Scholarship in Action and the Syracuse Miracle
Edited by Bruce Kingma
Chapter 6: The Syracuse Miracle: Inspiring Entrepreneurs through Conversations
Jill Hurst-Wahl THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA During a board meeting for a local not-for-profit business association, the topic of venture capitalists arose and it was clear that some of the business people at the table lacked the knowledge they needed about how venture capitalists operate. They felt that venture capitalists would welcome meeting anyone with a new idea, while others knew that venture capitalists can be very particular about how they are approached and by whom. After the meeting, I found myself suggesting that there was some knowledge about business that one learned only by ‘going around the block’ (through experience), yet we did not all have the same experiences and thus did not learn the same lessons. How could we teach entrepreneurs and business owners the lessons they needed? While there are many workshops and meetings geared toward those who want to start a business, none teach everything that the person needs to know. Indeed, it might be impossible – and perhaps even frightening – for someone to learn everything in advance. Instead, we hope that entrepreneurs will learn what they need as they need it. For example, an entrepreneur learns about the patent application process after creating an invention. When it takes place, this just-in-time learning is generally effective, but there is no guarantee that the lesson will be delivered at the appropriate time. Inherent here is the notion that an entrepreneur will understand what information s/he is lacking. Tragically, most are unaware of the information they are missing...
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