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!
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
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
It is not unusual for older faculty to get a little cynical. I have heard many faculty grumble about how hard it is to motivate today’s students. While I agree with them that it is hard, and have grumbled about this my self a time or two, I have learned that it is quite possible to motivate millennials.
I tried a little experiment a couple of years ago with my grading that has had remarkable results and has helped me better understand what drives this generation.
During start-up, entrepreneurs are desperate to make a sale. Revenues are needed to generate cash flow and affirm that the new company’s business model actually meets a need in the market.
Entrepreneurs will take just about any customer willing to do business with their new company, including those who really don’t fit with their business model. After all, a sale is a sale, and cash is cash! Continue reading
It began as unlikely partnership in the fall of 2010. Jonathan was a sophomore Entrepreneurship major at Belmont University. James was a senior Marketing major at Lipscomb University. Both students were members of the tennis teams of the two arch rival universities, which at that time were still in the same conference.
But, Jonathan and James shared a common idea to start an online grocery store for college students. The idea was to provide college students a convenient and affordable alternative to on-campus convenience stores. They would sell snacks directly to college students and also to their parents bundled up in care packages.
Jonathan and James also have one other thing in common – they are brothers. Continue reading
When advising people about what they need to do as they get ready to launch a business, there are two distinct approaches recommended by experts.
The first, which has been the traditional approach, tells aspiring entrepreneurs that writing a business plan is the first critical step.
In business schools the business plan was the core of our entrepreneurship curriculum for decades. Writing a business plan that’s thickness is measured in inches is still a rite of passage in many top entrepreneurship programs.
However, there is a growing chorus of experts questioning why business plans get so much attention. After all, most entrepreneurs will tell you that once the business gets going it can quickly look fundamentally different than described in their original business plan.