A Wave of Entrepreneurial Spirit at Bunker Hill Community College
Friday, December 12, 2008
Global Entrepreneurship Week Is a Big Success at BHCC
Boston, MA - When people hear the name ‘Bunker Hill Community College,’ they usually say: “Oh that’s the college that was in the movie Goodwill Hunting.” Of course the movie publicity for Bunker Hill (BHCC) is very welcome, but recently a wave of entrepreneurship activities at the college is about give BHCC recognition for something altogether different.
From November 17th to 23rd, BHCC students participated in Global Entrepreneurship Week, along with millions of young people around the world in dozens of countries. Boston area colleges began their week with an evening event held at Northeastern University at which the keynote speaker was Bob Davis, founder of Lycos. On the Bunker Hill campus, there was a full week of events with prominent and interesting speakers. A key strength of the week was the variety of speakers including actual entrepreneurs blended with speakers from the media and government.
The first entrepreneurial speakers of the week were Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Riesman, who produced, wrote, and the directed the film The Powder and the Glory. The film tells the story of how two pioneering entrepreneurial women, Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, created an industry, became global rivals and cultural icons, and “changed the way we look at ourselves." The film was based on the book War Paint by Lindy Woodhead. The film was shown at Bunker Hill, earning reviews such as “awesome” and “a masterpiece.” PBS intends to broadcast the film, Monday March 23, 2009, 10PM (check local listings), presented by South Carolina ETV.
Next, Bunker Hill students, faculty and guests heard Scott Kirsner, who writes on entrepreneurship and a weekly Innovation Economy column for the Boston Globe. Mr. Kirsner has also been a contributing writer for Fast Company and Wired since 1997. His writing has appeared in such media as the New York Times, Business Week, the San Jose Mercury News, CIO, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Another notable speaker was Ray Welliver, vice president of State Street Corporation, who spoke on The Importance of Good Customer Service to an audience made up primarily of hospitality and culinary arts students. Prior to joining State Street, Mr. Welliver spent eight years in the restaurant industry.
Elizabeth Marascia, CEO of Andover Auto School, was another featured speaker during the week. She founded the school and has had continued success for 20 years. In her presentation she emphasized the importance of seizing an opportunity. No driving school existed in Andover and she was tired of her commute to a school in Charlestown. Ms. Marascia spoke to a packed audience about the realities of having your own business, especially in difficult times.
Another entrepreneur who met our students was Maria Duque, who started a jewelry importing business. While Ms. Duque launched her business to provide herself with an income and have a job with flexible hours, her enterprise has a socio-economic impact on the artisans she works with. The jewelry she imports is made from ‘vegetable ivory,’ a product from Columbia’s palm trees. Her importing business provides small artisans in Colombia’s remote villages with fair paid work that enables them to be economically self-sufficient while at the same time maintain their artistic traditions. During her presentation Ms. Duque spoke of the investment and time she makes every year to attend merchandise fairs and similar events, and of the importance of being frugal in all business practices and to continue to invest extra resources in your business.
Finally, the Bunker Hill audience heard very informative presentations by state and federal agencies that help small businesses. Annamarie Kersten of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Small Business Development Office (BizTeam) spoke of the State’s role and resources in helping start-ups and existing business. She also spoke of special funding available for life sciences projects. Meanwhile, David Polatin of the Boston Office, Small Business Administration (SBA), spoke of the many services offered by his agency to prospective entrepreneurs.
In all, Global Entrepreneurship Week was a great learning opportunity for the college, especially for those students who may one day start their own businesses. We also made new friends with entrepreneurship programs in the area and are excited to report that we are establishing a MassEntrepreneurship Consortium.
Contributors: Fred Santino, Assistant Professor of Business Administration; Bogusia Wojciechowska, Dean of Professional Studies