Category Archives: Campus as Market

Venture Camp: Entrepreneurship Summer Series

The last session of the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s Summer Venture Camp is 1 August 2012.  Join us as we uncover the role that universities and colleges can play in helping you launch your career as an entrepreneur. What can we learn from Facebook, Google, Nike, and other campus based startups? What is available to everyone in the DC Metro (NoVa, MOCO, Baltimore etc)

Venture Camp: Entrepreneurship Summer Series – Eventbrite.

UMD Student Entrepreneur Mike & Cookies on Kickstarter #crowdfunding

Last year I was fortunate to meet and interview David Botwick-Ries, a University of MD student that launched a cookie business while on campus in College Park. David continues to grow his business, Mike and Cookies and has turned to Kickstarter to raise money for his firm. David is going to use the funds to buy a delivery truck to improve the operational efficiency of his firm. From Mike and Cookies Kickstarter update #3 page.

For us at Mike & Cookies, we want to be the cookie to remind the world to stop – slow down – and enjoy themselves. We want to be the cookie to enable the rediscovery of your childlike joy and the ability to share that amazing joy with others. We want to be the cookie to put a smile on your face, and more importantly, share that smile with everyone: friends, family, strangers alike.

We want to be the cookie to celebrate the everyday. And by this focus on today and only today, we see a world where people are filled with joy, love, compassion, and friendliness.

That is our mission. Join us.

Delivery Van for Mike & Cookies! by David Botwick-Ries — Kickstarter.

MSU Celebrates Student Entrepreneurship | Starkville Daily News

A few semesters ago, three students in my New Venture Creation class wanted to pursue the retail breathalyzer market. They chose to create a campus activity app instead. Today I learned from Steven Nalley at the Starkville Daily New that some Mississippi State students have pushed into the breathalyzer market and have done well with their idea (Night and Day Vending) on the business plan circuit.

Parker Stewart is a true competitor.

As CEO of Night and Day Vending, which distributes breathalyzer vending machines called IntoxBoxes, Stewart has entered several student entrepreneurship competitions in association with Mississippi State University. Jesus J. Valdez, a marketing research associate with MSU’s Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship, said Stewart not only placed first in the MSU Investing in Innovation’s Student Elevator Pitch Competition, but also third in the student division of the Mississippi Technology Alliance’s New Venture Challenge in Jackson.

Valdez said Stewart’s competitive spirit stretches across the business spectrum and beyond.

“Every competition (Stewart has) been in, he’s placed in, which speaks volumes,” Valdez said. “Last night, there was a competition in bowling with a lot of student entrepreneurs, and he came in second.”

via MSU celebrates success in student entrepreneurship | Starkville Daily News.

University Efforts Grow in Support of Student Entrepreneurship | Chronicle of Higher Education

I was fortunate to speak with Beckie Supiano of the Chronicle of Higher Education as she put together a piece on the efforts of various universities to support student entrepreneurs. From Supiano’s To Develop Student Entrepreneurs, Colleges Incubate Their Idea (sub required):

Beyond student demand for entrepreneurship training, worries about the weak job market are driving colleges’ response. Teaching students to start their own businesses is one way to give them a leg up after graduation. And some institutions see a responsibility to foster job creation more broadly, especially in their own backyards. To that end, they are increasingly offering majors and minors, incubators and accelerators, business-plan competitions and internships—anything from a single academic course or co-curricular program to an array of opportunities—for interested students.

Lots of great information and coverage of many incredible programs and student entrepreneurs. I am quoted and referenced near the end of the piece. Supiano writes,

“The campus is the new frontier for entrepreneurship,” says David J. Miller, director of entrepreneurship at George Mason University’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship. For his Ph.D., he is researching the conditions that allow college students to start successful firms. He is using the historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s theory of the American frontier.

Like the frontier, colleges provide assets, Mr. Miller says: space and human resources. They offer an unregulated atmosphere with no one person or entity fully in charge. And they are diverse places, both in the traditional sense and in that they bring together scholars from many disciplines.

Turner thought the frontier set the stage for America’s success as a nation. Now colleges are trying to make that kind of mark on entrepreneurship.

Biggest Innovation in Higher Education Since Elective: The Future of Badges

When Thomas Jefferson and colleagues introduced the elective system at the University of VA, they radically altered the future of higher education in the US and globally. Will badges do the same thing? The Chronicle of Higher Education has an excellent commentary by Kevin Carey on badges and a recent badge competition. Carey at the Chronicle, A Future Full of Badges:

Meanwhile, across the mountains, in Silicon Valley, the Mozilla Foundation was also thinking about the future. Mozilla, a nonprofit organization built around the ethos of the open Internet, created the popular Firefox Web browser, which anyone can download, free. Along with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla is sponsoring a competition for the development of digital “open badges.” The first winners were announced last month, and one of them was the UC-Davis sustainable-agriculture program.

What is a digital badge, exactly? The MacArthur foundation says it’s “a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest,” which calls to mind the colorful pieces of cloth that Girl Scouts sew onto their sashes. But that’s a simplification that borders on meaninglessness. The winning Davis entry describes something far more sophisticated and important.

Instead of being built around major requirements and grades in standard three-credit courses, the Davis badge system is based on the sustainable-agriculture program’s core competencies—”systems thinking,” for example. It is designed to organize evidence of both formal and informal learning, from within traditional higher education and without.

Say you’re an employer considering a job candidate. Under “systems thinking,” the applicant’s badge portfolio would include some of the UC-Davis courses he’s passed, along with grades. But it would also include evidence of the applicant’s specific skills, like “integrated pest management,” which he might have learned working on a farm. Other badges would describe workshops attended, awards won, and specific projects completed. Each badge would allow the employer to click through to more detailed levels of evidence and explanation—documents, assessment results, hyperlinks, video, and more.

The badge system, moreover, isn’t just a transcript, CV, and work portfolio rolled together into a cool digital package. It’s also a way to structure the process of education itself. Students will be able to customize learning goals within the larger curricular framework, integrate continuing peer and faculty feedback about their progress toward achieving those goals, and tailor the way badges and the metadata within them are displayed to the outside world. Students won’t just earn badges—they’ll build them, in an act of continuous learning. Continue reading

Student Startup Offers Quora Like Platform for Profs and Students | The Chronicle of Higher Education

Last week the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote about the boom in higher education startups. Today it profiled a few of them, including one created by Stanford MBA student Pooja Sankar. From Jeffrey R. Young in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Ms. Sankar, who is 31, was inspired to create the service based on her own experience as an undergraduate in India, where she studied at the highly selective Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur. She says she was a shy student, and one of only three women majoring in computer science, so she often found herself watching from the wings as more social students collaborated on homework assignments. She felt there had to be a way to recreate a study hall online, in a way that made it easy for shy students to ask questions anonymously.

After graduating, she got a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Maryland at College Park, and then worked as an engineer for Facebook and other companies for a few years. When she decided to head to Stanford to study business, she was sure she would not try to start a company of her own, since she found the prospect “too scary.” But a course on entrepreneurship made her realize that the path to a company was simply a series of “baby steps,” and that she wanted to bring her vision of a better “question-and-answer platform” to life.

She wrote the original version of Piazza herself, after teaching herself the programming language Ruby on Rails from a book. By the time she first sought investors, she already had hundreds of students using the service. She raised an initial round of $1.5-million last year from the venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital, and raised an additional $6-million from investors in November.

The story of Piazza highlights many of the reasons that I believe the campus is the frontier for entrepreneurship and that current disruptions in higher education create immense opportunities for entrepreneurs. The campus is and has always been a market and student entrepreneurs understand this better than most.

BTW, its interesting the note how Sankar distributes her platform, specifically avoiding university technology managers and going to individual faculty members. Her approach highlights the individual nature of entrepreneurial economy. Most universities view the world through an organization centric model and therefore miss many of the opportunities of the entrepreneurial economy.

I am currently writing a paper exploring the roots of the organization centric models employed by universities pursuing innovation and the limitations of that approach in the entrepreneurial economy. Contact me if you’d like to read a draft.

Piazzza founder Pooja Sankar. Image from the Chronicle of Higher Education

via Students Endlessly E-Mail Professors for Help. A New Service Hopes to Organize the Answers. – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Will iPad Revolutionize Textbooks? Infographic

Just received this infographic in an email. I’ll share it because there are some good numbers in there. Lets think broader than textbooks though. All kinds of learning. The iPad will likely play a role in the impending disruption of higher education and all kinds of opportunities will be create via the iPad for entrepreneurs in and around the campus. #hackedu #uncollege

 
Infographic:  Can Apple iPad and iBooks revolutionize the textbook industry?
Courtesy of: WorldWideLearn.com
INFOGRAPHIC: Can Apple revolutionize the textbook industry? | WorldWideLearn.

Visit to ASU Skysong | G3Box | AZ Pro DJs | Coolest College Start-Up

Last week while in Scottsdale I was fortunate to visit with 3 of the founders of G3Box, a start-up out of ASU converting shipping containers into mobile medical clinics. Clay, Gabby, and Billy (John) are dynamic young entrepreneurs looking to solve a specific global problem and their successes so far really highlight the culture of entrepreneurship being built at ASU. Details of their story and the ASU programs, curriculum and people involved in their development will be included as we release portions of my research over the next 3-6 months.

While visiting G3Box at ASU’s Skysong‘s Edson student accelerator I was introduced to Will Curran, founder of Arizona Pro DJs an incredibly successful entertainment service provider that he founded at ASU. Will also works out of Skysong and is building a high impact firm — in terms of revenues, customers, wages paid etc. Will’s story highlights the concept of the campus as market for experimenting with new ideas and iterations and as a launching pad to move beyond campus or to other campuses.

Both G3Box and AZ Pro DJs are in the running for America’s Coolest College Start-Up, sponsored by Inc Magazine. You can watch their videos and vote for them. You can also check out a bunch of other great student firms.

Vote for your favorite America’s Coolest College Start-Up | Inc.com.

A Boom Time for Education Start-Ups | Chronicle of Higher Education | #Edtech #hackedu

Nick DeSantis of the Chronicle of Higher Education writes about the incredible surge in investing in education technology start-ups. While people in the article claim ‘this time is different, I am not so sure. (I was at the University of Chicago when a bunch distinguished professors created UNext.com during the late 1990s — BIG BUST just like the startup I joined in 1999). From DeSantis:

Investments in education-technology companies nationwide tripled in the last decade, shooting up to $429-million in 2011 from $146-million in 2002, according to the Na­tional Venture Capital Association. The boom really took off in 2009, when venture capitalists pushed $150-million more into education-technology firms than they did in the previous year, even as the economy sank into recession.

“The investing community believes that the Internet is hitting edu­cation, that education is having its Internet moment,” said Jose Ferreira, founder of the interactive-learning company Knewton. Last year Mr. Ferreira’s company scored a $33-million investment of its own in one of the biggest deals of the year.

The scramble to make bets on a tech-infused college revolution has led to so many new companies that even Mr. Ferreira can’t keep track.

Udacity, Udemy, and University­Now all have plans to revolutionize online learning. There’s the Coursebook, a young online-learning start-up. And Coursekit, a nascent challenger to Blackboard in the market for learning-management software. And Courseload, the Indiana-based digital-textbook enterprise. And CourseRank, the class-sorting outfit acquired by the textbook vendor Chegg two years ago.

This isn’t the first ed-tech boom to crowd the market with companies whose names sound alike. A similar wave hit in the late 90s, during the larger dot-com frenzy. But today’s investors believe this round of growth is different. Michael Moe, co-founder of the investment-advisory firm GSV Asset Management, said the first ed-tech wave had been based mostly on euphoria that anything digital would work.

“There were just a bunch of things that were, candidly, thrown against the wall,” he said of the 90s start-ups. Some companies pitched ideas that had no sustainable business model. Others, Mr. Moe added, were years ahead of their time. (Courseload, the digital-textbook start-up revived in 2009, was born in 2000, but its leaders say tools weren’t available to support it until more recently.) When the dot-com bubble burst, investors fled the market.

The piece highlights that students are perfectly positioned to play a role in the revolution in higher education (campus as market). A number of students and recent grads I work with through Startup Mason on working in the higher education space:

Mr. Staton said his fellow entrepreneurs had also flocked to education because they know its chal­lenges better than any other industry.

“When you ask a 19-year-old what problem in the world they want to solve, it’s highly likely that the problems that they’re most familiar with are problems from their own education,” Mr. Staton said. By the time they graduate, he added, many of those students are “looking two opportunities in the face: a substandard job market, or creating their own company and trying to be Mark Zuckerberg.”

And entrepreneurs like to solve problems that they care about, Mr. Staton said: “There are a lot of people that are passionate about this, that know it, that want to do something about it.”

While the piece discusses the amazing activity that has occurred in recent years (startups and funding) it says little about value created for students, professors, and universities and nothing about the profitability of any of the firms that are mentioned. This is a clear sign of a bubble in education technology.

via A Boom Time for Education Start-Ups – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

TED Releases Educational Videos | Wired Campus | Disrupt Edu

TED is the latest to directly jump into the education market — offering something for those looking for online learning, open source edu, uncollege, hack edu, or any other angle on disrupting education. They are calling on top educators to step up and join in with a short lesson to share with the world. TED clearly has some understanding of what video learners want (its why I am videoing my research interviews and other events for remixing later into edu assets). From the Wired Campus column at the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The nonprofit group called TED, known for streaming 18-minute video lectures about big ideas, today opened a new YouTube channel designed for teachers and professors, with videos that are even shorter.The new channel, called TED-Ed, was announced a year ago, but its leaders are only now unveiling the project’s first videos. There are only 11 as of today, but the goal is to add new ones regularly. Within three months from now, a new video could appear each day, said Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, in a conference call with reporters late last week.To produce the new videos, the group is connecting content experts with professional animators to create highly illustrated productions. The average length of these videos is about five minutes, and Mr. Anderson said he envisions a teacher playing one in class at the start of a lesson “to ignite excitement” about the topic.

 

via TED, Known for Idea Talks, Releases Educational Videos – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.