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Planning for the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Event

Posted By Susan Martin, Thursday, February 26, 2009

Northeast Higher Education District, MN - $5,000 to support the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour program across five community college campuses intended to create a forum for students to learn the possibilities offered through entrepreneurship.

It was such a thrill to return to Minnesota from the NACCE conference carrying a grant check from the Coleman Foundation that would help bring the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET) to our communities.  I believe we received our grant from the Coleman Foundation because of the vast support already in place here for entrepreneurship education.
Each of the five colleges in our region's Northeast Higher Education District (NHED) already had an entrepreneurship team (e-team) in place working to bring entrepreneurship education onto its campus. Each e-team is comprised of faculty, staff and students.  All e-teams recruit business leaders, chamber of commerce professionals, economic development leaders and anyone interested in helping to provide students and the community with entrepreneur resources, skills and inspiration.

The first thing we did upon my return from the NACCE conference was set up a conference call with all of the e-teams to begin the planning process of our Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour event. During the meeting it was decided that Hibbing Community College (HCC) would host the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour and the other colleges would transport students to HCC for the event. An event planning committee (Extreme E-team) was formed with a representative from each college.

This Extreme E-Team went right to work under the leadership of Chuck Lyons from Hibbing Community College.  First item on the agenda was to select a date! We knew we wanted to get it done this semester so we could get a momentum going among students as soon as possible. When checking with the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, we found out that they couldn't bring their big red tour bus to our campus if we choose April or May, so our Extreme E-team had the courage to bite the bullet decide we would move our event up to March 3! “Yes,” they all said, “we can do this, we can make this happen!”

We received more good news by our second meeting. Mike Raich from HCC, who is in charge of the budget, announced that the rest of the money needed to fund this event had just come through from two local sponsors: the Arrowhead University Consortium and the Applied Learning Institute. In addition to the local funding and the Coleman grant, each college will donate door prizes of sweatshirts, t-shirts, books and other items from their bookstores as well as provide transportation for students to get from the other four campuses to HCC on the day of the event.

It is now the week before the event and we are really working to get students to RSVP on the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour website. We will be providing food (hot dogs, cookies, chips and some veggies) so we hope to have an idea of how many will be attending by Friday. Sheena and Michael at the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour have made the marketing and event setup run very smoothly. Local newspapers are responding to press releases and they too seem excited to have this type of event come into town. Everyone has been so cooperative and enthusiastic about giving to make this event happen, and we are all looking forward to next Tuesday! 

The Campus Entrepreneurship Initiative in northeast Minnesota is supported through a partnership with the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund and the Northeast Higher Education District. All campus e-teams are led by Susan Martin, Campus Entrepreneurship Initiative Coordinator at the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund.

Tags:  Northeast Entrepreneur Fund 

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Susan Martin says...
Posted Monday, March 9, 2009
One Week before the event…(2-23-09)
I’ve come to realize that the whole world is way too busy! We are working on each campus of the Northeast Higher Education District to invite students to participate in the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET) coming up March 3rd. We have e-teams members who are hanging posters, talking directly to students and even going into some classrooms to make a special invite. The EET has a reservation system that is easy to use and all of us are trying to get people to sign up through that system so we have a good count as our special day approaches. EET also has a lot of nice marketing materials and a series of steps to go by that all of us are using to market the event.
At present there are 92 people signed up to attend – pretty far away from our goal to fill the auditorium of 280 and my guess to the Coleman foundation that we could affect the lives of some 600 students, instructors and community leaders. I think a lot of people will wait until the last minute to register and maybe some will just show up at the event. Everyone comments on the list of things they have to accomplish whenever they can not commit to attending this Extreme Entrepreneurship tour event. We will be providing hot dogs and cookies at lunchtime so we would like to get a good count to prepare for. I think once we have more students involved on our e-teams, they will have a better idea on how to truly connect with the traditional student – something tells me next time we will use text messaging in some way to promote the event!
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Susan Martin says...
Posted Monday, March 9, 2009

The Day before our Event – March 2nd, 2009
As the Campus Entrepreneurship Coordinator, I am spending the day on the phones. First contacting each e-team on our 5 campuses to see how many students they have registered and how many they can expect to attend tomorrow’s event – then, I am doing a lot of encouraging, trying to convince anyone I talk with at these campuses to make sure they attend the event and get out around the campus and help more students discover the opportunity of attending tomorrows huge E-ship building event. I’m also calling e-team members who have not registered to ask them to attend.
It’s important for me that a core team of leaders attend the day’s events so we can develop something similar to the EET on our own for next year. Our mission is also to identify local students that have the entrepreneur spirit so they can be our guest speakers next year. We have also invited 3 other community colleges in our region to bring students and attend the event – so far, two of those extra colleges are excited to have a handful of interested students and faculty that will be attending. There will be approximately 50 students coming from local high schools…
The dinner with the tour for e-team members was cancelled due to a big snow storm in New York that has delayed some of the member’s flights – thank goodness they were simply delayed and they expect to arrive later this evening…
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Susan Martin says...
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009
March 3rd, 2009 – the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour comes to Hibbing Minnesota to an event at Hibbing Community College for all students of the Northeast Higher Education District…

The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour(EET) members arrived at HCC by 6 am – to begin set up and make sure all the technology was set up right.(our event starts at 9:30) Michael Simmons and Arel Moodie were on stage testing the microphones when I got there…”Ok, I am excited for an inspiring event – are you guys ready to show these students why they should consider entrepreneurism?” Oh Yeah – these guys are ready to motivate a huge group of students willing to learn what it takes to own their own business. The set-up is going well- very professional in all ways. Two support staff came along, Dustin and Anna and they made sure that the speakers knew everything they could about the area and what was important to the event being a success.
By 9am our first students began to arrive from the other area community colleges and high schools – all of a sudden the registration table was packed- student filled out a very short form and got their packet for the day’s events. Everyone seemed to be anxiously waiting to be involved in learning more about being an entrepreneur. By the number of packets we were giving out and the registrations we were grabbing we knew we had at least 160 students waiting for the EET to start – the music starts and begins to build, the red Extreme Power Point and banners and table dressings point to our first speaker the and MC for the day, Arel Moodie – who is extremely good at helping an audience come alive by engaging them as he talks. It didn’t take him 5 minutes to engage this audience – which by the way, looked like a huge full house from the front of the room – with the ever popular, “You’re Awesome” high five to your neighbor on this side and that side! Michael cam on stage for the keynote once the group was ready for more – inspiring them to “do something toward their dream” everyday. Sharing the challenges of self-employment as well as the successes, the keynote blasted the group into the next phase of the 4 hour event. Open the EET workbook and let’s begin to write down our dreams and work towards making them happen. The lunch hour included an exercise in networking which helped many participants learn to approach the people around them and begin to keep track of this network – and learn more from the leaders. I was personally interviewed by at least 3 participants and I was helping serve the lunch!
On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best – I would have to rate this EET event a 5. At the very end, Arel asked the group, “Who, here – will do something positive today towards their goal of becoming an entrepreneur?” Then – he asked – “Ok, then – all of you who promise to make the changes you need to – to begin everyday to work towards your dream of becoming an entrepreneur – come on the stage, yes, that’s right – Right now – anyone here, who promises from this day forward to work towards this dream – come onto the stage…” AND THE STAGE FILLED UP, their wasn’t but maybe 6-7 people left sitting in the auditorium – everyone in the entire place filled the stage with high fives all around! That’s when the tears filled my eyes – that’s when I knew that the students, instructors and community leaders that took the time to attend our Extreme Entrepreneurship Event were touched – for the rest of their life, they now had tools to help them discover opportunities that didn’t exist when they arrived in the morning.
Our e-teams will begin working on follow up with students that attended, to involve them in the campus entrepreneurship initiative growing on each campus. Our list of student entrepreneurs for next years event has grown with students we met during the day. The EET also provides the registrations and evaluations of the event in a few weeks. I will post more as information continues to come in…

Some of the PR we got also included a local TV station – (more pictures and articles coming soon…)
The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour bus rolled up to campus Tuesday morning and let out a group of 20-somethings who know how to make a successful business and were willing to share their know-how.

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:
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Susan Martin says...
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Photos of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour(EET) can be found here;
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