Workshop Provides Reality Check for Young Entrepreneurs

December 2012

What does it really take to be a successful entrepreneur? Twenty-five students from the Farmer School Institute for Entrepreneurship and Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS) programs have a better sense of what to expect, thanks to a workshop held in Cincinnati.

The intensive, one-credit-hour workshop was specifically designed by the Institute for Entrepreneurship to prepare their students for internships and careers in this diverse arena. Sixteen of the students have already secured spring internships in the San Francisco area with various start-ups companies, including Yapstone, Wildfire, Zozi, and Torbit.

"The workshop reinforced everything I love about Miami's entrepreneurship program and startup ideology," said Mary Dieglio 14 (Finance and Entrepreneurship). "It was cool to hear from the founders of Brandery startups. A lot of what has made these guys successful was figuring things out themselves by doing, failing, and trying again. It is amazing to see a group of young, talented, bright people willing to spend their Saturday investing in our futures."

The workshop featured sessions by Miami faculty, Brandery companies, Venture for America fellows, and venture capitalists. It was held at The Brandery, a seed-stage consumer marketing venture accelerator located in Over-the-Rhine.

"Holding the workshop at The Brandery connected students to the feeling of being in an entrepreneurial environment. It was the best classroom setting we could have asked for." said Jessica Reading, Assistant Director of the Page Center for Entrepreneurship.

Start-up environments come with unique challenges, according to Mark Lacker, the John W. Altman Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship. "The workshop puts students in an environment that mirrors the environment they're going to be in. There are a lot of "figure it out" exercises-what do you do if you don't know what to do and somebody doesn't have time to train you but needs it done?"

One of the workshop sessions was led by Sam McBride, MU 08, Director of Business Development at SafeMart. "Some of my best experiences at Miami were hearing entrepreneurs and business people tell their story, so I wanted to return the favor for the current crop of students," said McBride. "My goal was to convince students that they have the ability to solve 95% of problems with a Google search, a little research and a lot of determination."

AIMS participant, Amy Lewin, 13 (Graphic Design) appreciated the brush with reality. "It was beneficial to hear real-life scenarios of situations, and how they were handled. I learned that it will be fast paced, and I will be overwhelmed most of the time, but with the big risks, come big rewards. This workshop made me excited to go to San Francisco and be immersed in this environment."