Posted By Steve E. Bryant,
Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Ivy Tech Community College is the only community college in Indiana and it's statewide network with over 15 regions and 23 main campuses. We were a recent Coleman Foundation award winner at the 2014 NACCE Annual Meeting and our proposed project is to host a statewide Entrepreneurship Summit for all Ivy Tech faculty and staff engaged in entrepreneurship education at the College to grow it across the State of Indiana.
Our program is fairly new, as we first launched our ENTR program in the Fall of 2011 with only a few campuses offering them to students. Since that time, we have launched 6 classes, created new certficates, finally received approval for financial aid for the certificates (whew) and offered 3 new on-line classes. The number of students went from about 50 to over 160 in just a few semesters, but only 4-5 campuses are running the courses and we still are seeing low enrollments across most all of them. This is painful since we know the program has the quality we want in the curriculum and the instructors, but the marketing of it has been challenging with a statewide audience.
It is our hope that a statewide ENTR summit in the Summer of 2015 will allow us to bring together internal stakeholders to identify challenges, strategies, actions and a plan for growing the program so our students can take their ideas and make them a reality upon graduation or when they are ready to launch their business. We also want to ensure that external stakeholders have a say in how we structure our program and could be essential partners in marketing to other audiences. We started talking about the Effectuation process during the Master Class at the NACCE conference and have since made some modifications as we reviewed the application we filed back in September.
We think the Effectuation process will allow us to take some fuzzy goals and add more meat to the outcomes we want to make. In talking with some external partners likely to be supportive of our efforts and participate in the program this summer, we learned that they were far more excited and engaged than we could have imagined. Guessing this falls under the Crazy Quilt principal and they suggested we engage them earlier than the event to help plan and already want to help market our program across the State of Indiana as they pitch small business resources through the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship run by our Lt. Governor, Sue Elspermann.
We were unsure where to start, but Sara Kiffen's guidance and recent blog post helped us understand when and where to start using the Effectuation techniques to aid our process. We are just beginning, so not sure where it will all go, but we're excited to see where it all goes. One of my personal goals is to show how our program can demonstrate new business startups across the State and in rural regions crying for something they can do to stop the tide of young people leaving for more urban pursuits. We think our program has a lot of potential to show the way to reach down into the high schools and we are just getting to adding them to our stakeholder "hit list."
Anyhow, if you have suggestions or want to know how it is going, we'll try to keep the blog posts updated as we kick the door down into 2015...Gonna be quite a ride!
Posted By Christine Pigsley,
Monday, December 15, 2014
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This month we are going to share in a conversation with the Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurial Colleges in Action grantees on a question that many of us deal with on our campuses every day. Please comment on this posting with your thoughts, ideas, and challenges.
“How do you talk about effectuation with internal and external stakeholders at your college?”
Posted By Christine Pigsley,
Monday, December 08, 2014
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Begin Where You Are
By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited
This is the first of a series of monthly blog articles from the work that is being done on engaging effectuation (the entrepreneurial method) in the 10 Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurial Colleges in Action Grantees from around the country. We wanted to share this information with the larger community of practice so you too can start engaging in conversations in your department, your college, and your community.
- When getting started, don’t look outward for “inspiration” or “vision”; look inward.
- Are you starting with a specific problem to solve? If so, you want to develop outcomes that are solutions. This provides some constraints that might help you prioritize next steps and possibilities.
- Are you starting with an idea to create additional value? In this case, you might have more flexibility in terms of how you move forward.
- Be honest with yourself about your organizational culture. Take a few moments to identify potential barriers / challenges. Does effectual thinking fit intuitively with your existing organizational culture? Or will it be a challenge for people to think in this way? Is it a challenge for you, personally, to think in this way?
- Understand what is non-negotiable. This is especially important in institutional settings. Understanding your boundaries will allow you more freedom to pivot when the opportunities arise.
- Do you have a traditional planning process that you must / want to follow? If so, before getting started, look for opportunities to either insert effectual thinking or operate in parallel. This can be an effective way to get others internally on board with this approach.
- Start Asking! Get yourself and your teams to begin making asks, even on a small scale. Practice is essential to building the competence and confidence that will be needed for true co-creation.
- Track your successes and failures. Decide now how you will record your experiences with this process – both the positives and negatives. Since this method relies on interactions, consider capturing conversations.
Effectuation is not an all or nothing approach. Just as every business idea does not warrant an extensive business plan, not every entrepreneurial action needs to be effectual. Expert entrepreneurs are proficient with using both causal and effectual thinking. They understand when and how to apply both mindsets with fluency.
I encourage you to comment on this blog to share your experiences implementing effectuation in your organization and any challenges you are facing.
Posted By Luciano Sappia,
Sunday, November 30, 2014
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Heading to NACCE 2014 Middlesex Community College (MCC) had a mission to kick start the “Expanding the MCC Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” project with the help of the NACCE community and the Coleman Foundation through the ECIA grant. This project is aimed at three of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge action steps:
- Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship
- Increase Entrepreneurs’ Engagement in Community Colleges
- Create Buzz and Broad Exposure of your College’s Commitment to Entrepreneurship.
The core of our project has 3 main deliverables:
- Establishing a Cross-Disciplinary Internal Team of Faculty Dedicated to Broadening Student Understanding of and Engagement in Entrepreneurship Opportunities
- Expanding the Entrepreneur-in Residence Program to a Network of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence
- Sponsoring major entrepreneurship events each semester. (More information on the specifics of the project will be revealed in future posts as they get co-created!)
Upon our return, we began sowing the seeds for self-selection and co-creation. We did this by announcing in every encounter and official meeting the news of our success in Arizona during the conference. Our glee was meeting with equal amount of support from our fellow college community members as well as the external partners that began to get wind of our project moving forward.
One of the first things we did was to announce it during a Faculty and Staff Association meeting. A number of faculty and staff members contacted me after the meeting to offer their support and willingness to collaborate I have to admit I was not expecting so many members of the staff to be interested. I can’t wait to hear more about their ideas of how they can help shape this project from their corners of the institution.
That was the beginning of reaching out to our “Birds-in-hand”. We followed up with meetings with the Asst. Deans of every academic subdivision to identify and invite their faculty to raise their hands to become one of our entrepreneurship champions. We also engaged in conversation with our Professional Development office to begin creating a workshop series to develop the “entrepreneurship champions” understanding of the entrepreneurial method.
Taking these first steps in, not only announcing the project, but inviting the community to get involved in any capacity that feels comfortable to them and allowing for co-creation has proven very effective. You can almost feel the project changing from an Entrepreneurship Program initiative to a college wide collaborative initiative.
- Everyone you meet is a good audience to share what your project is. You never know where you are going to get that connection, flash of inspiration, innovative thought that will steer the project in a better direction.
- We don’t know what others are willing to do or give, so don’t limit your possibilities with questions that predefine the outcome.
- Our colleges have many initiatives all the time that tend to live in silos. Break the silo, let go of the ownership of the project, let it be the college’s project.
- Stay true to the “why” you are engaging your college in the project and let the “what” you do to get it accomplish be shaped by those who take an interest in fulfilling that “why”.
Middlesex Community College
Posted By Steven Groner,
Monday, November 17, 2014
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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.
Posted By Christine Pigsley,
Friday, August 29, 2014
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Submitted by: Steven Groner, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Success
Kaskaskia College, Centralia, Illinois
Kaskaskia College added new-for-us program delivery methods through the 2013-2014 Coleman Action Grant Project. We proposed three formats and have them all underway:
1) Start Entrepreneur Clubs in two rural towns
2) Deliver a concentrated, 16-hour business skill Summer Bootcamp
3) Launch a CEO Roundtable targeted at 2nd tier companies- those having successfully progressed beyond startup
Each program has produced its’ own set of lessons learned and made our school stronger. As a result, we have increased our engagement with the entrepreneurs of our region. Our team wanted to share the experiences of one “E-club”- the one established in Salem, Illinois (population 7,500) last January. We have completed our eighth monthly meeting and can happily report on the growth and synergy of the group. In fact, you can follow the club on Facebook- Salem, IL Entrepreneur Club. You will find excitement, enjoyment and enthusiasm present.
EXCITEMENT:The group has two future-looking projects… tabletop displays at the Spring 2015 grand opening of a city walking trail, also a Christmas in July event for next Summer. We have a resource sharing/book lending meeting element that really opens up conversations too.
ENJOYMENT:We agree completely with Amy Schulz’s Feather River blog of a few months ago, where she observed “Listen to your entrepreneurs and don’t feel like you have to plan every minute. Build the framework for meetings, book the space, provide food, get out of the way and LISTEN.” The Kaskaskia College educational content for the meetings is brief and includes either a motivational video or an in-person guest speaker on a group requested topic. Our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has donated interesting books that are used to reward those who “bring a friend”.
ENTHUSIASM:In addition to a club member starting our Facebook page, we have multiple volunteers each month that want to share their business story with the group. A “home run” for this club was catching the Salem Mayor’s interest. John Raymer has been a vocal supporter of the club and he sends his citizens our way. The E-club has expanded the Mayor’s vision of what our College can do for his community.
1. It takes a core group of 15 to 20 club members to reach a sustainable inertia. We did not have this size initially so perseverance and follow up have been needed. Summer schedules are a challenge for all, yet we now have over 25 members. Keep prospecting!
2. Involvement from diverse constituents and community groups is essential. For instance in our 2nd E-club, we are still hoping for a community champion or two. Have confidence and continue to press on.
3. Allow the group to evolve and build its’ own personality. The first few meetings deviated from agendas and recent sessions are less structured. You are onto something when sessions are productive and group chemistry is building.
4. Follow the Feather River College (California) philosophy of listening more and the college talking less!
5. Make certain that your College commitment is sustained, supportive and long term if you want to earn community support.
6. Proactively welcome participants and provide encouragement. Some entrepreneurs approached the initial club meetings with trepidation and are now actively contributing members.
Posted By Christine Pigsley,
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Submitted by: Sandra Louvier, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, Houston Community College, HCC NW (2013/2014 Coleman Grant Awardee, NACCE Membership Ambassador, AACC Slingshot College)
Houston Community College’s 2013/2014 Coleman Foundation Grant Project has been dedicated to Creating and Expanding Internal and External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship. In the past seven years our partnerships have been highly effective and dynamic and they have allowed us to grow our entrepreneurial offerings. With our grant activities we sought to deepen our partnerships by creating an Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Consortium made up of internal and external partners. We collaborated to plan and hold five events as follows: 1) Business Plan Competition Reception, 2) Grow Through Exporting Seminar, 3) Enterprise Skills Faculty Development Workshop, 4) Small Business Growth Summit and 5) Veteran Entrepreneurship Workshop. Our activities also served to increase entrepreneurs’ engagement at HCC, leverage both college and community assets and create buzz and broad exposure of HCC’s commitment to entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Consortium & Five Fabulous Events The EEDC was convened early in the grant timeline, broke into collaborative committees for event planning and the EEDC convenes again in August to wrap up grant activities and plan for the future. The Business Plan Competition Reception was held in January in collaboration with some of our closest and most long-standing partners and served as a feeder event into the Business Plan Competition which is a working competition held from January through April each year. The EEDC met in February and included internal reps from varying HCC entrepreneurial initiatives (Office of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, 10,000 Small Businesses, Minority Business Development Agency, International Business and Entrepreneurship faculty). External Partners included the SBA, SCORE, banks, local chamber and economic development council, Newspring (Business Plan Competition partner), local entrepreneurs and others. We proceeded to plan and hold additional grant events in March, April and May and another is planned in August.
Business Plan Competition Reception 01/09/14: Past Contestants, BPC Leaders and Prize Sponsors gathered to mix and mingle with Applicants for the 2014 Competition at Wallis State Bank. BPC leaders spoke of things to come in the 2014 competition and past contestants gave testimonials about how the competition propelled them forward. The event strengthened our applicant pool and helped lead to our best competition ever! Check out our photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/117725629534571468084/albums/5969367356903362577
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Consortium (EEDC Mtg) 02/26/14: Dr. Zachary Hodges, President, HCC NW welcomed an outstanding team of internal and external partners to the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Consortium held at HCC Spring Branch on February 26. Top leadership support continued throughout the entire grant period in that Zach Hodges, Maya Durnovo (Chief Entrepreneurial Initiatives Officer –HCC District) and Evelyn Velasquez (Interim Dean of Workforce & Economic Development, HCC NW) supported and played roles in the planning and execution of every grant event. Check out our photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/117725629534571468084/albums/5986726293210428721
Grow Through Exporting 03/21/14: The registrant list was as follows: 56 small business owners, 10 small business employees, 31 Students, 40 aspiring exporters, and 3 graduates of 10,000 Small Businesses, including 20 business owners doing over $150,000 in revenues, 22 already exporting & 52 who indicated specific products they want to begin exporting. All made great connections for follow-up with presenters from the Department of Commerce-International Trade Association, Small Business Administration, HCC International Business Dept., HCC Entrepreneurship, Export-Import Bank and Wallis State Bank. Each attendee chose next Action Steps to pursue their exporting goals. Check out our photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/117725629534571468084/albums/5993700898163629665
Power of Choice – Faculty Development Workshop HCC faculty joined Professor Linda Koffel for a thought provoking seminar on “Enterprise Skills: The New Survival Mindset.” Koffel stated “Entrepreneurial skills are the survival skills of the new economic environment including the ability to direct one’s fate, to create one’s future, to develop one’s talents and potential. The new survival skills all revolve around one major trait — controlling one’s own fate through creative problem solving, persistence, risk taking, being proactive, educating oneself and gaining the appropriate knowledge to reach goals.” HCC faculty from across the system gathered to share and brainstorm about how they teach students 21st Century enterprise skills in academic and workforce classes. Instructors participated in interactive exercises, shared creative lessons and inspired each other as they planned new lessons for fall classes. Check out our photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/117725629534571468084/albums/6002132610087904913
Small Business Growth Summit HCC surrounded entrepreneurs with the might of the Houston entrepreneurial eco-system on May 16 at the Spring 2014 Small Business Summit. The purpose: Ignite entrepreneurial thinking through owners, leaders and employees as the catalyst that will drive 21st Century economic growth. Keynote speakers Liz Townsend and Anthony Milton grew My Fit Foods into a national chain and these serial entrepreneurs are now launching and/or growing multiple concepts. The platform: inspiring, insightful, interactive presentations, panels and workshops and networking with empowering resource partners. The auditorium was filled with nearly 100 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs who benefited from the 16 experts featured on the agenda and from networking with representatives of 20 resource support partners from the Houston entrepreneurial eco-system. Check out our photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/117725629534571468084/albums/6017733677951544657
Veteran Entrepreneurship Workshop For Veterans who want to start a small business and for Veterans who are Solopreneurs or Micro-Entrepreneurs and want to grow. Presentations: HCC Center for Entrepreneurship and HCC Admissions Adviser/Counselor., SBA, SCORE, Women Veterans Business Center. Progressive Roundtables - Featuring Veteran Entrepreneurs and Veteran Instructors (5 Tables). Each Veteran Entrepreneur leader leads a table by talking about past success as an entrepreneur and their business and/or ties to HCC Entrepreneurship (BPC or class, etc.) for 5-7 minutes, and then leaders takes Q&A from those at the table for 7-10 minutes for a total of 15 minutes at the roundtable. The bell rings and each leader moves to the next table and does the same thing with a new table of attendees for the next 15 minutes. This will repeat for five 15-minute intervals. Lunch and Exhibitor Networking What NACCE resources are helping you reach these goals?
NACCE/Coleman Foundation’s Community of Practice benefitted us greatly. Monthly group calls allowed the eleven winning colleges to share best practices and helped us resolve some challenges and avert others. One-on-one calls with the NACCE appointed EICA leader who was also a former grant recipient college helped colleges understand and meet grant requirements. One example: we expanded our internal and external partner list to include more knowing that some might not be able to attend EEDC meetings but would appreciated being included and that they would collaborate via phone and through one-on-one meetings when necessary.
Survey and Measure Before and After. On-Line Registration form for events can be leveraged to collect meaningful data for target audience and build a database for future related events. If enough information is collected up front, the college can market to attendees and no shows for future events. Although time consuming, measurement can lead to more business and opportunities later.
Be Willing to Adapt Plans as good feedback and advice comes in from internal and external partners. Example, we revised our Small Business Summit to showcase HCC’s wide breadth of entrepreneurial initiatives, rather than focusing solely on start-ups and micro entrepreneurs as initially planned. We created sub-committee planning meetings between events to stay focused on specific goals. We adjusted dates to accommodate internal and external partner needs.
Collaborative Promotion Builds Success. External and internal partner alliances to promote events to our databases built registration and attendance and celebrated our success internally and externally to the broader business community.
Houston Community College
Posted By Christine Pigsley,
Monday, June 30, 2014
Updated: Monday, June 30, 2014
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Submitted by Amy Schulz, Director of Career and Technical Education, Economic Workforce Development
Feather River College
Feather River College received a Coleman Entrepreneurship in Action Grant at the 2013 NACCE Conference to Increase Entrepreneurs' Engagement in Community Colleges through an entrepreneurship succession planning and internship project. Since this was a grant-funded project, we initially thought the activities should be very structured and planned. It doesn’t always work that way in entrepreneurship. We learned that entrepreneurs enjoy the space to be able to reflect. Monthly planning meetings turned into a time of reflection and wonderful unexpected collaborations across sectors. Our advice for engaging entrepreneurs from the community: Build the framework for meetings, book the space, provide food, get out of the way and LISTEN.
So, here is the story of one of our program participants so you can see what it really means to engage with your entrepreneurs and be ready to take the journey with them.
Roxanne Valladao is a living legend in Plumas County. As executive director of Plumas Arts, she is known for bringing in top notch talent to perform in rural and remote Plumas County for over 30 years. Under her leadership at Plumas Arts, she has saved a 150 year-old theatre which earns revenue from playing first run feature films while serving as the cultural heart of community and a venue for live performances. She converted a run-down dive bar on Main Street into a beautiful gallery and retail space, providing entrepreneurial opportunities for local artisans. Her efforts in promoting the arts as a key to cultural and economic development have not gone unnoticed. Tiny Plumas Arts is one of the highest ranking arts commissions in the whole state of California. When Roxanne and board president, Kara Rockett, participated in the Feather River College Business Succession Pilot, funded by the Coleman Foundation, folks became concerned. Rumors swirled around town. “Is Roxanne retiring?” “What is Plumas Arts going to do without her?” “Are we still going to get the great talent to come to Quincy?”
Roxanne just turned 60, and she is planning to retire in the next 2-5 years, but not now. The Business Succession Planning pilot was the perfect opportunity to explore succession and to be proactive about how the torch is passed. Like many entrepreneurs, Roxanne has poured her heart and soul into Plumas Arts, building an organization over decades and sustaining it during lean times. Plumas Arts is very personal to her—it is her legacy. It’s not so easy to hand over to just anyone, and it’s not so easy to think about either. After some prompting from the state arts commission, which ranked Plumas Arts as excellent in every category except in succession planning, Roxanne decided to jump on board the Feather River College project.
The Business Succession Planning pilot combines the resources of the college’s entrepreneurship program with those of the internship program. By pairing student mentees with established mentors, the process could be facilitated and documented through the infrastructure of the college programs. After enrolling in the internship class, Kara as board president was in a good position to participate as a mentee. Kara brings in the perspective and practical concerns of the board and to understand what needs to happen for an eventual transition. Kara could possibly be Roxanne’s successor when and if the time is right. Together Roxanne and Kara have explored delicate issues, such as staffing on a budget and transferring institutional knowledge that Roxanne and her veteran staff know innately. They have also faced the emotional side of succession together. Kara’s sensitivity and good intentions have made this a welcome and joyous process for Roxanne, which she was originally dreading.
An unexpected benefit of this pairing has been their influence in the community. Just the fact that Roxanne was participating got the community to take notice. What started as concern for the future of Plumas Arts has turned into a healthy dialogue around the future of our local economy and the number of aging entrepreneurs. Who will be the next generation and take over established and beloved businesses and organizations, from non-profits to appliance repair? The magic of the grapevine has been the most powerful marketing tool, and entrepreneurs have approached the team at Feather River College for help with their succession planning. After reviewing and documenting the results of this pilot which included a total of three mentor/mentee pairings, Feather River College and NACCE are releasing a video to share this and more results from our project as well as making information available through our website. In addition, we are planning to continue this project in the Fall 2014 Semester through internships. For more information, please contact Amy Schulz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feather River College
Posted By Barbara Cox,
Monday, February 24, 2014
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Dr. Scott Fredrickson
is a Professor
of Entrepreneurship & Executive Director of the
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Learning Center
It seems to be a repeated pattern that when the
economy takes a downturn, our institutions of higher education see enrollment
increases. Long-time workers find themselves in need of new skills or of
updating their existing ones. Education programs that emphasize job or career
preparation feel the impact and work to provide the most and the best.
Following the most recent major downturn, the pattern held, and colleges were
pressed to move students forward toward new or changed careers, and to do so
with fewer resources to do so.
Interestingly, another phenomenon happened on the
way, one not always seen in the old pattern. Attention came to focus as much or
more on building businesses as on preparing jobs. We needed to create the jobs,
not wait for bandages to bring back the old ones. At the same time, and with
speed we’d not seen previously, emerging technologies, innovation, and the
creativity of a new generation, coalesced to make the possibilities for new
businesses surge forward.
One more phenomenon seems to have been taking
hold, and some will tell you that this one, too, is generational. Maybe it has
been an awakening, an outcome of growing awareness on unprecedented scales. Let
me share a short observation with you. Several teachers of business have
contributed their experience that getting students motivated to plan a business
is a challenge. Some of the most engaged of students would announce their
intention to become wealthy by inventing a new app, or to live "in the fast
lane” by selling "really hot t-shirts!” These teachers now tell me, and I see
it myself, that the current wave of students wants to do something remarkable,
whether minor or great, to help the world. And they want to do it by creating a
business that will do it, and make money down this path. Furthermore, they feed
this motivation by learning about engineering, sustainable agriculture, energy
savings and generation, health sciences, people, technologies … you name the
question. These students want to enter the arena of economic growth by creating
solutions to serious, deep-rooted problems and the businesses to deliver them.
Sustainable Business Models
The concept that describes this business mission
is social entrepreneurship, the development of sustainable business
models to solve chronic social issues. Since the inception of the term in 1980 by
Bill Drayton founder of Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs
worldwide, social entrepreneurs have developed innovative solutions to many of
society’s most pressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs act as change
agents for society by drawing upon thinking in both the business and non-profit
worlds to develop new approaches to a company’s mission and thus sustain social
value. Finally, after 34 years of being perceived as "charity work,” social
entrepreneurship is coming into its own.
Examples of sustainable businesses with a social
– a combination of Mary Kay and LensCrafters that sells inexpensive reading
glasses across India, China, and Latin America. This business employs local
sales reps using the Grameen Bank micro-finance model that has proven
successful across Bangladesh.
– produces over 250 products from 60 waste streams that would otherwise be
destined for landfills.
manufactures a sleeping bake-like device that warms low-birth babies in
hospitals and clinics in areas that have unreliable electricity and heat lamps
that don’t always work.
Social entrepreneurship can also operate with an
existing business structure. Intrepreneurship is the act of behaving like an
entrepreneur within an existing organization. Finding the collaboration of
social good and smart business as well a meeting the needs of the
community is becoming the new standard against which we judge the health and
worth of a business. Business typically measures performance by accounting
standards of profit and loss. Social entrepreneurs must also use these
standards but take into account a positive return to society. These broad
social, cultural and environmental goals are most commonly associated with
nonprofit organizations. But when embraced by a business organization, can
foster sustainable profits and positive community goodwill.
The "triple bottom line" was first coined by John
Elkington in 1994. He proposed that companies should be measured with three
bottom lines; profit or loss, plus social and environmental concerns.” These
additional two lines would measure how socially responsible the company has
been to their community and the environment.
For example, if a company made a profit, but
neglected maintenance on their storage tanks that eventually burst, polluting a
major river providing drinking water for a large population, and the government
ends up spending taxpayer money on river clean-up, how would this company be
In today’s world, a socially sustainable business
must develop three measurable objectives:
1. Profitability – A business must continue to
make money developing products and services the market deems worthy and protect
2. Socially responsibility – A business must be
aware and respond to the social and community needs of its employees,
customers, other stakeholders, and markets.
3. Environmental awareness – A business must
commit to sustainable environmental practices to ensure the health of the
community, reduce waste, and conserve energy.
In 2013, the state of Michigan launched the Pure
Michigan Social Entrepreneur Challenge. The goal of this public-private effort
was to develop innovative solutions to help solve chronic and social issues
like poverty and hunger by applying sustainable free market models.
was the first state to hold a social entrepreneur competition and was extremely
pleased with over 400 participants and 150 business plans submitted. 10 winners
were selected and coached to pitch their business models to potential
investors. 8 of the winners are currently in the process of obtaining
investments of well over $200,000 from investors and non-profits foundations.
County Social Entrepreneurship Competition
Saddleback College will host the nation's
first county-wide social entrepreneur competition May 10, 2014. Saddleback’s
competition will follow the Michigan model and help entrepreneurs discover
local, organic, and innovative solutions to problems like homelessness,
poverty, and hunger by applying free market, sustainable business models.
Finalists can potentially win over $125,000 in cash, prizes, and chatting
services. In addition, finalists will have a rare opportunity to pitch their
ideas to social impact investors from across the nation with a chance to get
funded upwards of $100,000. The goal of the competition is to educate students
and the community that profits alone are not the only measure of success and
sustainability. Everyone must participate in the social revolution. Learn what
Saddleback College is doing to make a difference.
Social entrepreneurs who wish to participate
should go online to the Saddleback College Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Learning Center at:
Once individuals or teams submit their
ideas, they will be able to access coaches from the Saddleback College network
to help develop their projects and presentations. Online and in-person events
will be offered to further assist participants in refining their submissions
before the final May application deadline.
Triple Bottom Line