Alumni are “low hanging fruit” – an under used group who can be mobilized to good purposes. It’s time for a revolution in alumni/student/pupil relations with respect to support of entrepreneurship. North Americans tend to be good at this – Europeans not yet. Every entrepreneur is an alumni of somewhere. Even a solopreneur that operates their business completely by themselves has learned what they know from somewhere.
- People who have started businesses -entrepreneurs – have experience, know how, insights and characteristics and (sometimes) money that would be valuable to share with people who are thinking of starting a business, whether alumni, students, or others.
- Students would benefit from be able to listen to, ask questions and interact with entrepreneurs, and other students interested in entrepreneurship.
- the benefits would include increasing the chances that people who had such experiences and interactions will start new ventures, and if they do, both reduce the risk of failure and increase the scale of success.
- Exposing students and alumni to people who are considering the possibility of starting their own ventures can be inspiring and motivating, increasing the chance that those people will make then most of their lives
- Having more new initiatives and business ventures will change the world for the better faster, increasing human prosperity and welfare.
- The internet makes the spreading of new ideas and the organisation of new movements easier, cheaper and faster than at any time in human history.
- Many “pro-entrepreneurship events” are badly run and do not achieve nearly as much as they could. There is a better way of running events.
Years of organising TEDx events, Open Coffee Krakow events, Krakow Enterprise Mondays and speaking at multiple entrepreneurship related conferences has given me a strong insight into what makes an event special. I was even asked to do a workshop about this at TED.COM – who organise the best (and most expensive) events I’ve ever attended (TEDx events are low cost).
8. if more alumni become successful – and the place they studied has had a part in their success- it may positively impact on the school/university in terms of increased donations.
Entrepreneurship is not just about making money: it is about encouraging people and teams to take the risk to start social and business projects that may lead to making the world a better place. Celebrating the fact that there are those people who are ready to take the risk because doing anything new runs the risk of failure.
What needs to be done?
modelled on Etonpreneurs aimed to operate independently – in co-operation with the School In October 2017 I was asked *not* to organise a meeting to launch in Winchester because the School was worried about “Safeguarding” legislation. (I had been invited to give a talk in the school, was flying 2000 miles to be there, and thought I would start things off while I was there).
Apart from the referring to of my voluntary initiative to encourage entrepreneurship as a “scheme” (which – excluding the costs of my time – I had put a thousand or more pounds into making happen) – a message like this underlines the challenges for those who want to change things. Not everyone will be in favour, and some will make difficulties.
Informal self-organising communities of alumni and pupils are what is needed, with central support and direction to maintain standards and share good practice.. It’s the antidote to the optimism of TEDster Clay Shirky’s talk about the Grobanites. My “sanctioned” talk to the pupils went well, and for those interested, I recommended these entrepreneurship related resources.
In Kraków, Poland where I live – an Official Alumni Association run by salaried staff of a famous University are so unprofessional that they not only do not have time to to meet to discuss the idea, they are too busy to answer questions about their activities by e-mail.
If you decide you want to try to do something about this in your own place of former study, an important challenge is to find out who in a School/University are responsible for inviting guests, be they teachers, parents or pupils and make contact with them.
what sort of events take place at which entrepreneurial alumni would be welcome and helpful.
It is often easier to build on top of existing institutions and practices (like guest lecture series) than do something entirely new.
On the other hand if there is the ambition and local leadership aiming to “do things better” than normal, a dedicated event offers more control.
At some schools I have done workshops at, I have been the first entrepreneur school pupils have ever met. It would be a mistake to assume to that everyone knows what the potential is. Guest workshops can fit very well some parts of the curriculum.
Who can write an article about the topic ?
If there is a local leader they need to think about what they would like the local situation to look like?
If there are to be regular meet ups, basic questions
Who is in charge?
How frequent should the meetings be and with what format?
need to be asked.
If you are at this stage I can provide some input and support,
if you share my values. Icebreakers, Short talks, Q&A, Office Hours, Community Announcements, Education, Pitches are the basic ingredients, together with a laser like focus on welcoming and participant experience will be important.
Doing good events, not just events ,.
Assessing local competences and skills is important. In some cases there may be a need to “train the trainers”/ Teaching the entrepreneurs to teach. This is very much a question of local conditions. Many entrepreneurs are natural trainers, because they have all had to do develop on boarding and training processes for their staff.
In other cases, one person entrepreneurs/freelancers (or people in the school/University) may have no idea how important training and development is to successful enterprises, because they never thought about it.
A really bad workshop may be worse than nothing, although as my father told me “the best is sometimes the enemy of the good.”
If you care and want to do a good event, it is better to do something than nothing. There has never been so much know how available for free on how to do things well as now. 10 minutes on Google is often enough.
2. To give current students access to role models among entrepreneurial alumni who can help transmit the message that business success is possible.
3. to celebrate the business success of alumni. and the sense that the current generation of students appreciate and value entrepreneurial success.
4, To encourage existing alumni associations to include entrepreneurship support in their activities
5 to provide a business friendly environment where students from different universities in Krakow can meet and get to know each other, and develop their networks.
6. To encourage Student Societies to support business and social entrepreneurship among their members.
objectives for students may include learning new skills, being inspired, making new contacts, finding jobs, investors, co founders, and having fun.
If you want to mobilise the