What is it like being a female entrepreneur? What is the value of an entrepreneurship degree? What is the entrepreneurial mindset? These are a few of many questions discussed during our recent panel with alumni, faculty, and staff at the David Eccles School of Business. Below are highlights from the conversation. The panel was hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Business Career Services, and the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the David Eccles School of Business.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur?
“Typically where I have worked I was the only woman, and also a woman of color in a room of 30,” said Juliana Duran a U of U alumnae, entrepreneur graduate, and head of business development and strategy at 2640 media. “It’s exciting and empowering being in the world of entrepreneurship as a woman and as a person of color.”
“Businesses change and women are expected to be on boards, and equal in terms of participation in management roles,” added Justin Kahn, an ally for female entrepreneurs, adjunct instructor in the Masters of Business Creation (MBC) program and former CEO of TruClinic. “Same thing with minority populations. In terms of the MBC program, half of the members are women. We are conscious that we are making sure we are an equal opportunity educator. We are committed to diversity and creating the next generation of entrepreneurs who are going to give back to the community.”
What does an entrepreneurship degree mean?
“It applies to anything in life that you create or any project you manage,” Duran said. “Everything is at the tip of your fingers when you have an entrepreneurship degree.” Duran found that the entrepreneurship degree was an avenue for what she wanted to do in the future, which was work on an idea she had and work for herself.
Anne Bastien, program director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, added, “There is a myth that entrepreneurship is an easy business degree. So I dug into the data: 25% of students coming straight out of an entrepreneurship degree had at least one, if not two, of their own ventures. After 3-8 years, they are not only starting their own but are leading existing high growth companies as well.”
“We need more women studying entrepreneurship because in 5-10 years, you need to lead other women,” Bastien said.
“The difference between those with an entrepreneurship degree and those that don’t have one is they are not in self-discovery mode, which will give them a competitive advantage,” Bastien said. “Students in entrepreneurship know who they are, they know what they want, and they know where they are most effective on a team.”
What is the entrepreneurial mindset?
“There is no such thing as a wrong decision, the only wrong decision is indecision,” Kahn said. “That is what entrepreneurialism is to me. There isn’t a science to entrepreneurship. It’s all about recognizing the problem, and breaking it down into smaller solvable problems and working on it.”
“The entrepreneurial mindset is critical everywhere, not just as an entrepreneur,” Bastien said.
What are the characteristics of a good team?
“The Lassonde Studios is a place to practice and hone our craft. A critical team member is the one has who has the ‘they’ vs. ‘we’ mentality,” Bastien said. “For example, instead of ‘they need to cut out costs,’ it should be “we need to cut out costs, and here is how.’ Good team members are persistent and resilient day after day in shapeshifting challenges.”