student possess in the workforce.  They currently have three outcome classification: short, medium, and long term.

Short: changes in skills knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors

Medium: increased pass rates, increased 1st semester to 2nd semester retention rates, and increased 1st semester to 3rd semester retention rates.  For those not in the community college know, the largest challenge facing community colleges is keeping students between fall semesters.

Long: increased persistence rate and increased graduation rates within 3.5 years

If you can’t message your entrepreneurial programs you’re going to have a difficult time selling it to students and the administrators.  Message it as discovery and critical thinking skills rather than traditional business ownership or startup.  Many students don’t want to be entrepreneurs, but they need entrepreneurial skills and the mindset.  The word entrepreneurship has blended too much with business management, make sure to clarify that these two activities are wholly different.

PPCC has an Icehouse community including:

  • Pikes Peak Library District

  • Small Business Development Center

  • Pikes Peak Workforce Center

  • Junior achievement

  • Black Chamber of Commerce

  • See the Change USA

  • Peak Freedom Forum

Pulling together all of these partners is instrumental to making Pikes Peak Community College a beacon of light for community college entrepreneurship and community engagement.  They have taken a fresh look at what being an entrepreneur means and the Icehouse curriculum and program have given them that ability.  A little luck, a lot of hard work, and tremendous vision can make any college campus a leader in the new era of employment.

Tags:  12th conference  conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, October 13, 2014

#NACCE2014 Lunch Panel: From Mindset to Meaningful Action

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

Lunchtime Panelists: Julie Lenzer Kirk | Earl Gohl | Jon Robinson | Timothy McNulty

This discussion will revolve around entrepreneurship ecosystems and building vibrant communities.  No one owns the ecosystem and every member comes to the ecosystem for different reasons.  However, this diversity is critical to building strong business

What role do you see yourself playing in an entrepreneurship ecosystem and how does the ecosystem work with community colleges?

Julie: as a recovering entrepreneur, ecosystems are extremely important to me.  In my role at the federal government and as a founding member of Startup America, I find ecosystem to be vital.  There’s a lot of thought leadership happening right now with what ecosystems need to be developed.  Ecosystems move up the hierarchy of needs:

  1. Basic infrastructure

  2. Technology infrastructure

  3. Business support

  4. Engines of innovation

  5. Connected ecosystem

The government helps fund every aspect of this hierarchy.  The government is a catalyst to what community’s needs, especially communities in need—economic distress.  However, now the government can help with seed funds, technology purchases, and program developments.

Earl: Appalachia runs from Alabama to New York and could be considered one of the great next investment opportunities of the century.  The area has everything and every type of entrepreneur.  Huge potential in education, health care, energy, etc.  It will be vital for diverse partners to help facilitate, finance, and grow entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The community college structure throughout Appalachia is critical to its ecosystem.  These colleges are important technical training and stepping stone institutions for students and potential entrepreneurs.  Poverty is a serious is in Appalachia though.  Strategy has ebbed and flowed to reflect the political whims.  Residents and leaders have taken over and defined the region from a grassroots movement.  These communities are incredibly engaged and committed to working together to build their own ecosystems from the ground up—they’re taking their destiny into their own hands.

Jon: The Kauffman foundation tries to operate in the top three slices of the ecosystem’s hierarchy of needs.  The organization is an evangelist for the prosperity of communities, it’s a leading resource for research, and helps with the specific performance of various entrepreneurship assets.  It does a little myth-busting as well, to show what truly helps entrepreneurs grow.  The Kauffman Foundation also has numerous educational programs and curricular opportunities for colleges and communities to leverage.

Put simply, Kauffman is a catalyst for collaboration; both regionally and nationally.  Helping to create that patchwork quilt.

Tim: If you’re dealing with communities facing radical changes, community colleges are a key anchor everyone can rally around.  The ‘maker movement’ is becoming a critical aspect of the modern education and method for preparing students for 21st century jobs.  Hundreds of thousands of campus space has been devoted to the construction of maker spaces.  Community colleges have played a critical role in growing the maker movement and empowering students to build in new ways, with new technologies, and generating new companies.

Maker spaces have attracted some major corporate collaborations and helped bridge the gap between 2 year and 4 year institutions.  We have the chance to work together to develop entirely new tools for makers and entrepreneurs.

What are examples of successes or failures to developing ecosystems and what is the specific role of the community college?

Earl: It’s a challenge because there’s no finish line.  There’s lots of goals and mileposts, but just because you’ve completed one project doesn’t mean you’re done.  You’ll spend your career working on new and old programs.  However, that process helps you community grow best.  It will always be an ongoing process.

Julie: Forget about thinking outside of the box; here is no box.  It’s important to look at the synergies across the community, no matter size or scope.  It doesn’t have to be just a university thing, everyone needs to be involved and helping to find those gaps.

Jon: many times community colleges are the most collaborative institutions in an ecosystem—no ego and no need for credit.  However, this means you’ll have to deal with very large egos from larger, more brand conscious institutions.  Community colleges can at some level be considered the most democratic organization in an entrepreneurship ecosystem.  Many organizations are rent seekers, looking to extract some sort of value from the entrepreneurs they say they’re trying to help—the community college isn’t like this.

Vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem s are entirely about talent, human capital.  Very few institutions outside of community colleges can say they are solely focused on developing human capital.  If you really want to help you entrepreneurs, you have to get off campus and find where the entrepreneurs live.

Tim: The opportunity space is huge for community colleges.  The direction of technology is towards democratization of access.  Things like Kickstarter make it so easy for an entrepreneur in a rural area to find supporters and sales.

Community colleges are key intersections for communities to help entrepreneurs find tools.

Julie: failures in ecosystems have happened because of ego.

Jon: you really have to work to keep egos from creeping in and destroying an ecosystem.  It behooves you to focus on tools not credit.

Heather: the role of the community college should be as a voice and as a leader.  They can unify because of a lack of ego.

What would be your ask of community colleges and what would you like community colleges to ask from you?

Jon: The Kauffman foundation is looking to you, the people in this room, to help entrepreneurs.  We need help testing our hypotheses and communicate to us what entrepreneurs are asking for and what type of help are they looking for.  We need sample size and lots and lots of data.

Julie: we’d like to see good projects come from community college projects.  We have money and are eager to fund your projects.  November 3rd is the deadline for EDA grants—apply!

We’re looking to develop a mentor protégé program.  We want to be the catalyst for your community.

Tim: The most critical thing we can do together is break down the silos and break down the barriers.

Earl: My ask—be bold, don’t hold back.  Be engaged in your community and when other people have sharp elbows, have sharp elbows yourself.  The opportunity is now and community colleges are critical to helping build the future workforce.  We are becoming an entrepreneurial nation, community colleges can be the leaders and the center for this national change.  With your ideas and our help we can put together some pretty great community structures.


NACCE Lifetime Achievement Award…

…and the honor goes to John Chemaly!

“Some people enjoy being an employee, an entrepreneur enjoys being an employer.” ~ John Chemaly

A man with a good spirit and good heart.  John knows how to get the audience laughing and applauding with this short anecdotes.  Only 60 something, John believes he still has many accomplishments ahead of him and opportunities to help his fellow entrepreneurs.

John takes us on a journey 12 years back, recounting moments with his daughter and family.  A man who plays the tough love thing but is never heartless or uncaring.  He cares deeply and is truly grateful for what Middle Essex Community College has given to his daughter, other students, and the community around it.  The college has given hope and opportunity, but most importantly, it’s given possibility to those who could never find their way before.

A small world indeed.  Pat, an employee at Middle Essex, was unexpectedly brought up on stage and it turns out her son works for Trinity.  John truly loves this college.

The time fast approaches when the majority of jobs will only require an associate’s degree and community college certificates.  We have the opportunity to make that future vibrant and prosperous.

John disagrees with the freedom to fail.  A true entrepreneur has the mindset—failure is not an option.  In his own companies, john has zero appetite for failure. 

The definition of value is doing more with less.  Everyone wants more for less in a quicker period of time.  Community colleges embody the definition of value.  They have figured out affordability, access, and employability.   

You can teach accessibility and affordability, but you can’t teach passion. Being an entrepreneur is like being in love.  It’s a feeling of, “I can do this.”  Daily being able to look your business in the eye and saying I can do this.

Tags:  12th conference  NACCE2014 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, October 13, 2014

The Entrepreneurial Puzzle: Connecting the Dots Externally and Internally

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

The entrepreneurial mindset is the critical thinking skill needed for the 21st century.  Students will either be intrepreneurs or entrepreneurs in the future.  Through incubation, degrees or certificates, and classroom or club presentations, colleges can help foster the entrepreneurial spirit on campus.  An important aspect of making this transition will be using entrepreneurship as a recruiting tool—getting in front of faculty and students at community focused activities.

K-12 outreach for entrepreneurial training is a great way to recruit, as well as foster an innovation ecosystem.  Young Entrepreneurial Scholars (YES!) camp is a great collegiate activities which Asheville has had great success with.

ESTEAM—entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art, and math—replacing the STEM focus.  Cross cultural and departmental activities are critical to building useful skillsets for students who are interested in starting their own companies.  Students need design, technical, and sales training.

The crazy quilt principle is imperative to building entrepreneurship ecosystems.  One great way to do this is to partner with your college’s diversity and global education committees.  Also connect with the college library to host an entrepreneurship exhibit.  Or perhaps, sell student made items in the college bookstore.

Great curriculum to use include IceHouse Entrepreneurial programs, as well as HP Life (discussed in my previous blog post.  These programs focus heavily on project based learning, which any entrepreneurial leader, will understand is critical to success for your students.  You can’t expect theory to get a student from idea to exit.

Everything thing and every program, person, business is interconnected and as campus leaders, we must make it our mission to help clarify how these connections should be made and the foundations from which they will form.  Serving on committees and institutional panels is critical to fostering collaboration and creating more nodes for students, faculty, and mentors to connect to.

Sometimes it’s the simplest things which make an entrepreneurial ecosystem strong.  Like CC’ing diverse stakeholders or scanning documents to cross campus tribes.  Or, joining staffing meetings with leadership and commitment from the top.

A-B Tech has a 12 month extracurricular business incubator.  An impressive timeframe for student incubation and engagement.

Leadership from the top can be just as important as grassroots movements and support.  A-B Tech has nicely defined their vision and mission:

Vision: Locally committed; regionally dynamic; world-class focused

Mission: A-B Tech inspires, nurtures and empowers students and the community toward a better quality of life through progressive teaching, bold innovation and supportive collaboration.

Values: Innovation- to actively seek creative solutions and cutting edge initiatives that lead to best practices.

The creation of an innovation task force help to create a common language and purpose for the collegiate community.  The task force help define an intellectual property policy which encouraged entrepreneurial activity not hindered it.  Entrepreneurial outcomes were also added to the strategic plan.

Leadership of the colleges care about metrics, and if you can place entrepreneurship metrics and outcomes into the strategic plan, you are more likely to get very high level buy-in for your entrepreneurial initiatives.  Some metrics include expanding entrepreneurial outreach (college community and external community).  These metrics are also important for being able to secure grants for your programs.

From these programs and outreach, you can form an Education and Entrepreneurial Development Foundation.  This foundation will work to promote entrepreneurship and act as a strong economic development strategy.  The foundation helps to enable entrepreneurial action with the college community and administrative systems.  When done properly, programs can turn into additional revenue streams for the institution.  An Entrepreneurship Foundation can become a sustainable business model by offering consulting and continuing education programs.  The foundation could even be used to establish a venture fund, providing seed and small scale funding opportunities for student entrepreneurs.

A-B Tech has a 200,000+ business incubation park which so generously donated by BASF.  A site they now call the BASE houses a Small Business Center, business incubation program, light manufacturing facility, the Education and Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, customized training and workforce development programs, and a brewery training facility.

A-B Tech has used BASE to drive an even large crazy quilt.  They’ve included State and Regional partners including Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Bent Creek Institute, NCCCS BioNetworking, and the NC Biotechnology Center.

How cool is it for a college to have a seven barrel brewing system?!  Who doesn’t love to learn how to make beer?

One of the major problems many colleges face is the cross campus dissemination of entrepreneurial curriculum.  If you can’t find program evangelists on campus in every school, many times course launches will fall flat and be discontinued.  It comes down to marketing and partnerships.

How does a college assess whether they should launch an entrepreneurship initiative?

First brainstorm to identify all entrepreneurial service providers, as well as entrepreneurial leaders who have influence.

Second, try to form external partnerships, even if you don’t have all of the pieces figured out yet.  These partners will help you find and define the system as you go.  Think of it as just-in-time program development.  These partners can include; cities and counties, existing incubators, entrepreneurs/small business owners, entrepreneur service providers (lawyers, accountants, etc.), and of course higher education providers.

Third, host a beta program.  Keep it small and affordable but make it robust enough to provide real value—get those early wins.  The program will grow slowly but you’ll be able to tailor the entirety of your programs to your entrepreneurs.  This is true customer discovery.  Some events will fall flat, but if you learn from and listen to your entrepreneurs, you’re events will launch without an issue.  As the ecosystem grows you can host more and larger events.  Consider making these initial events free and open to anyone in the community; using partners and sponsors to keep costs as low as possible.

Fourth, grow you programs and offer them more regularly.  By this stage you’ll know more people, have more buy-in, and know exactly what resources your entrepreneurs need.  Keep the effectuation principles in mind and make sure you’re always listening to your entrepreneurs.

By starting with a vision and defining the values of your entrepreneurship ecosystem, your future and the future of your entrepreneurs will be bright.  Be entrepreneurial, start small and grow along side of your entrepreneurs.  You can’t boil the ocean, but you can start with a single cup of water.

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, October 13, 2014

Using Digital Content to Reshape the Learning Process for Entrepreneurship Students

Submitted by Braden Croy, Syracuse University

The first part of the breakout session is presented by Jon Krabill.

This breakout session explore how Columbus State Community College used digital content to help entrepreneurial students.  They decided to switch to digital content because it allowed class to be taught in ‘real time’—no new textbook versions or outdated material.  It also allowed for an emphasis on presentation skills and flexibility for students—traditional and non-traditional.

The classroom experience should be molded to individuals and their needs/requirements for an entrepreneurship education. 

The college was working through a transition with the stated goals to create a structured environment that fostered student success.  The implementation of free technology was very important because certain students can’t afford the Adobe suite or Microsoft suite.  The last goal was to utilize their Columbus, Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem, which happens to be driven by Ohio State and to Buckeyes.

Some hurdles which CSCC and other colleges may face during this transition process include psychological impact of losing a textbook.  Student love the index and glossary a textbook gives them, it acts as a safety net.  Thus you must think through providing that information in another easily accessible manner. 

Another hurdle is differing goals between the course and the students businesses.  Course goals and curriculum should be defined by an entrepreneurial ontology—innovation, small business management, or high growth company formation.  You must ask what the students want, and how can we give it to them.

The course was broken down with one main goal in mind—the formation of a business plan.  Structured in four units with specific deliverables, students learn introduction, marketing, financials, and operations of their businesses.

We’ll be focusing on unit 2, Marketing, a five week unit with internal and external resources.

Short video introduction kicks the unit off with goals and learning objectives.  Many times this includes the instructors interviewing local entrepreneurs.  Clear deliverables and rubric are provided to students with a detailed video explanation for why each step in important from the instructor.  Students seem to do much better on assignments if they understand why they’re doing a certain task.

Main content videos are 5-7 minutes long and are supplemented by Tweets, YouTube videos, and article readings.  The activities list is always growing because businesses are always evolving.

Students are provided weekly lecture notes to help guide their learning.  These notes given them reference for what they should be learning.

Pulling in cultural references is a great way to apply content to real world scenarios.

Coopetition is a lot more useful than head to head competition.  Something many students don’t realize or can’t operationalize in their own businesses.  Speaks to Saras’ effectuation principle of the Crazy Quilt. 

Hearing it from the instructor is good, hearing it from a real world entrepreneur is the best.  These short mentoring sessions occur at the end of a unit so as to help students aggregate their entire learning from that unit.

How can technology help facilitate this entire process.  Two perspectives: student support and _____

Social media—great for secondary research, marketing, CRM.  CSCC makes their entrepreneurial students sign up for a Twitter account, easy for young students, a little more challenging for non-traditional students.

Survey creators—great for primary research.

Screen capture—presentation and asynchronous learning.

Info graphic creators—marketing materials

Microsoft suite—presentations, appendices, etc.

Virtual meetings (Webex)—mentoring and presentations

Example business plans—breaking existing business plans down for analysis and mentoring.

Some great technologies which are affordable:

Apple Products

  • Explain Everything

  • Animation HD

  • Vizzywig

  • iMovie

  • Keynote


    Web Products

  • PowToon

  • Adobe suite

  • Animoto

  • Phone and YouTube

The ecosystem around CSCC is based entirely around Ohio State.  However, this isn’t a bad thing.  The enthusiasm for entrepreneurship has grown enormously because of this collegiate cultural influence.  CSCC’s entrepreneurial support is enhanced by the media and PR attention created by a holistic entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Even if you’re a speck on the outside, you can crate great programs by talking to everybody.  Show up, ask questions, and get community/collegiate leaders involved in your college’s classrooms and curriculum.

CSCC has had some great successes.  They’ve proven the classroom can be flipped.  Each week entrepreneurship students must prove what they’ve accomplished and that anyone can do this business ownership thing.  Because they’ve had to prove their effort in the business, students are now able to understand the process and why business planning is important, even if circumstances change, planning sets a framework to help guide the business owner’s actions.

9 CSCC classes went ‘textbookless’, saving $216,000 in student savings and has saved CSCC over $1 million since July 2013.


The second part of this breakout session is presented by Israel Dominguez who truly believes in the power and usefulness of HP Life’s e-learning platform.

This discussion revolves around HP Life and e-learning.  An open education resource for students, entrepreneurs, and small business owners around the world who want to gain real-life business and technology skills.  Best part is—it’s free!  It’s interactive, module based, and designed around core business competencies.

Contextualized entrepreneurship modules help students and educators apply learning across industries, geographies, and desired outcomes.  Special topics fall under either finance, marketing, operations, or communications.  Exercises take between 30 and 60 minutes for students.

Each course features seven steps:

  1. Start: brief overview of course objectives and components

  2. Story: the scenario of a real-life entrepreneur facing a common business challenge

  3. Business concept: principles and strategies to respond to the business challenge (with guided and unguided interactivities)

  4. Technology skill: skills linked to the business concept that can help save time and money, includes tutorials, interactivities, and downloadable exercises

  5. Course discussion: an online global forum to share ideas with others

  6. Certification: a celebration and validation for students

  7. Next steps: things entrepreneurs could/should do after the course

Great outlets for HP Life and E-Learning include applied business and CTE courses, on-line, in-class, or hybrid courses.  Also great for high school and college career path counselors.

Instructors guide has five sections:

  1. Introduction

  2. How to get started

  3. Facilitating e-learning

  4. Use cases

  5. Common challenges in working with e-learning materials

If you’re interested in learning more and giving the software a test drive, go to


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