October 23, 2006

October 23rd Blog


We have some big news to share with you for this issue. This issue finishes up the theme of focusing in on the benefits one can gain from collaborations, in whatever way they present themselves. We are also proud to announce our upcoming graduation ceremony for the E-Academy and some brief highlights from KSU's recent Entrepreneurial Extravaganza. We also provide you with a brief excerpt from a published book review of Dr. House's third book, Confronting the Odds which was written by Dr. Abel Bartley and published in the Northeast Ohio Journal of History .

Quote of the Week

In order to do big things, you need to have big thoughts.

---Dr. Bessie House---

Building Effective Collaborations That Work, Part III

As we move further into the 21st century and realize the point of diminishing returns in our everyday lives, the catchword of the day seems to be collaborations. Over the past decade or so, we have been involved in a number of collaborations and have become aware of 10 rules that can enhance your probability of achieving success. This week, we will provide the entirety of the rules. Please contact us at Entrepreneurial Alternatives with stories about how you have used these rules to succeed in business.

Rule Number 1: Do not enter into collaborations lightly and make sure that you develop your own criteria for the collaboration. We have developed three criteria to govern our own involvement in collaborations and partnerships through the years. First, make sure that you work with an organization that has a good reputation in the community. Second, make sure that the mission and goals of your organization are compatible with the mission and goals of the partnering organizations.

Third, the best collaborations take place when the skills and strengths of the participants do not replicate each other, but rather complement each other. In other words, work with organizations that have strengths in areas in which you may have perceived weaknesses.

Rule Number 2: All collaborations are not good collaborations. Be deliberative in your thinking and decision making process as you consider who the ideal partners for the collaboration might be. Make sure that you have clarity in your thinking process and that you get suggestions from the partnering organizations along the way to ensure their buy-in and support of the project.

Rule Number 3: Make sure that the activities that the collaboration is embarked upon will bring value to the society or marketplace.

Rule Number 4: Schedule a preliminary meeting with the potential partners and some additional follow up meetings to discuss the basis and framework for the collaboration and to determine if intellectual chemistry exists. The meetings can also ensure that everyone understands the main thrust of the project.

Rule Number 5: Make sure that your fellow collaborators will have as much to lose as you do if the collaboration does not work. In this way, they will invest as great an effort as you do to ensure that you achieve positive outcomes. Remember that your reputation is the most valuable thing that you possess.

Rule Number 6: Make sure that all parties receive some benefits from the collaboration. Ideally, the collaboration should be a non-zero sum game situation, rather than a zero-sum game.

Rule Number 7: Select someone to serve as the lead person on the project. This individual should follow up periodically with all of the principal participants and make sure that everyone understands his/her duties and roles on the project and that they are doing their assigned tasks.

Rule Number 8: Discuss fully the role of each participant. Think clearly about what each party is bringing to the table. Develop outcomes, measurable indicators of success, and a timetable to get the work done.

Rule Number 9: When in doubt, put your agreement in writing. It could be as simple as drafting a memorandum of understanding, a letter of intent, or in some cases, when the collaborative goals are more complex and involve significant resources and funding, a more detailed legal agreement might be necessary to explain who gets what under which specific circumstances.

Rule Number 10: Once the collaboration has reached its goals, do a self-assessment and review of things that worked and things that didn’t work and fine tune your approach to make the next collaboration bigger and better than ever!

Hopefully, by incorporating the able suggestions into your future activities, you can achieve a positive outcome as you partner with other organizations to enhance the society in which we live.
Kent State University President to Present Keynote Speech for E-Academy Graduation Ceremony

Dr. Lester A. Lefton, Kent State University's new president, will present the keynote speech at the upcoming graduation ceremony for the Entrepreneurial Academy on Saturday, November 11, 2006. The graduation ceremony will take place from 3:00-5:00 P.M. at the Civic Conference and Event Center, 3130 Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, 44118. There will be a reception immediately following the ceremony.

Dr. Lester A. Lefton became the 11th president of Kent State University in July of this year. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Tulane University, Dean of George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of the University of South Carolina's College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Lefton is respected internationally for his scholarship and work in the field of experimental psychology.

Forty-one students are eligible for graduation for 2006 because of their participation in both intensive and advanced business training classes offered by the Entrepreneurial Academy earlier this year. In order to graduate, all participants must have completed the rigorous requirements for graduation that have been established by Dr. Bessie House, Director of the E-Academy. The theme for this year's program is The Power of Collaborations: Prioritizing Entrepreneurial Development for the 21st Century. The establishment of the E-Academy in 2004 came about as the result of a creative and successful collaboration between the Cleveland Empowerment Zone, the Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses at KSU, the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, the Glenville Development Corporation, the Consortium for Economic and Commnity Development, and Midtown Cleveland.

The event is open to the public. If you are interested in attending, please call the E-Academy at 216-541-4140 of send an email to Jsimmon9@kent.edu.
Entrepreneurial Academy students transported to KSU's Entrepreneurial Extravaganza

Several students from the Entrepreneurial Academy were transported from Cleveland to Kent Ohio in order to participate in the university's first Entrepreneurial Extravaganza that was organized by the College of Business Administration and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. The event was held from October 5-6, 2006 and offered several keynote speeches and workshop sessions on a variety of topics including how to attract venture capital, retail entrepreneurship, marketing on a shoestring budget, and microfinance entrepreneurship in developing countries.

Dr. Bessie House made a presentation on How to Start a Minority Owned Business. Her presentation had originally been scheduled to take place in the Multicultural Center but had to be moved to the KIVA Auditorium because so many individuals had signed up to hear her speak. Her presentation was very well received by the audience and she also answered a number of questions from the audience at the end.

Over ten E-Academy students, past and present, were transported to Kent State University and transportation was provided by one of the newest business start-up companies helped by the E-Academy and that is Royal Transportation, Inc., owned by Brian Sullivan. The picture to the side of this story shows four of these up and coming entrepreneurs - Maria Mango, Brenda Greer, April Griffin, and Catherine Martin.
Excerpt of Published Book Review of Dr. House's book, Confronting The Odds

In the book Confronting the Odds: African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio, Bessie House Soremekun, looks at the African American experience in developing a business foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. Using a variety of sources including interviews, newspapers, and books, Soremekun paints both an optimistic and troubling picture of Cleveland’s African American experience in business development. The book traces the many successes and failures of African American entrepreneurs in Cleveland, while analyzing the many difficulties they faced. The most compelling part of the book was the many stories of African Americans who found business success in Cleveland. The book is good read offering some valuable insights into the entrepreneurial past in Cleveland. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in understanding the role of African American entrepreneurs in Cleveland.

Dr. Abel A. Bartley
Clemson University
Northeast Ohio Journal of History
Dr. House to be featured in Cleveland Plain Dealer on October 29, 2006.

Dr. Bessie House will be featured in a write-up in the At Work Business Section of tthe Cleveland Plain Dealer in the Sunday, October 29, 2006 edition of the paper. The Plain Dealer has more than 1 million readers. Please, pick up your copy of the newspaper to read the article or you can access the article online on their website,

Dear Dr. House

In this section of our newsletter, we present two marvelous letters. The first comes from Dr. Jeffrey Wattles, a professor in the Philosophy Department at KSU, whose son, Ben, recently completed an internship with our E-Academy in Cleveland, Ohio, while the second letter comes from one of Dr. House's former classmates from Lanett High School in Lanett, Alabama.

Dear Bessie,

The Newsletter is very impressive. Thanks for sending me the nice write up of Ben's internship. It was good for me, too, to get involved in the way that I did as a parent, with your remarkable organization.

Every blessing,

Dear Jeff:

Thanks for your letter and let me say again how exciting it was for us to have your son, Ben, as an intern at the E-Academy. He did an exceptional job and I want to thank you for providing such stellar parental leadership to him and for following up with us regarding the possibility of him working with us. Since that time, we have had a number of other students who want to be either research interns or outreach interns in our centers and we look forward to providing them with internship opportunities as well.

Dr. Bessie House
The Entrepreneurial Academy
And Executive Director and Founder
The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Kent State University

Hey Bessie,

I am very impressed. Who would have thought that 32 years ago that you would have become a famous writer and speaker? I always knew that you were smart. I am very proud of your accomplishments. Sorry, I missed you when you were home. I called your Mom's home telephone number but didn't get an answer. She did not have voice mail so that I could leave you a message. We will have to get together next time. I talked to Gary Wright the other day and he told me that he had gone to Fetaque Winston's birthday party in Atlanta. He said Jack Wilson was there as well. He said that both of them were very successful as well. We did have some good things come out of our class. Do well on your speech today. I know you will. Thanks for sending this [the newsletter] to me.

-Susan Terry

Dear Susan:

Thanks for your wonderful letter. It was a pleasure to hear from you and I am also sorry that I missed seeing you when I visited my mother a few weeks ago. It has truly been a pleasure knowing you all these years and your letter brought back a bit of nostalgia to me as I have been transported back to the wonderful days of the past when we attended school together. Truly, in retrospect, those were some of the best years of our lives. You are a wonderful person and classmate as well as so many of the others. We shall have to plan another class reunion when we can all get together to recount again some of our great times together and to get caught up on what the others are now doing. Hopefully, you and I and some of our other friends can have lunch together when next I am in our hometown area.

Once again, thank you for giving me a brief and marvelous trip down memory lane. I am grateful.

Dr. Bessie House
The Entrepreneurial Academy
And Executive Director and Founder
The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Kent State University

Veterans Business Symposium, November 14th

The Veterans Business Symposium in Elyria, Ohio (Cleveland area) is on Tuesday, November 14. This conference is for you if you are a veteran or an active member of the military.

For the fourth year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center of Ohio (PTAC) are bringing together a variety of resources for veterans or active members of the military. These resources include government agency contracting officers, buyers from large businesses and experts to address your business start-up and growth needs. The event has grown to attract 300-400 veterans from a 5-6 state area.

We will have a variety of Federal agencies present along with many large business sponsors, including Invacare, Rockwell, COSE, FirstEnergy and Applied Industrial, several banks and more to come! Our premier sponsors again this year are Lorain National Bank and Lorain County Community College.

You may register now by visiting http://www.lcedc.org and clicking on the registration button on the left side of the page.

In Closing
Finally, we at the Center For The Study and Development of Minority Businesses and Entrepreneurial Academy want to make a call out to any former student of our Center. If you move or have some other method of contact, please notify us! We love hearing about your new businesses, business plans, and any other successes that you might be experiencing. If you could send us a recent photograph and a small description of your success, we will include them in one of our upcoming editions of Entrepreneurial Alternatives.

There are individuals in our class that we have not heard from since they stopped attending; keep in touch! Contact information is at the bottom of this blog.


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At 11:34 AM, Blogger hoorhuslu said...

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