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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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Coleman Entrepreneurial College in Action

Posted By Jim Elias, Monday, December 30, 2013

 Are You Pitch Perfect?

This past October, at the NACCE Annual Conference, I was awarded funding through the Entrepreneurial College in Action grant competition, powered by The Coleman Foundation. As we look forward to 2014, I'd like to share a few insights into preparing a solid grant proposal and winning live presentation. This is by no means a step-by-step process, but a few ideas to help you build a highly fundable package that underscores the innovative nature of your college and its programs.

1. Don’t plan it alone

When the announcement first comes out, you declare to yourself, "I’ve an awesome idea that surely will win this grant competition?” Stop right there and ask someone else. The ECIA grant competition requires an interdisciplinary proposal for good reason. As brilliant as your ideas are, they’ll be even better when you brainstorm with others in your college and entrepreneurial community. Confer with other faculty members, your college recruiters, administration, students and local entrepreneurs.

2. Give it time to gel

Once you’ve outlined your brilliant brainstorm and it looks like a solid program to pitch, put it down and walk away. Sometimes the most effective step to planning is to forget about it for a bit. Set your ideas aside for a day, a week or two. Let the ideas brew. When you come back to it, approach it with a fresh perspective to see if the ideas really do gel. Ask yourself, not do you like it, but does it work?

3. Make the metrics work
First of all, how will you know if it works? Do your ideas meet the criteria specifically spelled out in the grant application? These are your metrics. As you write your grant proposal make sure you address each item as spelled out in the application. If you have an element to your plan you really like, but it doesn’t meet a particular criterion does it really work? Being a tough editor and critic on your own work is often pretty tough, so go back to your original community of brainstormers and planners for feedback. Be open to your own and their criticism … solid feedback is necessary. Remember, does it work?

4. Get administration’s buy-in early
Having your Chancellor, President and/or Dean on board with your idea early is a must. What it takes to accomplish this is certainly unique for every college and for the individuals involved. Yet if we boil it down to the essence of what it takes, it’s simple: it just takes good communication. To do that, put your selling hat on and remember it’s not about what’s in it for you and your department or program, it’s what’s in it for your Administration. Help your campus leadership see how winning this grant will help fulfill the mission of your college and accomplish specific goals.

5. Ask your students

When it comes right down to it, isn’t all of this about our ‘students’ (customers if you will)? Your ideas look great, the budget is right on the money, Administration loves it, and the community can’t wait for you to get started; but what do the end users really think about it? Once you believe you’re pitch is ready, present it to a group of students or other end users of the program to find out if it really does work. Remember, feedback is key to making your grant proposal a winner. Don’t be afraid of your students’ feedback … they expect it from you right? … it will be spot-on and give you input that helps you wrap up you pitch into a complete, powerful package!

BONUS TIP
Prepare for the worst
Weather, travel snafus, technology glitches … you all know Murphy’s Law? Make sure backups of your presentation are in the hands of co-presenters and available in multiple formats so the show can go on even if you arrive with only seconds to spare! (True story)

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2013 Trends for Young Entrepreneurs

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, December 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2013

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. Community colleges are no different. Since many of us educate and motivate student entrepreneurs, 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. They told me the trends facing young entrepreneurs in 2013. Listen to their trends in this podcast.  

 

It is Possible to Start and Grow a Business in a Year of Economic Uncertainty

Jason launched his business in 2008 when the economy started to take a nose dive. He actually thought that year was a good time to start a business because it forced him to "set his business’ foundation, understand who their target really was and define value his company was offering”. Jason thought 2013 offered the same opportunity to students starting a business. One of his favorite sayings is "It takes pressure to create diamonds.” For Jason, that saying is a reminder that pressure if not always an alarm to stop but rather a signal that you are on the right path. 

Timeless Trend – It is Important to Connect with Other Young Entrepreneurs

Jason’s saying prompted Sheena to remind young entrepreneurs to network with other entrepreneurs. In times of uncertainty, connections with other peers that are going through similar challenges can be reassuring and a resource. "Knowing that there are challenges, knowing that you are not the only one experiencing those challenges, helps you stay in the game.” I agreed and thought it was important to not be limited to finding connections in your industry. Hearing other’s struggles and best practices can spark ideas for a non-related business. 

Missed Opportunities for Mentoring – Make a Right Match

Sheena saw an increase in mentoring program across the country. She has also seen a mismatch in mentors/mentees in some cases. As students first launch their business, it is useful to find mentors who are similar in business age. Entrepneurship who started their business in the last two years will remember what it is like to plan and launch. More established firms might not remember what it took to get their now publically traded company off the ground. It is important to offer a range of mentors with varied experiences.Some advice she had for any mentors was to try o make themselves relatable. Break down the barrier of how you are different. Share the very human story and feeling of launching a business and the inevitable #EpicFail.

What trend did you see with student entrepreneurs? 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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How do I get more from my entrepreneurship board?

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, December 09, 2013

In the movie Field of Dreams (circa 1989) the message is "if you build it they will come”, but is that really true in the world of community college entrepreneurship boards? Can we get the substantive engagement needed by simply building the program or do we need to build a better board to get better outcomes?

Now I remember running our entrepreneurship center at Dakota County Technical College and how thrilled we were to have an entrepreneurship board of more than 20 committed individuals. We did the invitation to join, we rolled out the red carpet for the meetings, and we even had a school issued handbook on how to be a good advisory member. But what we failed to do more often than not is invest in their participation as a board member with professional development. We all know that you can be a great technician and still fail in business. The same can be said for our entrepreneurship boards.

Here are 5 tips to provide better board member professional development:

1. Invest some actual funds in professional development. Nominal cost often directly results in nominal outcomes.

2. Carve out time that is specifically devoted to getting the group on the same page with mission and vision of the college.

3. Get participation from internal and external members- it can’t just be for the volunteers, you must get senior administration participating as well.

4. Use a process that actually results in achievement of a product, such as an action plan.

5. Reward the participants with some achievement, award, certificate or other notable note so you can promote them and get buzz for your program.

NACCE’s new Entrepreneurship Specialist Certificate online training is one way to infuse national best practices for entrepreneurship program success into your professional development plan. Your board can take part in an online training where they work asynchronously and then bring them together for regular "wrap” sessions face to face to solidify your action plan. For more information, visit www.nacce.com/?OnlineTraining. 

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NACCE's Entrepreneurship Specialist Certificate Online Training

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What is the recipe for successful campus engagement in your entrepreneurship program?

As we approach the holiday season the campus is buzzing with the passing of secret recipes, invitations to get-togethers, even how to re-gift without getting busted, and it gets me to thinking that there has to be a way to get the buzz going on campus about the entrepreneurial future for each of our colleges.

We spend a great deal of time promoting what we do in entrepreneurship to the larger community and to the businesses we serve, but what about the internal commitment to making our campuses more of an entrepreneurial institution? If we "toot” our internal horn will it seem like self-promotion or an open invitation to join the party?

Here are 5 tips to help you achieve that balance of the buzz that will increase the participation level in your efforts on campus:

  1. Don’t praise the people- profile the effort. Sell the campus community on the impact of the effort instead of the great works of the individuals. You can say thank you, but do it with subtlety.

  2. Make what you do really sound like fun. And then follow through and make sure it IS fun and not hype. When was the last time you volunteered to be involved in something that sounded boring or difficult? Oh and remember fun is in the eye of the beholder not your definition- know your campus community.

  3. Don’t be afraid to say what’s in it for them? We get caught up in what’s good for the institution, and forget that people have needs. Feed the need!

  4. Compartmentalize. Not only do you get more mileage when you share little "bite-sized” news flashes or requests for participation, you will get greater comprehension of what you are looking for and how people can specifically engage.

  5. Invest in an effort that gets people on board at the front end of the effort. When you include the larger college in on the action planning instead of making them free labor, they own it.

One idea to consider is to engage a cross campus team in putting together an entrepreneurial campus action plan. NACCE has a variety of resources that can help you build your buzz. Check out the NACCE bookstore for the essential practices series (www.nacce.com/?page=essentialpractices) or gather your team for a facilitated online training (www.nacce.com/?Onlinetraining) that starts on February 3rd . You can also contact one of our NACCE member ambassadors who can help your college or program find the perfect recipe for growing and developing entrepreneurship on your campus.

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Udacity Founder Rethinks MOOCs – Do you?

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, December 02, 2013

In a surprising Fast Company article, Professor Sebastian Thrun, Founder of Udacity states: "I'd aspired to give people a profound education--to teach them something substantial…But the data was at odds with this idea." Considered the godfather of MOOCs by some, Thrun was disappointed that while Udacity had 1.6 million students, on average, 5 out of 100 learned the coursework. An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education points out that many faculty are not surprised by Thrun’s findings and that Udacity will not disrupt higher education as originally imagined. Jonathan Haber, columnist in the Huffington Post still believes that technology can bring education to more people while "enhancing rather than tear(ing) down the existing college system".

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Top Trends in Community Colleges in 2013

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Sunday, December 01, 2013
Updated: Sunday, December 01, 2013

As the fall semester comes to a close, my thoughts have turned to a year-end review.  I decided to check-in with two of our "Innovative Solutions for Challenges Facing Community Colleges" panelists from the NACCE2013 conference. Dr. Angeline Godwin, President of Patrick Henry Community College and Matt Reed, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Holyoke Community College, blogger and author of my personal resource guide - "Confessions of a Community College Administrator" gave their points of view on trends they saw. Listen to the podcast. 

 

"Community colleges are a 360 degree enterprise."  

As a community college president, "we are looking for the broadest and deepest engagement with our community and students" says Dr. Godwin.  She gave stackable credits as an example of the innovative work that serves both industry and students as the stackable credits are usually industry driven. With these credits, the students are more marketable and more mobile. While the downturn in the local economy was a driver for Patrick Henry Community College to take a 360 approach, Dr. Godwin hears presidents across the country addressing their community colleges as 360 degree enterprises.

 

"Improving Student Success is Mission Driven and Now Funding Driven"

Starting at minute 6:50

Dr. Reed notes that while community colleges have always been focused on student success, in 2013 many states moved to performance funding. States are funding based on the metrics that they define as indicators of student success. One of the ways that Dr. Reed is meeting that goal is by using Big Data to better understand his college's actual results and outputs. Listen to hear other trends around technology that Dr. Reed is seeing. 

What are trends that you have seen? Leave a comment below.

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Tags:  2013 trends 

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Inspiring & Engaging Student Trep

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Excited to live blog

Presenter: Felecia Hatcher, Chief Popsicle Officer, Feverish Popsicle & Gourmet Ice Cream

I need to get the video for Felecia's talk. Too many good things (and laughs!)  to type.

 

Big "Ah Has" 

  • She got $120K+ in scholarships as a C student. Yup, C.
  • She used her college assets - dorm phone, copy machine - to launch her first business.
  • Her mom, who said she had to go to college, also said she should start a business based on work she was doing without charging. As a mom myself, I tend to focus on being an employee. Shame on me, I know. 
  • You cannot take passion to the bank to pay your bills.
  • Dad told her not to "take a break" from a business even though she was in debt and had a lucrative presenter gig lined up. Parents are Influencers.
  • More people need to share their stories of failure. The myth is that it is a straight line to $3 billion buyout. In truth, there are a lot of ups and down and not always a buy out.
  • "Adversity" - double job layoff for husband and wife founder team - helped then launch their business.
  • Lots of stories about "Bird in the Hand" - "We used what we had."
  • Entrepreneurs are scrappy. 40 year old truck for catering event broke down, so they towed it to the site and then when it broke down again, they pushed the truck to the site.
  • When she work at large firms, she made to sure to learn from those firms their best practices that she could apply to her company.

Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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Teaching Entrepreneurship Across the Disciplines

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Exciting to be live blogging from NACCE Miami Dade College Summit

 

Presenters:

  • Prof. Isabel Del-Pino-Allen, English & Communications, Miami Dade College, North Campus
  • Prof. Zulfikar Kalam, Criminal Justice, Miami Dade College, North Campus
  • James Van Voris, School of Entertainment & Design Technology, Producer
  • Prof. Kim Simon, Business Administration, Madisonville Community College, NACCE Faculty Ambassador for HP LIFE

 How can we integrate entrepreneurship across the curriculum?

  • Need to remember it is not a one day conversation but a ongoing process. We need to change the culture to be entrepreneurial.
  • Remember entrepreneurship is as different as the people that create it. Diversity must be paid attention to. (Amen!)
  • Create a mindset so that entrepreneurship is not "out there" but internalized.
  • Many students are already entrepreneurial because they are self-employed. These students sometimes view being self-employed not as important as having a Corporate job. This mindset has to change.
  • Entrepreneurship education is like stretching. It feels good when get started but settle into our habitual sedentary way. However, in entrepreneurship education, we need to stand up and keep stretching. 
  • Problem based learning helps students how they can pivot themselves in their careers and also be intrapreneurs in their jobs.
  • Immigrants can be the most entrepreneurial since they needed to be entrepreneurial to make a living.
  • Remember students in welding, entertainment technology will most likely start a business. They need to be equipped to be successful and profitable.


Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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Redefining Entrepreneurship

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, November 18, 2013

Excited to be live blogging from NACCE Miami Dade College Summit

Trep=Entrepreneur


Presenter: Gary Schoeniger, Co-Creator "Who Owns the Ice House"

 

How do we define entrepreneurship?

In the past we ignored the entrepreneurs and their talents, we focused on The Company. Then we focused on the charismatic start up leaders. But today net new jobs are created outside of large companies. So we know about large companies, small business management but do not know about entrepreneurial process.

 

How are we teaching?

  • Plan & Pitch with tech focus but the problem is that a fraction of 1% are funded by VCs.
  • Small Business Management as running a company but entrepreneurship is not management. Assumes trep has customers with traction.

Entrepreneurial Study on the Reality of the Founding of Fortune 500 Firms

  • Did not have break through technology
  • Little formal planning
  • Ad hoc market research
  • Start up capital of $10k or less
  • Little or no experience in chosen field (BIG Surprise to me.)

 

What path do these "scrappy" Fortune 500 founders take?

  • They connect with their environment by creating something useful. (Transformation Theory changes within a system - Search, Growth and Obsolescence (from Ted Talk on "How are Schools are Killing Creativity)).  Solve other people's problems.
  • Once founders get traction (people are buying what you are selling), they replicate success, improve continually and create compliance.
  • Once environment changes in ways that are outside of our control, the growth starts to slow. Change may be met by entrenched systems. Founders pivot based on external changes and grow or perish.
  • Because of growth phase, there is capital to fund new ideas. However,  may be hesitant to make big bold bets. May acquire growth, not create internally. 

Entrepreneurship = Opportunity Discovery! (Amen)

 

Gary presents on Who Owns the Ice House?"


 

 


Tags:  Miami Dade College; Regional Summit 

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