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Entrepreneurial Workshop Draws Creative Crowd
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 24, 2015, 10:47 PM   

The topic is timely as some worry that the age of entrepreneurialism is fading.  Leigh Buchanan writes in Inc. "American Entrepreneurship Is Actually Vanishing. Here's Why" that the rate of startup creation has been decreasing for years.  While a number of factors may account for the decline, Robert Litan, an economist at Brookings Institution notes that, “The broader problem may be that U.S. population growth is shrinking. That alone explains part of the decline of the startup rate.”

Workshop participants learned the 4 C's of entrepreneurship and how they can be used in the classroom to help students develop valuable workplace skills.  They also learned the common obstacles that stand in the way of enterprise and how others have overcome them and the "3 P’s of Entrepreneurship," namely, Pain Point: when you see a problem you or other people are having and think you can solve it; Pivot: compensating or changing to meet the markets demands or needs for your product; and, Passion: the connection/curiosity or story that drives you to succeed.

Teachers completed a Frayer model graphic organizer on "What is an Entrepreneur?"  Five teams were formed for a challenge to create, repurpose or innovate a new product that will make the job of educator easier and more efficient.

Additionally, participants had the opportunity to meet local experts who have been instrumental in the development and fostering of an entrepreneurial mindset in the community.  Bob Lokken, CEO and founder of White Cloud Analytics who was inducted into the Idaho Technology Hall of Fame in 2012 for his pioneering work in analytics and advancement of innovation in Idaho, shared, “Most of my learning comes from failure”.

NWPE member Michelle Harmon reported on the workshop on the Idaho State Journalism Association’s blog, Workshop challenges teachers to instill entrepreneurial spirit:

kali kurdy jim coughlinA two-day professional development workshop June 18 – 19 on how to teach students to think like entrepreneurs was hosted by Boise State University’s Venture College and designed byTeachIdaho retired educators Kali Kurdy and Jim Coughlin.  
Sponsored by other organizations, such as Northwest Professional Educators, the workshop’s featured speakers included area entrepreneurs and Venture College students and administrators.
The teacher audience heard stories from young and old alike, from owners of established businesses like White Cloud Analytics and the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage to start-ups launched by BSU students, such as Whitney Hansen Financial Coaching and VividRoots.
Teachers tapped into entrepreneurial insights, learned to pitch a business plan, and presented product ventures to make-believe investors, a panel of judges from BSU and local government: Rep. (D) Cherie Buckner-Webb; Venture College graduate, Whitney Hansen; and two Venture administrators, Assistant  Director Marilyn Bickle and Associate Director Ed Zimmer.
Although the final product designs and pitches from participating teachers — the Mindset Indicator, Rosie the Lanyard Alarm, VividRoutes backpacks, Whiteboard Desktops, and Scented Oils that keep students in classes motivated up to nine hours — may never arrive on retail shelves, there’s a big chance they may appear for free in Idaho classrooms near you.

Then again, perhaps the innovative workshop participants could make some cash on the Teachers Pay Teachers website, the world’s first and largest open marketplace for educators to buy, sell, and share their original resources.

The Inc. article notes that there are reasons for hope.  Dane Stangler, Kauffman Foundation’s vice president of research and policy, says he expects to see a “huge rebound” as the economy improves. He views young people as “founders-in-waiting rather than as missing in action.” “I’m pinning a lot of hope on the Millennials,” he says. “Ten years from now, we’ll have more people in their 30s than ever before in history. I would expect that to bode well for business formation.”

Our thanks to Kali Kurdy, Jim Couglin, TeachIdaho, and BSU Venture College for their work fostering teachers who can educate and inspire the entrepreneurs of the future!  Yes, indeed, there are reasons for hope!

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