Edited by Charles H. Matthews and Eric W. Liguori
Chapter 25: Teaching entrepreneurship as method: outcomes from seven semesters of new venture expos
In 2013, two of the authors attended the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Expo held in Anaheim, California. The expo brings together over 200 franchisors, each vying to both build brand awareness and expand their reach via acquisition of new franchisees. We walked the showroom floor, spoke with many of the franchisors, and tried to resist arguing with the lucky few who proudly claimed they had no competition. Our motive in attending this expo was simple: franchising is an often-overlooked opportunity for students to engage in entrepreneurship and we wanted to gather franchise opportunity information to share with our students. We walked away with the information we sought, content we had gathered enough data to inform a few lectures and give students some collateral to consider. As we made the five-hour drive home we reflected back on what we had observed. We had seen thousands of people being pitched business opportunities, some successfully so and others not, by hundreds of franchisors (effectively, the IFA had succeeded in the deliberate facilitation of individual-opportunity nexus; Shane, 2003). As we reflected back we couldn’t help but think “wouldn’t this be a great way for our students to practice entrepreneurship?” After all, completing customer discovery, crafting compelling narratives, building brand identity, and learning to sell are core components of contemporary entrepreneurship education (cf., Ladd, 2016; Liguori, Cowden, & Hertz, 2016). It was then we decided Fresno State’s entrepreneurship capstone course (ENT 157) needed revamping.
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