Economists tell us that the primary role of entrepreneurs in the economy is to engage in a process they call “creative destruction.” Through their innovations, entrepreneurs help create new industries that transform or even replace old and declining industries.
Spurring entrepreneurship in Northern and Eastern Europe is as much a cultural battle as it is an economic one. I am spending the rest of this month traveling with a group of students throughout Eastern Europe. One of the lessons I hope they will learn is about the entrepreneurial transformation underway in countries formerly under the shadow, or more often complete domination, of the communistic USSR.
We are starting our visit in Finland, where we visited Aalto University’s amazing entrepreneurship program.
There has been a growing debate about business plan versus business model. The lines are being drawn. However, I would chime in to say that both sides of this debate are right, and both sides are wrong. To mix metaphors, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, even though that may be one ugly baby!
Entrepreneurs need to be ready to pitch any time, anywhere.
Jake Jorgovan, an alumnus from Belmont’s Entrepreneurship program, is always ready to give his pitch.
“At the most random situations, I will find myself giving a pitch,” says Jorgovan. “Out at drinks with friends, or just out socializing and suddenly I run into someone who is a contact directly in the space that I am working in. It can catch you off guard sometimes, but you should have your elevator pitch prepared and not be afraid to deliver it anytime of day.” Continue reading
Belmont students had another highly successful year at the International Collegiate DECA competition this year. Our 25 students were part of a competition that included almost 1,300 students from the US and Canada.
23 of the 25 students on the Belmont team made it to the finals this year in a variety of business related events. 10 of them made it to the national finals in two events.
Belmont students swept the top three awards for the Entrepreneurship Growing a Business event (business plan event for students who have started their businesses while still in school).
Ross Hill — First place
Tom Haarlander — Second place
Tim Weber — Third place
For the second year in a row Belmont students had eight of the top ten teams in the Entrepreneurial Challenge event (we had nine teams in this event).
Our teams took two of the top three awards:
Eric Guroff, Taylor Fish, and Blake Mankin — Second place
Ross Hill and Griffin Wendt — Third place
Top Ten Teams:
Jeremy Gold, Riley Bauer, Elizabeth Rhyne
Charles Williams, Max Magura, Cole Auville
Tim Weber, Jen Baiada, Maya Asked
Matt Madden, Hillary Unis
Amy Ashida, Kylie Davis, Lauren Gunther
Gabe Zurek, Levis Padrom, Jena Lavicka
The following students were Top Ten national finalists in their individual events:
Eric Guroff — Entrepreneurship Starting a Business (b-plan)
Hillary Unis — Entrepreneurship Starting a Business (b-plan)
Charles Williams — Corporate Finance
Maya Akser — Fashion Merchandising and Marketing
Lauren Gunther — Marketing Management
Kylie Davis — Retail Management
Max Magura — Sales Management Meeting
The following student was a national finalists:
Griffin Wendt — Marketing Management
One of the greatest joys of my job is advising and mentoring the student and alumni entrepreneurs who come out of our program at Belmont.
Students take full advantage of my office hours for mentoring. Some come in with the seed of an idea, while others are actively growing their ventures even before they graduate. Continue reading
Once again we hear from Washington the same solution they seem to have for any and every economic issue — more debt.
This time the problem that they debt solution is being applied to is small business exports. In a report just released by the Office of Advocacy of the SBA we are told that if only we could make more debt available to small businesses they would be able to export more products outside the US. The study says that smaller small businesses are in particular need for more governmental help with credit. Continue reading
The number one goal for new entrepreneurs is to grow their businesses to the point where they can finally get paid and begin to make a living from their new venture. Tyler Barstow and Belmont alumnus Matt Fiedler, co-founders of Vinyl Me, Please, are trying to adapt their business model to reach that important goal.
As my partners and I were pursuing an aggressive growth strategy in our business my late father frequently reminded me, “The leading cause of business failure is success!”
We also got similar warnings from our banker, who said he always worried the most about his clients who were growing the fastest. Continue reading