Now that the end of the semester is coming, this week will be the last class before the exam the following week. I could tell the stress and pain on my student’s faces as they entered class last week and instantly recalled my own college pain. I wonder why I didn’t work ahead?
A Little Background
I teach my class (Entrepreneurship in Computer Science at UNCC) in what I like to call modules (see below). Each builds on the other to come to make a point at the end of the semester which is a fully vetted and formed business idea with the ability to communicate and sell (that’s right – I am teaching computer science students to sell) their idea.
As I close the class and get my really stressed out students ready for their final, I had a little realization about funding. This realization was compounded by a day spent with city and academic leaders in my area wanting to figure out why our entrepreneurial efforts were so weak. The point of the day and the lecture in class led to similar outcomes, which is we need money to fuel growth. As these recommendation were becoming clearer to me I realized that this thought was counter to the entrepreneurial spirit. AvidXchange, a company I helped start in 2000, recently raised $225,000,000 in funding. The city and universities in the area became very interested in Avid. However, the idea being, “We need more Avids” “How do we get more Avids” the answer came back – “We need more money to create more programs”. However, Avid, as an example, was self funded until the idea matured, the software was stable and leadership was in place. If we would have had money to start we would not have been so hungry and successful.
As I was buying into this knowing that Avid was going to add 1000 – 1500 new jobs to the area (good jobs at that) I realized that throwing money at the opportunity was not a good idea. I am still working this out, but thought I would write to see what the outside world thinks. Here are a few loosely formed conclusions:
- The Entrepreneurial Spirit (that’s the attitude) has to be grown organically and can’t be bought
- The roots are in the young people’s ability to understand they have options other than working for someone else
- The idea has to be established and then funded not the other way around
- Entrepreneurs don’t think like government officials and there is a lot of assume on both sides
My hope in writing this is to use the entrepreneurial spirit to spark the entrepreneurial efforts for entrepreneurial gains!
About The Author:
Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information