New Ways Of Teaching And Learning Entrepreneurial Practice
Every other weekend for the two and a half months I’ve traveled to LaGuardia Community College to observe the inaugural cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. The 23 business owners show up bright and early to meet in their peer learning Growth Groups before moving into a full day’s worth of entrepreneurship education. The business owners are just now half way through the program but the weekend sessions are already starting to include growth report outs – sharing of new contracts, increased product demand, and new banking relationships. Notably, despite, hectic economic times, or perhaps because of it, every owner is there every week. Today is a clinic day, focusing first on law and then this afternoon, switching to accounting. Since an essential design principle of the program is for the business owners to work on their own businesses, they’ve all arrived with their questions and issues ready to solve immediate and longer term challenges in growing their businesses.
As an entrepreneurship educator, the fascinating part for me is to hear those questions and issues. I don’t focus on their confidential specifics, instead really trying to hear and interpret their current level of understanding and the gaps – sometimes small, often large – in that understanding. This leads to thinking about new ways of teaching and learning entrepreneurial practice. That is the fun part for me and why even this morning I looked forward to being here rather than on some golf course watching my handicap continue its upward trajectory.
To close, I’d like to do a shout out to NYDesigns, a business incubator of LaGuardia Community College. This space on the 7th floor of one of their Thomson Avenue buildings houses the 13 businesses of a diverse group of designers that have launched and are growing in all aspects of design. Pictures of successful graduates of the incubator line the wall by the reception desk. It looks and feels energetic, innovative, and, of course, entrepreneurial so a great place to spend some time.
Patricia G. Greene, Ph.D., MBA
F.W. Olin Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurship, Babson College