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Coleman Entrepreneurial College in Action

Posted By Mary Beth Kerly, Monday, February 3, 2014

How to Create Momentum

Momentum, defined by Merriam Webster, "is the strength or force that something has when it is moving.” So, obviously, the trick is, how do you get something moving in order to create the momentum in the first place?

Step One: Identify Stakeholders

When Hillsborough Community College first set out on our journey to re-examine our academic certificate in Entrepreneurship, we thought it would be wise to get input from folks in our business community. A simple "LinkedIn” search yielded some great results! Who would have thought that a keyword search of "Tampa” "Entrepreneur” would give us so many people to contact! We sent emails, scheduled lunch meetings, and asked everyone we met who they felt would be interested in the development of the program in entrepreneurship. We knew, that to create momentum, both in the college and in the community, we had to find people who had a passion for our mission and ENGAGE them.

Step Two: Do your Research

It’s a bit easier to gain momentum if there is research to get an understanding of what is needed and to "prove” that your idea has merit. At our college, numbers talk and students count in the decision making process. Knowing this, we conducted a survey to all of our students asking pointed questions about entrepreneurship. This data helped us get the attention of our administration, fellow faculty, and was very helpful when we talked with local government officials!

Step Three: Image is EVERYTHING!

So we had the community involved, we had the administration and faculty involved, now the trick was to get students involved, and more importantly, interested! So, we put together a series of events involving our community partners. We had speakers visit the campus to talk about various topics, planned and executed a day long Symposium for Veterans, and had "Shark Tank” types of events. Just because we had these wonderful events didn’t mean that students would actually come. We know that students today only will go to an event if they get, a) food, and b) credit! So, we did both. Some faculty assigned the speaker events as part of the class, others as extra credit, and the Student-led Business Leadership Club sponsored food. And it worked. We filled our 150-seat auditorium. Having that many students in one place on a FRIDAY at 10:00 a.m. got the attention of other faculty as well as our administration. It was also great for our community partners—they saw interested students and then wanted to do even more for us.

Heavens know that success breeds success. We tried to set ourselves up by involving the community, doing our research and creating an image of interest. Today, our events are drawing close to 200 students, and we have community members contacting US for meetings! Now that’s momentum!

Beth relocated to Tampa, Florida from Wilmington, Delaware in 1999 after receiving her undergraduate degree in Marketing and her Masters Degree in Business Administration from Goldey-Beacom College. Her professional experience includes serving as a Marketing Coordinator for Delmarva Power and Light Company, Special Programs Manager for a start up telephone company called "Conectiv Communications" and the Public Relations Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware.  After moving to Florida, she began work as a part-time instructor and International Education Marketing Specialist for Hillsborough Community College.  In 2005, she was asked to serve the 16 county region (Southwest Florida) as Special Assistant to Governor Jeb Bush.  After leaving the Governor’s office in 2007 she began consulting for small to medium businesses and non-profits in the areas of organizational behavior and marketing.  In the Fall of 2008, Beth began teaching full-time at Hillsborough Community College in the Business Administration Department.  

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Andy Gold says...
Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014
This was a really informative and helpful post. I love the 3-step process. Great stuff!
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