Thursday, March 22, 2007

Entrepreneur Boot Camp

For those of you that check this out regularly (or should I say, both of you... haha), you know that I sometimes spout off stuff that hasn't really been though through, or in some cases (yes, I'll admit it), I take a bit of an extreme position just to have the chance to toss the ideas around.

However, this post is not one of my usual manifestos of things that tick me off. This post is actually about something I participated in that I thought was really good.

Today, the Indiana Economic Development Council held it's first ever "Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for College Students" - and I was asked to participate on a panel and in some smaller discussions. As it turns out (and I didn't realize this until today), this is actually an implementation of an idea I tossed out back in October, when I was invited to a dinner hosted by the Governor, where 25 entrepreneurs from Indiana met with Gov. Daniels to brainstorm on things the state could do to foster entrepreneurship.

Little did I know, that they were actually listening to what I was saying. Maybe I should have just suggested that the state give me $25 million to start a few companies with... LOL.

Anyway, lo and behold, the event was here, and wow, it really turned out to be something. There were about 500 college students there, all voluntary, who were legitimately (to my surprise) interested in started real companies, and learning what they could about doing so.

I wish something like this existed when I was in school. Around 50 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and others, were in attendance to participate with the students and help them learn what this hair-brained lifestyle was all about.

I speak at these things a few times a year - in fact I'm off to Purdue tomorrow to do something similar - but the genuine enthusiasm of the students really made this one worthwhile. The change in attitude around starting companies right out of school has really been dramatic around here. I can't imaging even 1/5 of the turnout when Scott, Eno and I were drawing up those first business plans while still in school.

I even learned from some of the students that Rose-Hulman has an entrepreneurship club now. I think Scott and I would have been the only members back when we were there. LOL.

I even got the change to make a fool of myself on TV, as one of the local stations, WRTV 6, was there and interviewed me for a spot on the evening news. Thankfully, they didn't make me sound as they certainly could have. LOL. If I can find the clip online, I'll link to it later, but my 10 seconds of wisdom went something like "these kids need to jump in with both feet and start a company right now!"

Anyway, it was really cool, and I hope the event and others like it continue in the future.


craig said...

that's pretty cool. any chance the audio will be picked up for a podcast?

"The" Bucia said...

Sounds very interesting...Another Job Well done by Jeff.

Dana said...

The news clip was great! I am certainly proud to be related to you : )

Stacey said...

Sweet! It's so cool to hear about things like this! Too bad this "boot camp" wasn't around when you guys were in school. You guys went so far without it though! :)
I guess I'll have to start calling you "Drill Sergeant Ready" from now on!