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Patrick Henry Community College's Effectual Journey

Posted By Kimberly Buck, Friday, January 30, 2015

Kimberly Buck
Community Development Coordinator
Patrick Henry Community College 


Our small city in southern Virginia was built on entrepreneurship – and we believe it’s the key to revitalizing our area. Together with NACCE, a grant from the Coleman Foundation, and our crazy quilt, Patrick Henry Community College is introducing effectual thinking to our students, staff, and the public.

Once upon a time, at the turn of the previous century, a group of enterprising young businessmen turned a small tobacco town into a hub of furniture and textile production. Martinsville was the Sweatshirt Capital of the World for some time, and it all began with a handful of entrepreneurs starting small businesses that turned into international corporations. Now that much of our former industry has moved overseas, our economy is shifting and making a comeback. Our focus with our Coleman grant is on training people to be their own bosses, to start businesses that can’t be outsourced, to add to our local quality of life and employ our neighbors. We also want to show our stakeholders how effectual thinking can be applied to solve problems and come up with innovative solutions.

PHCC has a great entrepreneurship and small business management program on the credit side of the house that is taught by a successful local businessman. We have worked with NACCE for more than a year to introduce effectual principles to our faculty, staff, and local business leaders. However, we needed to take our efforts to the next level and bring these valuable lessons campus and community-wide.

Last spring, we piloted two entrepreneurial programs, hosting the area’s first Martinsville Mini Maker Faire and a Jump Start! Student Entrepreneurship weekend. Though we had a very short turnaround time to market these events and drum up registrations, there was a great response from the community. The Mini Maker Faire, a free and family-friendly festival of innovation, drew more than 200 members of the public. The Jump Start weekend was marketed to local high school and college students and offered a “crash course” on effectuation and the nuts and bolts of starting a business. More than 20 students signed up and spent their Friday evening and all day Saturday in the workshops, and two new businesses resulted from our program. This showed us that there is a need and a hunger for entrepreneurial education in our community.

We applied to the Coleman Foundation to continue and expand these efforts to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as providing professional development to our staff. After learning from the NACCE conference how other community colleges are implementing effectuation, we’ve made some strategic pivots and revised our plan. We’ve had to make lemonade when our original plan of a campus-wide rollout in January was not possible, and when a planned speaker proved too expensive for our budget.

First, we decided to take it a bit slower for deeper implementation. We plan to bring a speaker here to “train the trainers” on our campus this semester and then roll out the campus-wide initiative at the beginning of the fall semester. One of our Birds in Hand is the campus SCALE team, which stands for the Southern Center for Active Learning Excellence. The team is comprised of six certified instructors on the PHCC faculty from a variety of disciplines who have successfully delivered trainings to more than 120 other colleges. They will be empowered this spring to disseminate the effectuation message well beyond the end of the grant period.

Also, our Jump Start weekend has changed form. We’re working with members of our Crazy Quilt to bring the Extreme Entrepreneurship tour to Martinsville. (If you were fortunate enough to meet Sheena Lindahl at the NACCE conference, this is her company.) Students who participate in our entrepreneurship event will be eligible to compete in a pitch competition for prizes to get their business idea off the ground.

Partnership gives us a chance to combine our financial and human resources with another workforce organization and the local high schools to make this exciting tour happen. That doesn’t mean this is an easy process – the more partners in our quilt, the longer it takes to make decisions and schedule events. But, together, we will touch a larger audience and will be able to make something happen that formerly was out of reach.

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  economic development  effectuation  innovation  NACCE  Patrick Henry Community College 

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Inside the Entrepreneurial Method by Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, January 5, 2015

Ask Yourself- Can I Use Effectuation Now? 

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited

This is part 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 integrating the entrepreneurial method in your department, your college, and your community.

The professional problem solving toolkit, relies on a strong causal skill set.  Strategy, budgeting, forecasting, and staffing processes are largely influenced by prediction and planning. 

Where does effectuation fit in?  It’s a complementary logic of non-predictive control.

When is it best applied?  Effectuation is best applied for innovation.  When approaching a new opportunity or problem to solve, as yourself the following questions:

1.     Is your goal uncertain or open-ended?

2.     Is there a lack of historical data available to you?

3.     Are you doing something you’ve never done before?

If your answer to at least two of these is “yes”, then this is a good opportunity to apply effectuation.

How can effectuation be assimilated into a causal environment? 

    1. Fully applied to new processes. 
    2. Integrated within existing causal processes. 

Both of these methods work, and will depend on the specific situation.   

Questions to consider when integrating the effectual mindset into existing processes

1.     What elements of effectuation “fit” best with your existing culture?  Consider incorporating these into existing formats. 

      • If you’re lacking strong planning processes, ask yourself if there are ways that you can apply these heuristics to give shape to processes (or lack thereof)?
      • If you have strong planning processes, can you use these as part of your means? 

2.     Are there opportunities to run effectuation in parallel with planning processes? 

      • Market research, budgeting, and partner engagement are common areas of opportunity

3.     What areas do you have control over in which you can experiment (relative to your affordable loss)?

4.     How can you use storytelling to drive comfort and familiarity with the effectual principles? 

5.     How can you engage stakeholders throughout your college to have them consider possible integration opportunities?  

Effectuation can be applied effectively in a causal environment. 

Integrate it?  Assimilate it?  Share it?  There are many different approaches. 

The best methods for your college are up to you, as the “institutional entrepreneur”, to decide.  

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  NACCE 

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Effectuation Ramp up at Ivy Tech Community College - Indiana

Posted By Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington _, Thursday, December 18, 2014

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! 

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  NACCE 

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Let's Talk Effectuation with Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, December 15, 2014

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?”

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  economic development  effectuation  entrepreneurship  NACCE 

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Inside the Entrepreneurial Method by Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, December 8, 2014

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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? 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.   


Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  innovation  NACCE  strategic planning 

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The Beginning of Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines at Middlesex Community College

Posted By Luciano Sappia, Sunday, November 30, 2014

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:

  1. Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship
  2.  Increase Entrepreneurs’ Engagement in Community Colleges
  3.  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.

Lessons learned:

  • 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.

Key takeaways:

  • 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”.

Tags:  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  innovation  Middlesex Community College  NACCE 

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Northeast State November Blog

Posted By Lynn Anderson, Friday, November 28, 2014

R. Lynn Anderson, CPA

Associate Professor, Business Technologies - Accounting

Northeast State Community College



Center for Entrepreneurship


The proposal presented by Northeast State Community College at the NACCE 2014 Conference focused on the development of a Center for Entrepreneurship.  The Center will function as a highly interactive, collaborative learning center for customized entrepreneurial and leadership training.  Faculty, staff, local entrepreneurs and students will participate in the training.   The ECIA grant and assistance from the Coleman Foundation and NACCE encouraged us to expand our vision for the Center.  Future plans for the Center include making the Center mobile.


The Center will house:


·         a 3-D printer and associated software to enable inventors/innovators to produce prototypes of products.


·         top of the line tablets/laptops loaded with QuickBooks, business planning and Microsoft Office software


·         facilities for training, workshops and interaction.


The committee designated to develop the Center and outline its initial activities has undertaken the following tasks, using the "Bird in Hand":


·         Determine an appropriate, temporary location for the Center.  This location will be the Center's "home" until the permanent facilities are completed in the Advanced Technologies building, (occupancy expected in 2017)


·         Identify potential sources of additional funding


·         Identify potential contributors/workshop leaders


·         Identify campus resources - staff, contacts, expertise


·         Identify Center resource requirements in terms of staffing, supplemental equipment


·         Identify ways to market the Center


The formation of an Entrepreneur Club and holding informal "coffee clubs" in addition to the structured training and workshops will engage students in the development, staffing and utilization of the Center.


We are developing a contact list which includes local Chambers of Commerce, ACCELNow, Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), Kingsport Office of Small Business Development Subcommittee (KOSBE) and other local groups and individuals.  We will also involve the Advisory Committees, the Northeast State Foundation, local entrepreneurs, faculty, staff and students who are potential contributors or users of  the Center.


Lessons Learned:


·         The formation of a Steering Committee which would include members from outside the immediate "campus community" will create buy-in from the region.


·         The resources available can extend well beyond those we first consider.  We need to keep building our "crazy quilt".


Key Takeaways:


·         Find creative ways to get others engaged and involved.  Entrepreneurship is not limited to the business community.

·         The Northeast State community has many talented individuals in various disciplines who have much to contribute.  We need to hone our "ask" to get them committed to the Center.





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Practice The "Ask" (For Involvement)

Posted By Kaskaskia College _, Monday, November 17, 2014

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.


Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  Kaskaskia College  NACCE 

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NACCE2014 Conference Blogging - Chancellor Lambert on Salt and Education

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Initial Notes from Dr. Lee Lambert's Opening Welcome on Monday morning. Love to diver deeper into this wake up call for higher ed.  


Salt and education 

Credibility gap

Three insights from salt and it's connection to Salt

1.  Importance drives need

The increase importance of salt drove new discoveries for access to it.  Same is true for education. It's growing importance has led to new ways to provide greater access to it. Waterways vs. information superhighway.


2.  If your service or product can be reduced to a lowest common denominator consistent with its importance then the more vulnerable you are to disruption. 

Salt available on every table. Education can be reduced to a common set of courses that everyone needs. The more I can increase my sale and spread the cost across the volume.


3. A place exist for service providers who can distinguish themselves and add value that is distinct whether or real or perceived as way to support higher cost.


Barriers to Change: Innovations in Higher Education 

From a Recent Chronicle article by Ann Kirschner, Dean of CUNY, honors college


How many academics does it take to change a light bulb?

Change? Change? Who said anything about Change?


She cites to the work of Mark Taylor, a philosopher of religion at Columbia University, in which he argues, "until colleges accept the need to change, they have little incentive to overcome their natural inclination to stay the same. "


The NY times recently reported that between 1998 to 2008' enrollments in public and private universities went up less than 25 percent. Enrollment in for profit colleges went up 236 percent.


Technology is redefining the play field. She argues that what is needed ia a broad minded strategy that embraces technology and learning at all levels. She goes on to write, no discussion of change should omit international study as a key component...we need to connect more students to a meaningful global experience. Only 14 percent of students study abroad.


Close with President Obama, " So let me put colleges and universities on notice, if you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down."



Tags:  12th conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Launching All Future Entrepreneurs

Morning Panel

Panelists: Jason Jannati | Sheena Lindahl | Chris Allen | Thom Ruhe

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

This discussion revolves around the entrepreneurship mindset and how to bring it to every student on campus.

What type of students have you seen on the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour?

Sheena: We’ve seen all types of students.  Our primary goal is the spread entrepreneurship to every student across campus and help them realize they can be their own type of entrepreneur.  We want to help students find the great resources already in their community and begin to self-identify their own entrepreneurial type.  Sometimes it’s hard for studnets to realize their potential.

Who do you see as the non-traditional business owner you’re trying to teach?

Thom: Everybody has the potential to be an entrepreneur.  We used to have these philosophical discussions of whether entrepreneurs are born or made.  But now the whole discussion is about the entrepreneurial mindset and the fact anyone can think entrepreneurially.  We can help empower these students by giving them the mindset; whether they’re and employee or a business owner, they need this mindset.  With some data we hope to prove once and for all how necessary the entrepreneurial mindset is and how we must all embrace it.

As a former student, how do you reach all students, not just business students?

Jason: You could have hit me in the head with an entrepreneurial stamp and I wouldn’t know what it meant.  I never considered myself an entrepreneur, I was just somebody who wanted to control his time and his future.  Some community colleges have done a really good job at turning themselves into magnets for mentors.  These colleges’ uses these mentors as a value add and they’re seeing students are naturally drawn to these programs.  Mentors are critical at helping students demystify the allure of entrepreneurship and the risk inherent in the process.  It also helps humanize this very large and broad process of starting a business.

What do you think about incorporating industry into the entrepreneurial process?

Thom: Most community colleges work very closely with the large corporations in their community.  The deficit we’re seeing though is the soft skills—team orientation, critical thinking, communications, etc.  What if someone took initiative in the corporate structure like Jason did—taking control of his income and time, we’d promote them all day long.  We need to get entrepreneurship education in the same context as reading or mathematics.  The problem with current curriculum is that it relies on self-selection, what about the people who don’t yet realize they need to be entrepreneurial.

Sheena: while working on my company, we came up with this idea of the ice berg.  The top part being material success, but most people don’t realize how important the things below the water are to success—personal brand, networks, etc.  Even if the business fails, because of the mass of assets below the water you will always have an opportunity afterwards.

How do you reach students across campus, what types of messages do you give and how do you do it?

Chris: it’s a huge challenge, probably the biggest challenge.  With such a wide and varied population there can’t be one answer or one strategy.  One thing which doesn’t seem like a benefit but is, is that our area has been blessed with poverty.  Poverty has forced us to tap into family, community, and natural resource assets.  It’s made us a stronger community and forced us to cocreate the ecosystem and businesses.

Jason: Around the fire last night we got talking about innovation and how critical the ability to think outside of the box is.  Break your students into two teams and make them go earn the most money in a single day.  That will get them so uncomfortable the can do nothing but grow.

Chris: A versatile program is important.  We’re not all the same and some programs will work better for other students than others.

We are in a new world of work…

Thom: We’ve used terms like ecosystem and networking, but really it’s community.  Community is the new form of currency.  The smart and successful entrepreneurs realize how to leverage their community greater than any amount of investment money.  We have to be intentional about building these supportive communities.

Chris: I wouldn’t be here if it was for community.  The mentorship and the support there is zero chance we’d be here.

Sheena: It’s important to remember some of the best businesses are the sexy businesses.  Too many times we’re focused on the high-growth or the raise of investment money.  Too many entrepreneurs will focus too much on raising money when in reality they don’t need it.  Raising money can actually hurt your company because it takes you away from the most important tasks in building a great businesses.  Communities need to recognize and glorify even the unsexy companies.

Chris: sometimes the less glamorous the better.  I love hearing how many more young farmers there are in my area—it’s not sexy but there isn’t anything more important than food.

How do we get across the industry gap?

Jason: There are some conceptual and tactical truths.  The conceptual truths can be great at getting the light bulb to go off in students.  I love the quote, “The want is more important than the how.”  I also love, “it takes pressure to create diamonds.”  Entrepreneurship isn’t supposed to be a fluffy ride, it’s going to be hard and people should recognize that taking hits means you’re doing things the right way.  Tactically a residual sales model is so much better than a transactional model.  A sales force gets burnt out if you only ever focus on transactional sales, entrepreneurs need to leverage all of their resources.

Thom: I love talking about the importance of the entrepreneurial mindset.  When the Vatican thinks entrepreneurial thinking should be a basic human right, we’re in for some great things.  Entrepreneurship and IceHouse is growing faster off our shores than on our shores.  My ask is don’t let this year’s NACCE be the year where you get inspired but let the machine beat you down when you get home.  You cannot let yourselves get beaten down, there’s too much at stake for each of us and our country.  The French may have given us the word, but we’ve given it meaning.

What are some tactical suggestions for the folks in the crowd?

Jason: As an entrepreneur you can have a great plan in place, but you need to be able to adapt.  Be able to supplement your core skills with the business management skills.  The question should be what can I do to turn my program into a magnet for high potential entrepreneurs.  As people are attracted to your program you’ll build momentum and you’ll see so many great changes.

What is your recommendation for how to create your ask?

Thom: From experience, the message behind an ask and what it means for the community is a very attractive product or package for philanthropists to fund.  Find the people who don’t want their names on a building or don’t need a brick and mortar type of give.  Investment in education programming is a lifetime of giving, it will change entire generations.

Sheena: Finding the common ground and how your solutions fit into a very large problem is crucial.  You have to work with what you’re starting with, realizing you’ll need to translate from one cluster to another.  Networking is about bridging the clusters.

Chris: It’ll all come down to accessibility.  Students need to realize the programs are there for everyone, not just the people who self-select into entrepreneurship.  Make sure people realize the programs and resources are open to everyone.  You can’t sell this entrepreneur thing as easy.  Be very honest with it or you won’t end up with the type of entrepreneurs you want.

Jason: Put your marketing hats on.  Market it as we’re going to teach you how to secure your own financial future.

Our Second panel…

Mike Hennessy | Sara Whiffen | Angeline Godwin

We need some direction on the entrepreneurial mindset and an accumulation of small actions.  Instead of talking about method, we put it into action.  NACCE wants the stories, it doesn’t just want the words, and it wants to see the assets and inventories of community college ecosystems.

What is your reaction on how you might fund the entrepreneurial method?

Mike: We have a very traditional approach to funding.  As time has gone on, we’ve tried to become more and more targeted on identifying results.  It’s necessary to find ways to bulletproof the grants and the outcomes.  If someone leaves too many times the programs die because that evangelist is no longer there.  I believe we need to fight for a focus on what we’re talking about and what is expected out of incorporating entrepreneurship on campus.  One of my big fears is that we only focus on supporting the next big ideas.  The Effectuation framework and the NACCE process helps people find that target.  Too many times we’re focused on the end game not the first step.

What value did you see in the community assessment and entrepreneurial method?

Angeline: it resonated with me because it just seemed to make sense.  Effectuation gave a clear framework to wrestle with the problems we all face.  Having started and run my own businesses, it made real sense.  I felt this overwhelming sense of urgency to cocreate our future.  I saw effectuation as a path forward not a path out.  I first did an effectuation of myself, to thy own self be true.  We all have 24 hours and we choose what to do with that time.  Taking this framework to start the conversation was great.  It’s not academic and it spoke to everyone regardless of whether you’re a student, a faculty, or an entrepreneur.

Can you talk about poverty as an asset…

Angeline: We’ve always talked about how to overcome the intense poverty, we have the highest poverty level in Virginia.  However, what we realized is to embrace our poverty, we have those students and community members with the survival mentality. Our community uses entrepreneurial principles to survive every day.  Now we can use that to our advantage.

There’s interest from corporations in the Effectuation model, could you share a little?

Sara: I came from a corporate background and couldn’t wait to finally do my own startup thing.  However, I quickly realized when you’re calling with your own name and not the reputation of a huge corporation people don’t throw money at you.  I had the opportunity to participate in an Effectuation accelerator with Saras which really helped place everything into context.  Through that accelerator I was able to build a relationship and partnership with Saras, and it’s grown from there.

The more someone asks the more confident they are to ask.  It’s this feedback cycle.  A self-fulfilling prophecy which helps move an entrepreneur up the ladder.  When coaching the community college crowd, I always get this one questions, “I’m drowning in opportunity, but how do I know where to go?”

There are certain concepts people don’t understand, could you speak to your work with companies and what are some challenges as they go through this process?

Sara: Affordable loss is probably the number one issue we see people grappling with.  Just because something sounds easy doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement.  When they get to roadblocks, people will start to blame the process.  However, stumbling and being challenged is part of the process.  It’s a marathon not a sprint.  Starting with the bird in the hand and setting affordable loss will keep you going.

Mike: In higher education there aren’t too many reasons to ask.  Getting out of your comfort zone and especially your experiential zone is critical.  Take advantage of the ask to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things.

You can’t just wholesale and make all of these changes.  It takes time and it’ll get muddy, but from there great things will emerge.  Emphasis needs to be placed on the action. 

What are some things you hope to accomplish with this year’s college pitch winners?

Mike: we’ve been doing pitch contests for a long time, never really having put formality or structure around them.  Now we’ve taken a little more intention to observing these winners as using effectuation.  We’d like to see some more train the trainer opportunities to colleges can learn from each other.  We also want to see what the colleges have done that they never did before, what’s the impact?  We have a great opportunity to help push beyond falling back into our typical routines.

Angeline: we’ve learned so much from each other, we’re grappling with so many of the same problems.  Between this year and next year I’d like to see this implosion of action.  I’m sick of hearing the flavor of the day and chasing some random pot of money.  I would love to see entrepreneurship on campuses move beyond conversation and into action.  We are in control of everything, we don’t have to be emotionally or financially fragile.

Sara: I’d like to see that shift in attitudes and actions.  Community colleges need to realize how many great resources they have and which can be utilized.  A college’s students are so valuable and are so eager to help build the future with the college.  I’d like colleges to combine forces with their students.  Hearing success and failures would be great—if you’re not failing, you’re not pushing hard enough.  Apply effectual thinking not causal thinking.

Failed entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs are the same person.  Every successful entrepreneur has many failures.  Failure and success isn’t something that has to define the person, it’s only a single part of the whole.

Angeline: we’re adding failed entrepreneurs to our crazy quilt.  They’ve never been at the table but we’re going to go back and ask them to join us.  We can learn so much from their stories and their failures.

Maybe failed entrepreneurs only failed because they stopped.  Perhaps we can help them take that label off and reengage with their communities.

NACCE: we want the stories, not at the end of the quarter, we want stories in real time.  We want to see what your asks were and we want to now the results.  Show us the dots and how you put the quilt together.

Coleman Grant Winners!

From The Coleman Foundation: Mike Hennessy | Clark McCain

This year’s competition called for proposals from colleges focused on how their college would implement 5 action steps to the 5 President’s Pledge principles.  There were 10 finalists:

  1. Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College

  2. Fox Valley Technical College

  3. Indian River State College

  4. Ivy Technology Community College of Indiana

  5. Kaskaskia College

  6. Maricopa Corporate College

  7. Middlesex Community College

  8. Northeast State Community College

  9. Patrick Henry Community College

  10. South Mountain Community College

Each of these finalists are the winners of this competition.  They are the co-creators of the future of community college entrepreneurship. 

A huge congratulations to them all!

Tags:  12th conference  conference 

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