October 10, 2006

October 9th Blog


We have some big news this issue. This issue continues with the theme of focusing in on the benefits one can gain from collaborations, in whatever way they may present themselves. Read on!

Quote of the Week

It is the ceaseless attention to detail that separates great organizations from mediocre ones.

---Dr. Bessie House---

Building Effective Collaborations That Work

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 rule numbers 1-6. Tune in for the remaining rules in upcoming volumes of Entrepreneurial Alternatives.

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.

Entrepreneurial Academy Offers Second Advanced Class This Year

Because of popular demand, the Entrepreneurial Academy will start our second advanced business training class on Monday evening, October 9th, 2006. These classes will be held from 6:00-9:00 P.M. over the next 10 week period at 540 East 105th Street in Cleveland, Ohio in the conference room on the 2nd floor. Thus far, the E-Academy has offered two 12 week intensive business training classes and an earlier 10 week advanced business training class this year. The advanced class that will start on Monday, October 9, 2006 will be the fourth overall class taught this year. This has been a very exciting year for the E-Academy with high levels of class attendance and motivation being evidenced by the participants. Classes are free and open to residents of the Empowerment Zone communities of Hough, Glenville, Fairfax, and the Midtown Corridor. To enroll, please call 216-541-4140.

See Dr. House Live in October

Dr. Bessie House will serve as the keynote speaker for Minority Enterprise Development Initiative celebrations that will take place in Hopkinsville, Kentucky during the week of October 16 through October 21, 2006. The purpose of the week of activities is to educate, inform, and provide opportunities for minorities and women who own or desire to own their own businesses. The highlight for the week of activities is the Annual Awards Dinner which will take place on the evening of Tuesday, October 17, 2006, and Dr. House will be the keynote speaker for this grand event. The Awards Dinner will take place this year at the James E. Bruce Convention Center at 6:00 P.M. The theme for the Annual Awards Dinner focuses on how diversity is such a tremendous asset in a worldwide economy that is growing more interconnected. Mr. Henry Snorton, III is the Executive Director of the Minority Enterprise Development Initiative in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. According to organizers of this year’s event, about 700 people are expected to attend the Awards Dinner and the audience will consist of local professionals, business leaders, community leaders, legislators, and others who are interested in diversity issues, economic development and entrepreneurship.

Dr. House will also be a panelist at the Town Hall Meeting which focuses on Challenges Facing Women and Minority-Owned Businesses on Monday, October 16, 2006 from 5:30 P.M. -7:00 P.M. The moderator for the town hall meeting is Gae Broadwater who is the State Specialist for Community and Economic Development from Kentucky State University. Other activities for the week-long celebration include a series of panels on education, economic development and empowerment that are scheduled for Wednesday, October 18th and a Taste of Cultures on Thursday, October 19th, where individuals can enjoy dishes and entertainment from all of the cultural groups in Hopkinsville. A business expo is scheduled for Friday, October 21st.

A faith-based community and economic development seminar will take place on Sunday, October 22, 2006. If interested in attending the event, please call Henry Snorton, III or Virginia Bishop Gray (committee chair) at 270-839-3426 or 270-484-0470.

Benjamin Wattles, College Intern for the Entrepreneurial Academy , gets commendation for work performed

At a recent staff retreat, college student Benjamin Wattles was given an award for the tremendous work that he performed during his recent internship with the Entrepreneurial Academy in Cleveland, Ohio. He served as an intern for the months of August and September. During his internship period, Benjamin provided invaluable assistance to Dr. Bessie House, Mr. Floyd Borders, Mr. Jay Simmons, and every one at the Academy. He had the opportunity to sit in on staff meetings held at the academy where the strategic vision of the organization was discussed and he also participated in a number of strategizing sessions. He had the opportunity to sit in on both intensive and advanced entrepreneurial classes where he learned the types of skills that are necessary in order to be a successful entrepreneur in the 21st century economy. He helped James McQuiston to work on the Academy’s longitudinal data analysis and also helped to work on various other assignments.

Staff of the E-Academy learned of Benjamin’s interest in working with the center through his father, Dr. Jeffrey Wattles. Dr. Wattles is a Professor of Philosophy at Kent State University.

In the Dear Dr. House section of this newsletter, we have two poignant letters. The first was sent to us by Mr. Randy Dryden, a former Kent State University alum, while the second letter comes from Ms. Sonya Kyle, a participant in the business training classes being offered by the Entrepreneurial Academy.

Dr. House,

I wanted to introduce myself and say thank you for the great job you did in Detroit. First, I am the Director of Production for MBIA MuniServices Company and a graduate from the KSU Business School. As I was reading in the Alumni magazine about your program and especially what you were doing in the city of Cleveland, I thought you would be perfect for the Forum that we were putting together for the City of Detroit. I passed your information on to Marc and Beverly Burr and the rest is history. I was really glad you were able to participate in our program.

Since, I have had a number of people contact me, including people from the City of Detroit, just to tell me what a good job you did and how your style was perfect for that group. Marc provided the MMC management group with a summary of the Detroit meetings and he especially sung your praises. Thank you for making me look good. I hope sometime in the near future that I have an opportunity to meet you in person.

Randy Dryden
MBIA MuniServices Company

Dear Mr. Dryden:

Thank you so much for your lovely note. It really made my night! (smile) I always wondered how Mr. Herman found me and now you have explained it all. Thanks for recommending me for the forum. I really had a great time being the moderator in Detroit. It is truly a delight to find out that you are one of our outstanding KSU alumni. I will pass your note on to individuals in our KSU alumni office who wrote the article about me and the Entrepreneurial Academy for the Empowerment Zone that was featured in the Kent State Un iversity Alumni Magazine. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors. I hope to talk to you more in the future.

All the best,

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

Dear Dr House:

I am writing this letter to inform you as to why I have missed a few classes at the E-Academy. My health is not very good. I have a chronic disease that causes me to live in severe pain everyday. I am under a physicians care and have been for the last 25 years. I am also on several medications. Some of which cause me to relax or sleep to relieve very severe pain, in which case I would not be able to operate a vehicle or sit in class.

This class is very important to me because despite my illness, I claim victory over my life. It has been very difficult for me to participate, but life is full of difficulties that we have to deal with and overcome. You are a fine example to me of hard work and determination and I thank you for accepting me in your program. It has been challenging, educational, fun, and a true blessing.

I wish you well on your business endeavors, dreams, and all life has to offer you. You are a very knowledgable, strong, beautiful, courageous, and successful, Black woman, who is a fine example of hard work paying off. Once again, I thank you for this opportunity and be on the lookout for KYLESTYLE GREETINGS. I do know that dreams come true.

Sincerely Yours,

Sonya Kyle

Dear Ms. Kyle:

Thank you so much for your recent letter and your very kind remarks. I was very sorry to hear of your illness and am hopeful that with the efforts of modern medicine, we may yet find a cure for your health challenges. I was very encouraged to hear that in spite of your health misfortunes, you remain motivated and dedicated to completing your business training classes at the Entrepreneurial Academy. As you know, we have a very rigorous program and high standards for graduation status. I feel confident that you can do what it takes to successfully complete these requirements. Towards that end, I will now send a copy of your letter and my response to our office manager and secretary at the Entrepreneurial Academy. They will look into your file and tell you what things you need to do in order to successfully matriculate from our program. This will obviously, as a first step, mean that you will need to make up the classes that you have already missed. Please, call our office as soon as possible to set up an appointment to meet with the manager and the secretary to arrange for all of the things we deem necessary for graduation to be successfully completed. I look forward as well to meeting with you personally to take whatever personal steps that are necessary to ensure that you are given every possible opportunity to participate in our upcoming graduation ceremony which will be taking place in the near future.

In closing, let me simply say how very proud I am of you. In spite of the adverse circumstances in which you find yourself, you have chosen not to be defeated by it all, but to rather take the high road. You realize as the UNCF motto has so clearly enunciated through the years that a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend and I look forward to hearing about your progress over the next few weeks.

All the best,

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


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