Thursday, October 31, 2013

World Entrepreneurship Forum Day 2

World Entrepreneurship Forum Day 2
Opening session had some remarkable speakers with remarkable messages. Morning session videos should be posted on the WEF website.

Want to Improve Society? Create Jobs.
Hearing Singapore’s Minister of Trade & Development call himself “Minister of Entrepreneurship”? Priceless.

It gets better: They had Russian president Medvedev visit and he was able to set up his own business in…. Two Minutes.

Did I mention that you can set up a legal business entity in Singapore in two minutes?
Must be a way to get Idaho to do that!

(And he shares my definition of “entrepreneurship”: "Entrepreneurship is making things happen" Not a bad way to get started, eh?)

Sustainable Thinking IS Entrepreneurial Thinking!
Chief Almir, of the Surui Amazonian tribe is working to re-forest their ancestral lands and paying for it by tapping into the global carbon-offsets market. I would never have thought of that in a million years. Remember what I said in my last post? Great sustainable thinking DOES require great entrepreneurial thinking! ;)

Celebrate Your Entrepreneurial Successes… Celebrate What You Have!
Passionate comments from Bruno Bonnell of MD Robopolis (and Board Chair for EM Lyon) – I enjoyed bragging on Alain Fayolle to him. (Alain is Da Man in studying entrep education.)

Build Your OWN Damn Door!
Nanxi Liu of talked about designing opportunities around new possibilities. Don’t wait for the door to open, she said, build your own door. I am so stealing that image. 
(I also think that WEF needs to steal it as their mantra. That is EXACTLY what we are talking about in these sessions, in our thinktank groups and even at the breaks. Making cool stuff happen. Brains+Passion+Action = Awesome.

Great Panels
My favorite was on incubators and accelerators with Steve Fang of Singapore and my friend Eythor Jonsson from Iceland/Denmark – Thor had the best slides of the day and gave a tour de force overview of accelerators. And at least 5 years of a research agenda both A-journal AND practical!

Awards Banquet
When the first three awards go to:
1. Sir Richard Branson [serial entrep of the year]
2. Ashish Thakkar of the Mara Group [young entrep] and
3. Dan Epstein of Be Unreasonable [entrep educator]
You KNOW it’s a good evening! :)
When the next three are:
4. Handicap International, & co-founder Jean-Baptiste Richardier [social entrep]
5. Wamda founder & Aramex founder Fadi Ghandour [business entrepreneur] and
6. Mme Ellen Sirleaf, president of Liberia [policy maker]
Yeah… this was a mind-blowing, inspiring set of WEF award winners.
Honored to have met them. [Jean-Bapiste hung out with us all day; I had NO idea. Mostly he was cheering on Chief Almir.] Great acceptance speeches especially from Dan Epstein and Jean-Baptiste.  Videos will be posted on the WEF website.

Bonus: Mahesh was a great contributor last year but could not attend in 2013 - he sent me this video cheering us on!

World Entrepreneurship Forum - Day 1

Singapore!!!! October 30, 2013

The World Entrepreneurship Forum opens in a few hours for nearly 3 days of discussions and 'think tank' activity around growing entrepreneurial ecosystems. This year's theme is timely: Sustainability. (Can you actually identify sustainable opportunities without deeply engaging the entrepreneurial mindset? That's one thing that inspired me about WEF -- they and their members really get it, that you can't have a great entrepreneurial ecosystem without community members having great entrepreneurial mindsets. And a great entrepreneurial ecosystem fosters and supports great entrepreneurial thinking... and does it actively!)

The WEF delegates come from every corner of the world, mostly entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs (not that WEF makes any more distinction between them than I do). Mix in a rich variety of policy makers and some media wizards and a tiny handful of eggheads ;) and… who knows?

Got here in the wee hours - remarkable airport and $9 shuttle to the posh Grand Copthorne on the Singapore River. Delta upgraded me PDX to NRT so I wasn't completely brain-fried. This is a marvelous city, another destination where it will be difficult to leave. (Any Singapore universities need a veteran entrepreneurship educator/researcher? :)

The "Who" of WEF
Not sure who will be here from 2012 - but there are some I am fervently hoping for! A newcomer who I scammed into coming is Icelander Eythor Ivar Jonsson who typifies the kind of talent that WEF attracts: Has built incubators & seed forums [] and is active in the Global Accelerator Network where I hope he is still working to gather data [hint, hint, Thor!] He and I share a keen interest in studying more rigorously the question of how deep entrepreneurial mindsets can be encouraged! On top of all that, my CD player still has his debut music album.

I might be overly fond of the "residual clamiant" model of entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurial function is to create and allocate economic and noneconomic rents across multiple stakeholders... and keep what's left over. If I can create genuine value for customers/clients, suppliers, employees and neighbors and not go broke... that requires a very different way of looking at the world. This is not an optimization problem, it's a *design* problem.

Now imagine the stakes getting raised for any organization by invoking the triple bottom line - to be sustainable, environmentally, socially AND economically and be able to do that dynamically over an extended period of time? You need great entrepreneurial minds that are already 'bent' in the direction of designing opportunities that move us forward.

I look forward to a few days of seeing what smart, passionate people from an insane variety of backgrounds can come up with. (I am also looking forward to my Saturday am "master class" on ecosystem building. We had a breakthrough last year on this, led by Jeannie Javelosa and Peter Vogel and a great 2012 team. I look forward to raising the bar in 2013 with a workshop where participants will leave with concrete action items for building their own startup communities. (And, yes, there will be much Feld-ian Fun to be had this week!)

After seeing the ecosystem-building power that is arising mightily in the US community college system at the NACCE conference and then seeing how we are finally learning how to really grow entrepreneurial mindsets via the Kauffman Foundation-backed Ice House training... how can we at WEF move this needle even farther?

More tomorrow! [But tell me what YOU want to hear, ok?]

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gobsmacked :)

(Always wanted to use that word.)

This NACCE conference has been a mind-blower. Again. The potential of community colleges to grow entrepreneurs AND entrepreneurial communities is unparalleled. (Natl Assn for Community College Entrepreneurship)

Seeing what programs (and funding!) is readily available is exciting as hell.

Seeing what other community colleges are doing (often without spending much money) was great. (Only a *little* envy*over my buddies at Spokane CC, Walla Walla CC and (*drum roll*) North Idaho College partnering so brilliantly with Avista. A public utility teaming up so closely with community colleges to drive their economic development efforts? OK… VERY envious!)

Seeing the Immense Potential of community colleges… priceless.
·         Who else is better able to deliver all-out true experiential learning? And do it well?
·         Who else is better able to bring in and skillfully use expert mentors from the community?

The resources coming online have me revved up…
            The Kauffman Foundation [] alone has:

·         Ice House blended/online experiential entrepreneurship training – gone global and just recognized by the Vatican for the good that Ice House is doing in Africa to empower. []

·         “1 Million Cups” weekly coffee meetup – in KC, now up to >300 people every week (300!)

·         The online Founders Academy

·         Helping the Khan Academy to create an entire channel just for entrepreneurship

·         Supporting Global Entrepreneurship Week [ – have YOU signed up yet?]

·         Supporting Big Omaha and Big Kansas city (
                               Who wants in on doing a Big Idaho????

·         The new Slingshot initiative that plugs in badass Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at 10 lucky CCs.
p.s. Why not IDAHO?????

I’m now in DC for the ICSB Public Policy conference ( then Monday-Wednesday (21st-23rd) I am invited to the Kauffman Foundation to talk projects!

Any messages from Idaho/Boise for the Kauffman crew?

           As always....  Entrepreneur Up!