PhD Update: Entrepreneurship, Students, and Universities

I am in the final month of my dissertation at George Mason University. This blog grew out of my early research, as did the twitter handle Campus_Entre. I’ve learned a great deal and am happy with the database of high growth student entrepreneurs, their firms, and schools, as well as the case study of the University of Chicago. cover_frontier_quote

I also developed basic campus ‘pathways’ based on themes that emerged from the qualitative and quantitative data collected.

The question of whether the campus offers frontier attributes (liberty, diversity, and assets) is the center of this research. This portion of the paper uses the ideas of Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis.

Moreover, if the campus does in fact offer frontier attributes and supports ‘frontier outcomes (new norms, innovative products, new organizations, and socio-economic change), how can we replicate these attributes in other organizations, institutions and sectors?

Sparkseed Social Innovation Fund for Students Wins Financial Times Award

Just received the great news from our friends over at Sparkseed. They have won the Financial Times Best Social Investment strategy award against some pretty big hitters (McDonalds, The Gap, Microsoft). Sparkseed founder Mike Del Ponte explains, “Students have the creativity, passion, and drive to address issues like climate change, poverty, and global health through novel ventures. But they often lack the means to turn outside -the-box thinking into ideas that yield social dividends. Arming this untapped brain trust with the right resources will have untold benefits for society.”

Congrats to Mike and all of the social innovator and student entrepreneurs working with Sparkseed and to all who participated in the Financial Times – Just Means Social Innovation Awards.

Entrepreneurship and Failure | 50 Brilliant Failures

Found this great list of 50 successful people who failed before they became great.

Really an interesting list and a good reminder for all entrepreneurs and those learning about entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship and failure come together. Thanks to Newmark’s Door for the find.

A couple from the list:

Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.

Harlan David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

Remember, failures happen throughout the entrepreneurial process and the greats learn from them and then work through them. Good luck.

7 Profs You Will Find in College!

As I prepare to teach at GMU’s School of Management this fall, I wonder how my students will view me.

From (h/t Newmark’sDoor) — The 7 Professors You’ll Have in College. A snippet about the “Went to Woodstock” type:

You’ll know it’s him when you walk into class and say “Good morning, Professor Richmond,” and he shoots back, “Call me Larry.” When discussing pop culture he begins every sentence with “If Hendrix were alive,” and he swears he won’t state his political opinions, but he will say that he was disappointed when you merely voted for Barack Obama and didn’t set your parents’ house on fire as a tribute. He pronounces “Darfur” with an “African” accent and is repulsed by the current lack of student activism. You’re repulsed by the fact that he is bald on top, but still insists on harnessing his last few strands of hair into a ponytail. As far as he is concerned, there is no such thing as an arrow or a gun or a cylinder, they are all penises, and the Grand Canyon is just a massive vagina. Whether or not this symbolism was the author’s original intent is irrelevent; Larry won’t let the opressive views of “fact” take his class captive. If Hendrix were alive, he probably wouldn’t like Larry.