As we recruit our 7th cohort of international entrepreneurs, I was reflecting on the changes, accomplishments, and challenges of our innovative MBA program at Colorado State University. And don’t worry – if you aren’t a prospective, current, or past student, this post will hopefully still be of interest to you. I wanted to communicate some insights into educating entrepreneurs, incubating ventures, and scaling up.
- You can teach business skills such as accounting and finance, but you can’t teach passion, experience, or failure.
- Team work is hard, multi-cultural team work solving problems at the Base of the Pyramid is harder, but going at it alone is the hardest of all.
- There is no right or wrong way to start a business, and there is no right or wrong type of business. More importantly, there are outcomes, impacts, and stakeholders.
- While mentorship and business planning are crucial, early stage entrepreneurs also need time to test business models, and that means finding funding to support them to work on their ventures full-time, before their ventures are investment-ready.
- The allure of hockey-stick growth patterns is strong, and assumptions are easy to make, which quickly leads to an infeasible business model.
And so as we start 2013, it is not just a fresh beginning, but also an accumulation of learning brought to us by our fabulous students, ventures, partners, faculty, and staff.