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Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation McRae C. Banks, Director, Gina M. Betti, Assoc. Director, Lorelle Tross, Admin.

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Presentation on theme: "Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation McRae C. Banks, Director, Gina M. Betti, Assoc. Director, Lorelle Tross, Admin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation McRae C. Banks, Director, Gina M. Betti, Assoc. Director, Lorelle Tross, Admin. Assistant,

2 REE Poster Session, October 2004 Dinner With Entrepreneurs (DWE) Founded with a John and Jeanne Hughes Foundation grant Students interested in entrepreneurship meet in small groups with entrepreneurs over dinner Meal is free to all and is held 6 times annually Approximately 200 students and 30 entrepreneurs per year attend

3 REE Poster Session, October 2004 DWE Process Students register online via the CEI website Event starts at 5:00 p.m. with a Networking Skills Workshop from nationally known executive coach, Alan Glou. Concurrently, the entrepreneurs meet with the director and associate director to have dinner and become acquainted with each other (this is necessary because the entrepreneurs were not able to eat when we had them eating with the students – they were constantly answering questions!). At 6:00 p.m. the entrepreneurs join the students, a brief introduction to the CEI and its programs and activities is given, the entrepreneurs are introduced, and the structure of the evening is laid out for participants. By 6:10 the entrepreneurs are seated at dinner rounds and the students are passing through the buffet line.

4 REE Poster Session, October 2004 DWE Process (cont’d) At the tables, the entrepreneur has each student introduce him/herself and explain their interest in entrepreneurship. Following that, the entrepreneur tells about his/her entrepreneurial journey, answering questions along the way. Additionally, entrepreneurs ask questions of the students. At 6:50, we have the entrepreneurs switch tables, ensuring that all students personally meet two entrepreneurs. Later during the evening, evaluation forms are passed out along with complimentary department pens. At 7:25 we interrupt again and ask students to complete the evaluation form and then enter the third period, which we call Free For All. During Free For All, students can move to another table to visit with whichever entrepreneur they want, whether they have visited with him/her previously or not. At 8:00 we conclude by thanking the entrepreneurs and the students.

5 REE Poster Session, October 2004 DWE Outcomes 30 to 42 students participate per dinner. Analysis of participant evaluations tells us that: –94.6% believed event was excellent or very good; –100% would encourage a friend to participate; –91.9% now have a very high or high level of interest in learning more about entrepreneurship; and –78.4% now have a high level of interest in entrepreneurship as a career choice.

6 REE Poster Session, October 2004 DWE Outcomes (cont’d) Paraphrased excerpts from evaluation forms: …liked learning about the startup process; …enjoyed interacting with entrepreneurs and other students; …valued the encouragement received from everyone; …so informative; …it was both informal and formal; …appreciated hearing the entrepreneurs tell where they were, where they are, and where they are going; and …liked learning about future opportunities. Several students to say they schedule follow-up appointments with entrepreneurs to discuss their business ideas or employment opportunities.

7 REE Poster Session, October 2004 DWE Outcomes (cont’d) These events help us discover new networks of student entrepreneurs seeking to gain insights from guest entrepreneurs and each other. We have engaged many entrepreneurs, all of whom have been impressed with our students and programs, many of whom were not engaged prior to the event.

8 REE Poster Session, October 2004 Overall Program Challenges Funding and space are inadequate. Paid staff needs to be increased. The WPI delivers with one full-time staff professional, one full-time administrative assistant, two part- time students, and almost 50 volunteers: –two conferences, six Dinner with Entrepreneurs events, –10 WPI Venture Forum programs, –two business plan competitions, –an invention contest, an idea contest, –business plan workshops, quarterly seminars –a weekly radio show, a monthly newsletter, –bimonthly networking events, –annual breakfasts with entrepreneurs and executives, –as needed workshops to meet student and faculty needs.

9 REE Poster Session, October 2004 Goals Going Forward Raise public awareness of programs Discover and cultivate donors and ambassadors Raise internal support for inclusion in curriculum across the majors Add breadth and depth to programs Thank you!


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