The 2015 Coleman Fellows Summit wrapped up Saturday in Chicagoland. This was my third summit, after first attending as a newbie fellow and a year later as the UNCG assistant director. Like last year, Professor Dianne Welsh and I presented on business models, feasibility analysis, and the research that cross-campus entrepreneurship faculty should be expecting their students to conduct for those reports. But as in past years, the main contribution I made to the summit was (hopefully) promoting business librarians as partners in entrepreneurship education. There was some feedback from campus directors that they had since gotten involved with their own business librarian. That was great to hear although it might have happened anyway of course.
Because Dianne and I ran our workshop twice, I was only able to attend one other workshop: a CSU Fresno lecturer on running an “urban entrepreneurship” class. (He also founded and runs a pub downtown that provides community programming and serves as a hub for outdoor markets.) For half of the class periods, the students meet downtown. They learn how to “read a downtown” and conduct primary research into its situation and potential. Class assignments include writing restaurant reviews, writing letters to editors on downtown issues, helping organizing “loft hops” (promotion of downtown housing), and presenting on a proposed downtown business concept to local officials and developers. Very cool! Carol and I have lived on the edge of downtown Winston-Salem since 2001 and have enjoyed seeing the revitalization and growth.
The new UNCG fellows come from English, Geography, and Gerontology. Fellow UNCG veteran fellow Bill Johnson, the UNCG “Dream Dean,” (who helped me out last winter at the arts entrepreneurship conference) also attended. A big part of my summit experience was bonding with this group.
A new summit activity this year was brainstorming a business idea and then making a video pitch for potential investors – all in 3-4 hours. Our idea had to be a type of subscription box. As you probably know, common examples of subscriptions boxes include wine, craft beer, local food, and sex supplies (probably the first use of boxes? Those folks are also on the cutting edge of new technologies and delivery models). ENT 300 has had several subscription box ideas researched lately, most recently NC craft beers.
Anyway, we tried to come up with a new box idea (really hard to do) and ended up with discounted prices on interesting recreational, enrichment activities for couples (ex. theaters, resorts, wine tastings, etc.) We decided that having fun and bonding was our main goal for this project, so we got silly with some role playing all over our own resort location. (That’s why I’m not naming the other fellows involved!) The only tech we had was an iPad. We did have a lot of fun. But the downside was less time to network with fellows from other campuses and learn from them.