Wednesday, August 12, 2009

AS PROMISED in LAST BLOG! "Low-Hanging Fruit", "Quick Wins" Ideas

Thanks to all of you who responded with questions about my offer to share some easy/free/cheap things that we could right now! We should be thinking about how to leverage the growing number of groups out there who have human capital to deploy and exploit the crap out of them! Groups like: ESTech, Idaho Cubed, Jigsaw (Wood River Valley) plus maybe Meridian's CORE and ??? Those bottom-up organizations can play a nice role in “picking” these “low hanging fruit”!

Contact me if interested in getting involved! (

LOW HANGING FRUIT for IDAHO (free/cheap; already at our fingertips)

#1 Idea to Product Competition (
What: Turning an Idea into a Product, developed at U Texas (home of the #1 college biz plan contest) in reaction to flaws in biz plan model. Far superior for entrepreneurial learning. Works for K-12 and for the general public (heart of Innovate North Dakota) Successful past history in Idaho.
Who: Allies already identified. Could be deployed immediately for fall semester in colleges and in high schools (e.g.. through IDLA Entrep course) AND could be run for adult population through IEDA, IRP, TechBoise, etc. Idaho-Cubed and ESTech are both willing to step up & lead.
Cost: Negligible, other than prizes (sponsors).
What Now?: Give the word. I have the license for the Inland Northwest.

#2 IDLA H.S. Entrepreneurship Course
What: Online "Entrepreneurial Economics" fulfills required HS econ course plus significant experiential entrepreneurship training - engaging entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Needs more marketing but also is opportunity for dedicated sections with specialized inteest
Cost: Technically, the course costs students and schools $0. (State already paying)
Who: IDLA already doing, we just promote it [longer-term, turn course into adult ed class and add a full entrepreneursip or sustainable entrep class to IDLA curriculum!]
What Now?: Spread the word. Guest speaker and mentoring opportunities.

#3 Sponsor (and participate in) Global Entrepreneurship Week []
What: 2nd annual global celebration of entrepreneurship, especially younger entrepreneurs. Sponsored & supported by all the major "players" (Kauffman Foundation, NSF, R's & D's, SBA, EDA, NCIIA, etc.) Global & naional events - opportunity to do a series of events (see below)
Cost: Negligible but groups signing on as Partner would facilitate sponsorship of other events
Who: Regional Coordinator for Idaho plus other engaged groups/individuals (again, ESTech & Idaho Cubed)
What Now?:Sign up online as Partner, proclamation of support, etc. (& have fun with it!)

#3A Stanford's Global Innovation Tournament
What: Take an ordinary item (paper clips, Post-It notes, etc.) & teams turn it into something incredible in 5 days. Global college tourney [but Tina says if Idaho has a HS team.. "Bring it on!"] Key part of Global Entrepreneurship Week
Cost: Minimal
Who: We have personal invite from GIT director Tina Seelig (director of the legendary Stanford Technology Ventures program,
What Now?: Partners endorse & co-brand as part of Week.

#4 Major Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (1 or 2 days)
What: Multiple models already handy but best version is NCIIA's Invention 2 Venture (“I2V”, which has several 'flavors' (high tech, SBIR/etc., industry-specific and my favorite, green/cleantech entrep). Day-long format but could be expanded to 2 day (ultimately even week-long but that will require some funding)
Who: I work with NCIIA, we've done a pilot one before with ASME who will support along with presumably INL. NCIIA will help & there's $$$ left over from last time.
Cost: Minimal, especially with leftover sponsor money.
What Now?: Make plans - maybe do this in/around Global Entrepreneurship Week [Ignite is fortuitously the week before]

** possible roster of events for Idaho's Global Entrepreneurship Week: [alternately, we set up weekly/monthly events and (again) maybe coordinate with existing events of ESTech, others]
> StartUp Weekend (before/after)
> I2V Boot camp
> "BlobLive" []
> Speed Dating/Speed Netowrking (Kickstand, TechBoise already doing this)
> Other major entrepreneurial training event [see &]
+ Global Innovation Tournament, other events [e.g. partnering in online co-events with foreign schools already identified!]

There are a few more cheap/free "Quick Wins" but I'll save those...

p.s.: A couple ideas that are timely but requiring a bit more resourcefulness

#1 Recruiting talent from downtrodden states - recruit top scientists/engineers from collapsing colleges (e.g. Cal State system, Florida, etc.)

#2 StartUp Weekend ( - Get large group of interested folks together on Friday afternoon/evening, form teams and stat something by Sunday night. Founder Andrew Hyde & TechStars mentor Paul Jerde made me promise to do this, LOL.