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E/M 267: Entrepreneurship I: Co-Initiate: Getting Situated

Co-Initiate: Getting Situated

In this stage, we meet our teammates and figure out how we will go about completing the project. Key actions for this stage include: deciding how often to meet and what will be accomplished at the first meeting; elect one person to be the Meeting Meader and another person to act as the Scribe at the first meeting; determine how this responsibility will rotate.

Questions to Get You Started

Copy these into a Google Doc and have your group brainstorm ideas.

Who needs what you are proposing to create? Why do they need it? What are their current obstacles to getting it?

Who is interested or could be interested in seeing this problem solved? Any groups on campus? Students? Faculty? The Gustavus administration? Off-campus groups: Elected officials? Clergy? Community leaders? Local nonprofit groups? Volunteer groups? National associations?

Make a list of potential categories of people who would be involved in the conversation about your topic. Also note any specific individuals and their contact information, because you may want to contact them directly as part of your research.

What kinds of market research can you do to learn more about the audience/consumers that your project will serve? Consider some of the options discussed on the Co-Sense page.

Build off your brainstorming from above. See if other parallel projects have been created at other institutions. Find out what community organizations or professional associations deal with the problem. What currently exists and what gaps can your enterprise fill?

Plan How Your Team Will Operate

Create a calendar and decide on the your meeting structure.

  • You can use Google Calendar and Google Meets to schedule meetings. Tip: Send an invite to each member of the team and schedule a reminder to be sent at least a day in advance.
  • Figure out what tasks you want to complete in your first couple meetings and decide who will serve as the Convener and the Scribe for the first meeting (see next box), and in what order you'll rotate.

Sample Shared Folder

Sample Meeting Agenda

Sample Meeting Minutes

The Convener and the Scribe can be a rotating position (depending on how the team is structured).

The Convener sends out an agenda prior to each meeting and asks the team member to add "items" to it. The Convener then leads the meeting and ensured each "item" on the agenda is addressed. The agenda lists the date of the meeting, who was the Convenor, who was the Scribe, and who else attended.

The scribe makes a bulleted list of each topic discussed during the meeting and what was said about it. They may also include a list of action items, tasks that the group agrees should be worked on before the next meeting, along with the person who agrees to take it on. The scribe then sends the minutes out within one day after the meeting.

In a rotating meeting structure, the person who serves as Scribe is responsible for serving as Convenor at the next meeting.

  • Meet regularly, and with a specific agenda in mind. End each meeting with tasks for each team member to accomplish before the next meeting.
  • Divide the work relatively equally; if you have concerns about the ability to get something done by yourself, propose partnering with another member of the group on the task.
  • Be ready to defer to others who want to take on a task, or be willing to take on tasks no one else volunteers for.
  • Work hard, and ensure you are making progress on what the group needs you to.
  • It's better to start working on a task sooner (so you can get help if you have difficulty), than to put it off to later.
  • During a group meeting, however, it is better to slow down to ensure everyone in the group understands what the group is doing, and seek consensus when possible. Remember: collegiality means going out of your way to ensure every team member is kept in the loop.
  • Ultimately, teams operate by the will of the majority (or, if this were a private company, according to the final say of the manager or team leader.) Allow everyone to speak their mind before taking majority votes; however, once a decision has been made by the whole group, accept it and carry it out (even if you disagree.)
  • Use a calendar (like Google Calendar) to schedule meetings, send reminders a day or two in advance, and keep the group coordinated.
  • Use a shared Google Drive folder to ensure everyone in the group has access to all materials.

Some Ideas/Breadcrumbs

Team 2: Expand on the Econ/Management department's Gustie CUP program

  • Customer Segments: What are specific groups of people the Gustie Cup now serves? "What are their jobs, tasks and obligations? What are their hopes, dreams and aspirations? What are their core beliefs and worldviews? Do they have a good understanding of how they might get what they want?" (my emphasis; because you cannot access services if you don't know they exist, no matter how useful they might be to you, so marketing/outreach is a key part of giving access.)
  • Customer Relationships: Is there a way you can systematically engage with potential customers at a particular point of ingress (e.g. orientations; at the end/start of a particular semester or year) in order to ensure the Gustie Cup has a reliable stream of participants? How should this relationship evolve (what stages) to ensure these participants steadily progress towards their end goals? What continued relationship/service can/should the Gustie Cup provide participants after the particular Gustie Cup they are entered into is over?
  • Key partners: What persons on campus do you need to coordinate with/run things by in order to keep them in the loop? This could start with the individuals who currently run the Gustie Cup, but may involve others. For example, if expanded services on campus involves seeking new revenue streams, you may wish to speak to the Gustavus Office of Advancement, whose primary purpose is seeking/providing revenue streams for the college. If you wanted to hold a promotional event, you may wish to talk to a staff coordinator with CAB to find dates that don't conflict. If you want to put posters in dorms or in the Union, you may need to get your posters stamped by two different offices. If you wanted to create an appealing web presence for the Gustie Cup, or a promotional video, there may be other departments to consult.
  • Value proposition: What hopes can the Gustie Cup satisfy for its prospective customers? What fears allay? "This isn’t about what we sell them, but rather why it matters. These might be Gain Creators like increased social status, wellness, professional credibility or indulging our guilty pleasures. These might be Pain Relievers like fear of exclusion, social shame, regaining wasted time, or reduced anxiety."
  • Channels: How will you make prospective customers aware of your Value Proposition? This could be a poster campaign and/or a display, but it may also take the form of asking faculty to allow you to deliver a short pitch of the benefits of participating to students in their classes, setting up events that raise awareness.
  • Key activities:  What are the current activities of the Gustie Cup? Would you presently be able to list all the tasks required to be completed each year by those who run the program? -> Who runs the program? Could they tell you what these tasks are? -> Are there key activities they would like to engage in that are not possible with their current resources? -> Are there activities that could improve service to the Gustie Cup's existing constituency of customers that are not being done? -> Are there services the Gustie Cup could provide to prospective customers not currently being served? -> What activities are comparable programs at other institutions performing (see sample Google search below) and how do they compare with the activities of the Gustie Cup? -> Which of these activities would you prioritize most if the resources existed to achieve them?
    ↳Who do you need to talk to/interview to get answers to these questions?
  • Key resources:  Of the Gustie Cup's current activities, which of them require resources and what resources do they require? -> Where does the Gustie Cup obtain these resources on a yearly basis? -> As you consider additional activities that the Gustie Cup could take on, what resources would those new activities require? -> What entities exist (locally, in the state, nationally) that could provide these resources? Who could be persuaded to provide them and what information would they want from you?
  • Cost Structure: Which of the Gustie Cup current activities cost time and money? Which possible expanded activities would cost time and money?
  • Revenue Streams: Where does the money currently come from? What possible sources (on campus - the Advancement department, for example; local; state; national) could it come from? Do you know how to write a grant proposal, or how to pull together a list of governmental/non-governmental organizations that issue grants? Can you find someone on campus who could provide such mentorship/expertise?
  • Google search: "entrepreneurship" "prize"

Team 3: Develop a Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

  • Google search: center AND innovation AND (business OR entrepreneur*)

Team 4: Partnering with Feeding Our Communities Partners on backpack food program

  • Google search: backpack AND food AND (partner*)
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