Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurial Evolution’ Category

Choosing the Perfect Grad School: Part 1

In Author: David Cutler, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Music on November 10, 2009 at 12:00 am

Choices

The process of choosing the perfect graduate school can be both exhilarating and scary, as you consider the next phase of your life.  But many artists approach this challenge with a faulty set of assumptions, while failing to explore the most important question. 

Assumption #1: Grad school is non-negotiable

In many fields within the arts world, there is a notion that advanced degrees are requisite.   It’s not even a debate.  That’s just what we do.  Master’s Degree, then Artist Diploma, and then in many cases, the Doctorate. 

Now, I’m not one to prescribe one path over another. If you decide to pursue advanced degrees, I wish you the best.  But before signing up, ask yourself why.  What’s your true motivation?

One student justified her rationale this way: She read a study showing that people with advanced degrees earned more than those with just an undergrad education.  However, while these statistics may be true as sweeping generalizations, we need to dig further. Do alumni from medical schools, law schools, and MBA programs tend to earn more than those with just undergrad instruction?  Definitely.  Can the same case be made for artists?  Probably not.  In fact, many artists with multiple advanced degrees can’t even land a job.  (Maybe it’s time to become a bit savvier…)

Others claim that advanced training is essential in order to have more time to improve their artistic skills.  Fair enough.  Arts school is a great place to do this.  But when you’re a better practicioner, in two or four or ten years, with all kinds of diplomas on your wall, then what?  Will these outstanding skills entitle you to professional success?  And if improved technique is your solitary goal, why not just take private lessons?

In my experience, here’s the number one reason arts students go to grad school: to postpone the inevitable.  To buy a few more years before they have to earn a living, start paying back student loans, and grapple with “grown-up” issues.  Music school may be challenging, but at least it’s familiar and safe.

There are all kinds of paths to a successful life, and not all require advanced degrees.  Be honest with yourself.  If your primary motivator for attending grad school is that you don’t know what else to do, and you’re too scared of the real world, seriously consider taking some time off.  Use that occasion to determine what you truly want from life, and architect a solid plan for getting there.

There are many wonderful reasons for enrolling in graduate programs in the arts.  Denial is not one of them.

Assumption #2: Only the people who go to the “best” schools will succeed

In the past, the very act of listing a famous school on your resume could open doors.  “Wow, she went to [Juilliard, Eastman, Yale, Indiana University, other prestigious school]!  She must be good!” 

But times and attitudes have changed.  Most people now realize that a wide variety of institutions are capable of providing quality educations, which is absolutely true.  They also understand that even the most famous schools have produced duds and incompetents. 

So instead of focusing solely on the “where,” employers and other opportunity providers are more interested in the kinds of experiences you’ve had.  Did you study abroad?  Tour?  Win the concerto competition? Make recordings?  Initiate an art exhibit? Intern with the ballet? Found a service organization?

Of course, you should still choose a great school.  But different environments are good for different things.  Make sure you know why the school you choose is outstanding, and take full advantage of it.  The best opportunities often lie beyond the obvious choices. 

Assumption #3: The most important aspect when choosing a grad school is your private instructor

Working closely with a strong and revered private mentor can be a wonderful process.  But (if you’re doing things right) many more aspects contribute to your educational success beyond private lessons.  These additional factors should be considered as well, and weighed heavily in your decision.

One of my music students is currently applying to doctoral schools.  As we discussed options, he kept focusing on the teachers at various institutions, as if that were the primary consideration.  But here’s the deal…He is already an astounding player.  There’s no gig in the world where observers would reflect, “You know, this guy just isn’t good enough.” 

But there are many other skills and experiences he desperately needs, and shortcomings that should be addressed: recording, touring, marketing, booking gigs, etc.  He doesn’t yet have a website, hasn’t commissioned much, and still needs to figure out his brand and what makes him different from the competition.  In my view, while a good private teacher would be nice for this student, it should be a pretty low priority item. 

Even if you still have to get your artistic chops together (as most of us do), many additional factors beyond the private teacher should be considered when researching graduate programs.

In Part 2 of this series, I will unveil the most important question to ask when looking at grad schools.

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Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, info on the most relevant music career book in print, and more.

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Happy 3rd Birthday ETA! How far we have come, and our journey has just begun.

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution on November 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm

fireworks3 Back on November 1st, 2006, I launched ETA. It is hard to believe I have been blogging now for three years!

Shall we celebrate with a virtual party? Take a sip of something bubbly, steaming or thirst quenching and lets flip through some memories together. And as for the cake, you can have the first piece.

Here is a link to my very first post, Hello World! (I launched ETA on my father’s birthday, Nov 1st, in honor of his memory and entrepreneurial journey throughout his life.)

Here is my post from our first birthday party….

dreamstime_5860601

Our second birthday was celebrated with the launch of The ETA competition with our first entry, Brian Owens. Although Eli Epstein was our first contest winner, this marked the beginning of a number of fine entries to the competition. We still hope for more of you to enter before the 2nd, and final competition, ends on December 31st, 2009.

I am so happy that ETA is finally three- there is a reason for the expression ” the terrible two’s.” The development of a child and a venture have a similar road map. The first two years of life are about survival, rapid growth and evolution, experimentation and a lot of “Ah-Ha” moments! These are important developmental years and the lessons we learn and “roots” we plant tend to greatly shape our future.

Thanks for reminiscing with me a bit.

I hope to share the first few birthdays of your (ad)venture with you. That is why I am launching The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™– for your ideas to be supported, nurtured and developed to come to life too!

IAE logoIn celebration of our 3rd birthday, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ website will launch this week. Stay tuned.

Support a Worthy Artist’s Entrepreneurial Development
No Starving Artist 2010 We are now selling this button for $1.00 or whatever you feel comfortable donating. We are selling them to fundraise for scholarships for arts entrepreneurship training for a worthy artist to attend IAE.

bite_size_04Because all IEA students will partake in building their own Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™ to develop their own entrepreneurial imaginations and those in the community, I am asking you to make your donation to The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble support fund. Your donation is tax deductible. ETA and The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™ are both a 501c3. To buy one and make a donation click here.

Career Mentorship: The Lost Education

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music on October 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Most of the artists I know are highly educated.  Many have multiple degrees in their field of expertise.  Along the way, they typically work closely with several mentors who move them forward in their journey towards artistic excellence: private teachers, classroom instructors conductors, etc. Obviously this form of apprenticeship is quite valuable. 

But most never even consider adopting a career mentor.  Without doing this, is it really such a wonder that we have so many outstanding artists who are unprepared to thrive when it comes to professional demands? Imagine how helpful this practice would be! 

In a class I’m teaching to musicians at Duquesne University called “Career Perspectives,” my students are required to identify and cultivate relations with two career mentors.  If you hope to become a working artist, or already are one but desire increased success, I highly recommend you do this as well. (In fact, I’m a huge advocate of the mentorship process for just about everyone on every level.) As a starting point, seek one mentor in each of the following categories:

  • Artist mentor.  An artist who has achieved success in an aspect of the industry that is part of your career profile.  For example, if you hope to work as a freelancer, find someone who does this now.
  • Entrepreneurial mentor.  An entrepreneur in the old fashion sense—someone who has started and runs a business. Serial entrepreneurs (people who have begun many businesses) are even better.  The best candidates often have little or no knowledge about music, so conversations can focus on business and philosophical concerns.

When identifying potential mentors, keep the following 7 points in mind:

  1. Don’t be shy. You’re not asking for a job or money or their child’s hand in marriage here. Just guidance.  Most people love to talk about themselves, and will be flattered by your offer. And what’s the worst thing that can happen? They turn you down or don’t respond to your request?  No biggie…So just ask and see what happens.  
  2. Find mentors you don’t currently know. Working with people you haven’t previously met has several advantages.  It not only expands your network, but gives you experience approaching someone new with a request.  This is a valuable transferrable skill that all musicians need from time to time, whether approaching a potential donor, presenter, contractor, or other new contact.  
  3. Look beyond the rich and famous. Sure, if you can make a connection with Wynton Marsalis, Steven Spielberg, or Donald Trump, go for it. But the rich and famous may be too busy to handle your request.  And the issues they face may be less pertinent to your situation than those of a mid-level artist.
  4. Geographical issues. The obvious advantage of having a local mentor is that you can meet in person, perhaps over lunch (on your dime!).  There is no better way to solidify relationships than face to face encounters. But even if your mentor lives far away, it is possible to have personal encounters over the phone, through video chatting, or other forms of communication. 
  5. Mustn’t be your mirror image. Just because you play the violin doesn’t mean your best mentor has to be another fiddler.  In fact, perhaps finding a saxophonist (or even a dancer) would be more helpful. They may be able to shed a valuable and contrasting perspective.
  6. Supplement weaknesses.  The best mentor is someone who has skills that you don’t. If you want to raise money, but haven’t fundraised before, find someone who has. If marketing terrifies you, locate a promotional wizard. The purpose of having a mentor is to grow.
  7. The mentor boomerang. You’re just asking for advice, no? But picking the right mentor often opens doors down the road.

 

 

Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your musical career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, information about the most important music career book in print, and more.

5 Decisions

In Author: Lisa Canning, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Legal, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk on September 26, 2009 at 11:22 am

buffet-image.jpgJust got back from a wonderful clarinet-buying trip at Buffet-Crampon, the clarinet manufacturer I represent, who is in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an especially pleasant trip. My flights left and returned relatively on time, I was offered a convertible to drive as my rental car, and the B&B I always stay at, The Fig Tree Inn, offered me a new room – the nautical room- which I loved.

AND searching for great clarinets felt particularly easy this time. (I swear the French have good days and bad days drilling those damn holes in grenadilla wood. But this time, the great instruments fell one right after another all in a few serial number rows.)

dreamstime_6275191Anyway, while I was having all this fun, I had a thought that you might enjoy reading about 5 decisions I made this week. So here they are in no particular order:

Five. My ability to have insight into a situation, make a decision and take action quickly– usually a skill set that makes me money, saves me time and I trust to protect my entrepreneurial life, cost me. I was just about to close on a small condo in the city, that I intended to use periodically and also rent out occasionally to clients, when abruptly the mortgage company cancelled their mortgage commitment to me. I had made the mistake of advertising it online at Lisa’s Clarinet Shop that it would soon be available to customers passing through town. This particular mortgage company, as is the case now with so many of them, will not currently write any investment property mortgages. I did not think of this property as an investment property so it never dawned on me they would–my mistake. As a result, the seller became impatient and I lost the property.

Oh well. A bomb blew up in the mine field. It happens. ( It’s just in hindsight you feel pretty dumb. It’s that classically-trained-perfect-artist-syndrome inside of me- got to do it “perfectly” EVERY time. Though, neither my real estate broker or attorney thought to ask the question either… hmmm- they are suppose to be my trusted advisors who guide me to achieve what I am trying to accomplish. That is what I pay them for.)

Four. I made the decision of changing my new Not for Profit ensemble, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™, to a DBA (“doing business as”) designation, underneath the umbrella of Entrepreneur The Arts®. By doing so, I have turned ETA into a Not-For-Profit. Up until right now, ETA did not have a corporate identity. The reason I decided to do this is because truly the work of ETA is mission based. Changing the way WE ALL think about, and learn to create and act on, the imaginative potency of the arts as a catalyst for change- for us, inside corporations, universities and government too– just like President Obama is trying to do again by utilizing the creativity and artistry inside the NEA to communicate his agenda to the American people- this is a mission that is going to take a village and should be a NFP. (Oh, and if your not sure if you believe me google the equivalent of “The White House in bed with the NEA” and include a few words like propaganda, partisanship and socialism. Is this really what you want to see happen? Are we really going to lie down and just accept letting others lead us towards becoming an extinct breed? Does innovating your artistry matter to you? What if this is truly how you need to learn to leverage your artistry so you can experience change– and see how someone can change how they feel about themselves and the world because of what you do? )

Three. Likewise, I had an inactive LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) set up for the book I wrote. The one that Susan Schulman, (Richard Florida’s agent) agreed to represent on my behalf, Starving Artist Not! (That at Susan’s insistence became Build A Blue Bike) — but the book never sold–

And so this legal entity has been sitting idle.

So this week, I decided to remove the name Starving Artist Not! on the articles of incorporation document and sent a name change to the Secretary of State to replace it with The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™. Since The Institute of Arts Entrepreneurship™ is founded in the concepts of developing an artist into an artistic entrepreneur, the same founding principals in my book, it seemed to make sense. And of equal importance, since the school’s purpose is to help artists create artistic ventures, and not to act as angel investors, we will not, and cannot, assume liability for others actions or businesses.

Equally, this change in our legal status made good sense– we should be an LLC and limit our liability.

Two. I decided to hire, part-time, an actor, Shawn Bowers, who has this amazing gift for social media. After careful consideration I decided if social media was good enough as the primary PR engine for President Obama’s campaign to be elected as President, its plenty good enough to serve as the platform for my PR to promote ETA and IAE. Shawn wrote the press release titled “Chicago Arts Incubator at Flourish Studios” in two hours beautifully, didn’t he? On his first week on the job he set up a Facebook page, Twitter account and identified over 50 blogs and websites to send press to about ETA, Flourish Studios and The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™. He is off to an A+ start.

One. I managed to decide I would submit an mp3 of my recording of “Shiva” to the folks at UT- Austin who are in charge of organizing the The International Clarinet Association Conference for 2010. I asked to play and I think they might just let me– but I’m NOT advertising they are here. (That already cost me once. I hope the lesson is now learned.) Bless their hearts- really. They get SO MANY requests and everyone comes with their agenda’s jockeying for position– I hate to add one more to their load.. it seems always so political to me. Most of these conferences feature the same twenty-five GREAT artists year after year. No imagination required. Hope this one in Austin steps outside the ICA’s comfort zone a little bit and extends far into the great musical list of creative imaginative and freelancing less-well-known clarinetists.

Chicago Arts Incubator at Flourish Studios

In Author: Lisa Canning, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on September 19, 2009 at 3:44 am

StarvingArtist©2009Flourish Studios Opens New Incubator Program to Turn Local Artists Into Successful Entrepreneurs

Flourish Studios, in association with Entrepreneur the Arts®, to offer retail space and intensive marketing and selling training at no cost to Chicago artists. The Flourish Artisan Program aims to give creators of all disciplines the tools they need to make the “starving artist” a thing of the past.

Chicago, IL – September 17, 2009 – Flourish Studios, in association with Entrepreneur The Arts®, is proud to announce a unique new artist development program tasked with helping local artists of all disciplines become thriving entrepreneurs. The Flourish Artisan Program gives visual artists a home on the Flourish retail floor, as well as intensive sales and marketing training at no cost to help simultaneously achieve their highest creative and business potential.

Founded by Dr. Julia M. Rahn, Ph. D., Flourish Studios is a multi-faceted learning gallery and retail space in the heart of Lakeview focused on building life skills to live our very best life. As a Clinical Psychologist with more than ten years experience helping people meet their individual goals, Dr. Julia created Flourish to be a relaxed oasis in an otherwise chaotic world, where clients can learn to create positive change at their own pace using the methods they find most inviting.

“It only made sense that Flourish would be the perfect home to launch this vital new program that aims to cultivate a new era of entrepreneurship and personal change in the Chicago arts community,” Dr. Julia said. “We believe that life is an ongoing creative project, and we’re looking forward to giving more people the means to find success through mindful self-expression.”

Accepted artists will be given space on the thriving Flourish retail floor to sell their work at a 50/50 profit split. To aid their new venture, artists will also receive a free marketing and business course with Entrepreneur the Arts® founder Lisa Canning on the intricacies of creating, branding and selling a viable product in today’s marketplace. There is no cost to the program, though creators will be expected to work 5 unpaid hours weekly in the Flourish retail space, to develop sales experience and market recognition for their emerging brands.

Upon completion of the Flourish Artisan Program, participants will get the chance to extend their relationship with Flourish via a low rent model of $100 and up for truly high end floor space for their product. This allows artisans to continue developing their independent business and credibility with the rare benefit of having a brick and mortar retail home.

To host this one-of-a-kind program, Flourish and Dr. Julia turned to Entrepreneur the Arts® founder Lisa Canning, an accomplished entrepreneur, artist and educator whose resume speaks for itself. Over the last twenty five years, Canning has created not one, but six multi-million dollar ventures, ranging from real estate property management to a musical mail-order and rental business. Her current venture, Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, now requires only 20 hours a week to produce a six-figure income. As a renowned clarinetist, Canning also understands the unique challenges that face artists in their respective communities. With her next wave of ventures, Canning has turned her attention to sharing that experience with artists-on-the-rise. The first of these, Entrepreneur The Arts®, is an innovative training resource for artists, corporations, universities and governments that can be found on-line at http://www.EntrepreneurTheArts.com.

“I hold a passionate belief that the ‘starving artist,’ need no longer exist,” Canning said. “It’s an antiquated concept. In fact, artists are in the perfect position to prosper. The personal discipline and integrity that the arts foster give creators an automatic head start on the skills necessary to create a viable independent business. My goal is simply to show them how to wield those powers for the greatest good and, hopefully, the greatest profit.”

The Flourish Artisan Program is the first in a series of outreach initiatives designed to spread Canning’s bold battle cry for creators to Entrepreneur the Arts®. It’s not just a name, it’s a call to arms for those millions of starving artists to change the way they create, promote and sell so that they need starve no longer. The partnership between Lisa Canning and Dr. Julia Rahn will culminate in the Fall 2010 launch of the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ at Flourish Studios. This fully accredited two-year training program is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. Canning developed the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ to fill a void left by most liberal arts academies, which emphasize the creative work without addressing the realistic concerns of turning that work into a sustainable lifestyle.

The Flourish Artisan Program starts it’s first wave of classes on October 5, 2009. Artists are encouraged to contact Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com or call 847-774-2938 for more information on how to apply. For more information on Flourish Studios and their full calendar of programs, visit them on the web at http://www.ICanFlourish.com.

Contact:
Lisa Canning, founder
Entrepreneur the Arts®
847-774-2938
http://www.EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Meet me in the land mine field…

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone on September 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

dreamstime_3947474Are you ready to learn how to dance your way through a land mine field for your best entrepreneurial idea? Or perhaps you need a better one to be willing to try….

Remember my friends from my post An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic? Well, they seem to have fox trotted right past more than a few explosives. They have managed to find new space at a price they can finally afford, allowing their business to survive, but not with the landlord I referred to in the post. Of course many weeks of negotiation and uncertainty had to pass to bring them to this point.. and I am sure a few sleepless nights as well wondering if they would get through this…

Remember those 200 film editors I told you about in my post 200 Resumes, $1200.00 dollars? Well, I have received a total of 373 resumes from out-of- work or under employed freelance film editors wondering how they too can get through this period of time and make the bucks they need to survive.

Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart. You need an original idea or a new twist on an old one to stand out from the crowd in your field. This alone can seems difficult to find, as evident by 373 film editors in Chicago alone- and counting- looking for work.

And yet having entrepreneurial vision does NOT mean your entrepreneurial idea will work smoothly, quickly or be easy to scale, let alone survive, no matter how good and valuable it is– as my entrepreneurial friends from the first post I mentioned demonstrate.

Having vision ONLY means you see a unique path that you feel will have value to others and are inspired to try and turn into reality. The REAL HEAVY lifting comes from actually beginning to navigate your way THROUGH the obstacle filled field in front of you to turn your vision into a valuable resource for others and, as such, an income producing path. (Let the rumba begin!)

So, how long does it take to do this? And how difficult is it, really? ( Funny you should ask. It seems I have been in need of reminding myself of the answer to this very same question lately.)

It all depends on:

How much time you spend daily focusing on what you uniquely have to deliver and who will want it.

Your sense of urgency to generate income.

Your willingness to actively interact and learn from every interaction with potential customers until you identify how to explain and deliver your goods or services to your audience and profit.

Your willingness to fail with skill and grace, but openly and publicly, until you get it right.

Having a source of income to be able to keep at it until things click in place.

Your willingness to accept that a good idea is not enough… you need self confidence, tenacity and to figure out exactly how to market the hell out of your ideas without running out of cash until they resonate with others.

None of these skills, in my opinion, are any harder than learning how to excel at your artistry. They just are riddled with different problems, new challenges and a few explosives. What in life isn’t….

An Essential Question When Applying to Arts School

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Music on September 12, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Not all arts schools are the same.  Where you study will have a huge impact on the kind of artist you become, skill sets you develop, and network you cultivate.  In order to make a wise decision, many important questions should be posed during the application process.  Who will be my primary teacher? How rigorous is the curriculum?  Which courses are required? What kinds of experiences are offered? How much scholarship money is available?  What’s the town like? 

But if you’re serious about the prospect of becoming a working artist (as opposed to a really accomplished hobbiest), here’s an essential inquiry: What kind of career training do you offer? This is particularly critical for those with majors like music performance/composition, acting, painting, and dance, where few traditional full time jobs are available and competition is fierce. Insist on specific answers.

This week, I phoned over 100 of the top music schools in America and asked exactly that. Some were quick to illuminate the many wonderful things they were doing to better prepare students for professional life.  These conversations were exciting and inspirational. (For my next post, I’ll outline some innovative and forward thinking initiatives.)

But, to my great disappointment, many institutions do next to nothing.  In some cases, they didn’t even understand the question. With a little digging, it became apparent that little time had been spent pondering this issue. A couple of people commented “huh, that’s a great idea…” As if it never dawned on them that students—who are taking on enormous debt in exchange for educational guidance—would benefit by developing marketable skills during their college years.

Of course, few simply admitted “we don’t do careers here.” After fishing to find a suitable response, several explained that “each private teacher works on that in lessons.” Implying that this priority is so central to their mission that every student gets one-on-one career training. Sounds great!

But I know better. In an overwhelming majority of cases, this statement is simply false. Don’t just believe me. Ask any music school grad. With few exceptions, these conversations do not happen. Private lessons address performance excellence, developing “chops,” learning literature, and other wonderful things. That’s what they’re supposed to do. But few teachers devote significant time to marketing, developing a niche, building an audience, creating opportunities, personal finance, raising funds, branding, contracting, etc. Many applied teachers, though wonderful musicians, don’t even have a grasp of these issues.  And when career matters are mentioned (by good luck as opposed to design), discussions are typically limited to 1-2 lessons out of four years of study. 

Of course, budgets are tight.  I’m sure every school would love to expand in a thousand directions if they had unlimited resources. But they don’t. So universities hire only the faculty they can afford, focusing on topics they value.

Every music school offers applied lessons. This means they want students to become better players. All curricula require multiple semesters of music theory and history, demonstrating a commitment to creating well rounded musicians.  Feel free to draw analogies to your own field of study. The implications are clear.

If a school truly prioritizes preparing viable professionals, in addition to outstanding artists, doesn’t it seem logical that they would hire at least one employee to address this issue? Yet many don’t offer even a single-credit elective course, let alone mandatory training for all.

I do not wish to endorse or discount any arts school in this blog. They are all made up of good people, and it is my sincere hope that within the next decade, every program will prioritize the all important subject of careers. Those that don’t simply won’t be able to attract students.  But we’re not there yet. Far from it.

If you’re a prospective student hopeful to make a living through your art, be sure to choose a school that values career development. And if you’re a faculty member concerned about the future success of your students, but your school fails to deliver adequately, consider broaching the topic with your colleagues and administration.

I look forward to the day when every music school insists that career training is just as important as augmented 6th chords, the three stylistic periods of Beethoven, and playing a perfect scale. I can’t wait until dance programs teach the choreographic stylings of Balanchine AND how to market a show, or painters are educated on water colors AND running a nonprofit. At that point, there will be one less question for prospectives to ask.  But we’re not there yet.  So do your homework…

 

Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, info on the most relevant music career book in print, and more.

Free Sales and Marketing Class- Chicago- Starts Oct 5th

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Marketing, Writing on September 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

Are you a visual artist? Do you paint? Knit clothing? Make greeting cards or jewelry? Would you like to turn your passion into profit but need help?

Flourish Studio’s located at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue, is accepting new products for their retail floor. Gain exposure and credibility for your artistry in this top notch retail and art gallery. All artists approved for Flourish’s Artisian Program will be eligible for a FREE 8 week sales and marketing class offered by Lisa Canning.

Topics will include: How to price your product, create your identity to the public, as well as develop selling and marketing techniques to build demand for your product profitably.

All artists accepted into the program require 5 hours weekly of unpaid retail floor time and a 50/50 revenue split. Classes start Monday October 5th at 7pm.

For more information email me at Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com or call 847.774.2938. This is a great opportunity to gain support for your ideas and begin your business in a first class location and neighborhood in Chicago.
Picture 6

What kind of artistic life in the future will you live?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness on September 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Lisa 2009What kind of artistic life in the future will you live? What does the rest of this year, 2010 and beyond hold for you? Can you describe it to me?

Do you see yourself becoming more involved in the creation of your artistry, do you see greater connectivity to others, what about the twisty- misty road called your creative journey finally occupying center stage?

Does your future artistic life need more time, more money, more training, more love, less self-loathing, more what… to achieve what it most needs?

I think every artist I have ever met has said, in one way or another that for them, their artistic life is about making a difference. But exactly how big of a difference were you thinking you will make and for whom? Will that difference be for you, for your immediate family, for your friends, your community, for the world?

What arts entrepreneurship training offers- that NOTHING ELSE IN LIFE that I have discovered yet does- is a way to achieve, shape, re-shape, define, re-define, refine and live the artistic life you have always wanted to live– exactly as you see it from moment to moment, day to day, week to week and year after year.

Albeit, just like most things in life, enjoying the journey to your destination is the most important part of the ride, but entrepreneurial training offers you a blank map to start and re-start until you create the perfect road to be able to. A road that feels and looks exactly right for you to take- one that you will find infectiously helps you learn how to truly enjoy looking out your window as you tavel along your way.

The trick is.. how many roads are you willing to try and create? If you keep designing, unknowingly, roads that turn out to be dead ends how much gas, time and energy are you willing to sacrifice, with an open-mind, before you simply become another believer that an artists life is a dream, a hobby or nothing more than a disjunct, disconnected, endless string of failed attempts and not a life?

How many years will it take before you start telling yourself, and then your family and friends in so many words, ” I cannot indulge myself with this expensive addiction any longer. Who am I kidding- it needs to be controlled and limited..”

When we passionately decided we love the arts, it can happen at any age, and we naively declare our hearts intentions to our family and friends- in those following moments, days, weeks and years after, how often do we give thought to exactly how to protect our love– let alone build an artistic life that still makes our knees buckle, our hearts pound and makes us coo “After all these years I am still madly in love with you. You give me everything in life I need. If it were not for you, where would my life be?”

(Pause)

It is almost hard for me to write another word following that thought. It gives me a big lump in my throat as I let those words sit with me.

It’s an understatement for me to say that I really hope you feel this way and always do.

And yet, if I had not thought long ago carefully about what kind of artistic life I wanted to live and then developed my entrepreneurial skills as a vehicle to achieve it, I am not sure where I would be today.

I love the view from my window. How about you?

Create Your Niche.

In Author: Jim Hart, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 22, 2009 at 1:20 am

Create Your Niche.

Our American culture worships celebrities and many young artists have celebrity as their primary goal, in way of career aspirations.

This commercial path is a valid path, but achieving sustainable success via this path, is like winning the lottery. People do win the lottery, but very few do and even fewer win an amount of any sizable worth.

One would be considered foolish if they put the majority of their earnings into lottery tickets, in the hope of getting rich. Why do so many artists do the same with their careers and energies? Many, I would argue, do not realize what potential exists, in way of career opportunities and how many ways there are of making sustainable income. In playing the celebrity lottery, a huge amount of artists get stuck in having to have survival jobs—like waiting tables, temping, cleaning apartments, etc. As we only have so much energy and time in the course of a day, these artists lose valuable energy and resources, as they are tied up in paths that have nothing to do with being a creative artist.

The problem lies in part with our culture (and its insatiable hunger for all things shiny) and in part with our educational institutions. Many of our schools are selling celebrity potential in their marketing. In the case of theatre, just open any copy of American Theatre Magazine and look at the school advertisements. There, you will see many schools, projecting a message that “we produce stars too”, regardless of how few stars the school has actually produced over the years and regardless of how the extreme majority of graduates never reach such status.

When artists are putting the bulk of their creative energies towards becoming famous or becoming a celebrity, their primary focus is on themselves. The audience they are serving is that of one. Who benefits? If the artist is working, they do and if the work they do is good, the audience or view does. If not, no person benefits from his or her energies.

If one has a principle focus of serving others and one’s audience is their community and its needs, then the community benefits from the artists’ energies (regardless of whether or not the artist achieves their goals, as they are in the act of “fighting the good fight”) and in serving the communities’ needs, the artist increases their chances of making a livable wage. Why? Because the artist is responding to a need and when one works towards filling a need, one increases their chances of making a living.

My goal as an educator is to do just that–to increase artists’ chances of making a living, to give students a competitive advantage. Entrepreneurial Arts Training, such as is offered via The Hart Technique and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, both do this.

The best way to increase one’s chances of making a living is to perceive gaps in community cultural offerings and to work to fill those. In filling those gaps, one has the potential to create a niche. In creating a niche for oneself, one dramatically increases their chances of making a living and of achieving a sustainable creative income.

James Hart is the founder of The Hart Technique and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts (a new professional conservatory with a primary focus of Entrepreneurial Arts Training).

www.harttechnique.com

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Batteries Included

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

horse
bug
viagra

While there are lots of ways to feel like your batteries are super charged in life, I think the only one that really works is following your heart.

Unlike your camera, computer, watch, or the clock you own that needs batteries to run, you are self-empowered and come with a life long battery included.

You see your heart never needs a new battery to super charge your life. Nor does it need the thrill of riding on a mechanical horse, or zooming around on the wings of a battery powered bug, or the jolt of a pill to get your juices flowing.

If you think you need any of those things to jump-start your life, your taking your one ever-lasting battery for granted. Don’t do that. It won’t stay super charged anyway for very long if you do, unless you give it the energy it really needs by fueling your life with passion.

Yeah, I know. We have talked about this a few times before: passionate pursuits are never easy. It sounds great to pursuit what you love, doesn’t it, until you find yourself riddled with moments that don’t seem passionate at all- times when you simply are grateful you do come with a battery included so you can just keep on running.

Sure we all have moments like these on the road to our adventure. But keep your eye on your vision, pursue your passions, sleigh your dragons anyway, beat back the bushes with your home made machete, and be the first to walk where only your dream can see.

After all, this is why you do come with batteries included…

ETA Competition Deadline Extended

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Ok, So we have extended the deadline for the ETA Competition to December 31st, 2009, Midnight.
dreamstime_7127831
BUT WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????

There is now almost 1000 of you reading this blog daily and only ONE of you, so far, is brave enough to share what is in your heart? Don’t you want FREE help and national exposure to bring your ideas to life?

We want YOUR entry to be the winning one but we can’t give you the prize unless you enter. So WHERE ARE YOU??

eta-logo-revised
What’s your E.T.A. to join our tribe?

Learn more about the competition

Read Eli Epstein’s winning entry from Round I

Read all of the entries from Round I

Write your Entry! Hurry up! It’s ONLY 1000 words or less. Have a little faith in yourself and share your ideas with us.

Rodney Hatfield, Artist- His Story

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 20, 2009 at 3:05 am

"The Girl from Someplace Else"
I love Rodney Hatfield. I bought one of his paintings when I was in Santa Fe this past spring at my favorite gallery- Selby Fleetwood. His work, The Girl From Someplace Else, hangs over my desk and I just love her binocular view. She is my entrepreneurial gal- always looking for opportunity through the multi- lenses she sees through…

Here is a link to a video about Rodney’s story. Check it out. You’ll like it.

Want to Become a Teaching Artist? Here is your chance!

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 19, 2009 at 12:09 am

15Community~Word Project is currently accepting applications for our 2009-10 Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP). This is our 10th year of offering this comprehensive professional development and internship opportunity to teaching artists of all art forms and experience levels. We offer three levels of training, an Advanced Level for artists who have been teaching their art form for at least two years, a New and Beginning Level for artists and MFA students that are newer to the field, and an Undergraduate Level for artists who are currently enrolled in an undergrad program.

The applications are due September 21st, so there’s still plenty of time to apply. Please visit our website for an overview of the program or to download the applications:

CWP’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program

Please feel free to forward this information out to any interested parties.

Community~Word Project’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP) for the 2009-20010 School Year
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Would you like to have the opportunity to:

~ gain the skills to be paid to teach your art form to students in public school settings?

~ learn how to transform your creative practice into teaching tools to integrate the arts into the public school curriculum?

~ experience first-hand how the arts can be integrated into public school classrooms through our internship program?

~ join a community of artists that are interested in using their creative skills to reach out to underserved youth in NYC public schools?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We are pleased to announce the 10th year of TATIP, which offers practicing artists and MFA students the opportunity to transform their creative process into teaching tools to integrate the arts into the public school curriculum. Through this program, participants gain skills that enable them to reach out to underserved youth while gaining experience in NYC classrooms.

This training gives participants the opportunity to identify and explore their own creative and thinking processes and then to transform these processes into effective teaching tools. These tools become the foundation from which one can build and implement a meaningful curriculum. Throughout the training, participants will gain real-life classroom experience through our internship program as they assist experienced Community~Word Project teaching artists.

*PLEASE NOTE: There is a $75.00 tuition contribution fee payable upon acceptance to the program. Scholarships will be available; details and procedure for requesting scholarships will be forthcoming with notice of acceptance.

Application Deadline: Monday September 21, 2009 10:00am

The application is due September 21, 2009 and can be downloaded directly from our website.
Early applications are encouraged. Applications must be received in full by the deadline in order to be considered. Late or incomplete materials will not be accepted.

There are three levels of training offered; one for beginning and new teaching artists, one for advanced teaching artists that have at least two years experience working with underserved youth in the public school environment, and also an undergraduate level for individuals currently enrolled in an undergrad program. Applicants will be notified of acceptance before September 25. Please view the “Frequently Asked Questions About TATIP” document on our website for more information, or contact us with any questions about the applications or TATIP.

Program Breakdown

New and Beginning Level
~ The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (Beginning and New Level) begins in October 2009 and goes through June 2010. It begins with a mandatory five-day institute (five Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 7, December 5 and December 12 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm) that will focus on transforming your creative process into educational tools, developing innovative teaching methods, discovering how to integrate arts learning into public school curricula, exploring classroom management skills and developing arts-based exercises for elementary, middle and high school public school students. The institute is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ The institute is followed by five mandatory monthly two-hour evening seminars (January-June, dates TBA) that focus on reflecting on your experiences and development as a teaching artist, and further preparing for the classroom.

~ Throughout the Training and Internship Program you will gain hands-on teaching experience by joining Community~Word teaching artists in classroom residencies. From November to May, trainees commit to observing and assisting in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of eighteen weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians who are enrolled in an MFA program AND/OR are practicing professional artists.

Advanced Level

We also offer an Advanced program for experienced teaching artists. To be considered for the Advanced Training you must have at least two years experience as a Teaching Artist (teaching your art form) with underserved youth.

~ The Advanced Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program takes place between October 2009 and May 2010. It begins with a mandatory three-day institute (three Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 14 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm). The institute is a condensed version of the five seminars of the New and Beginning Level program and is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ From November to May, trainees commit to observing in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of three weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians who are enrolled in an MFA program AND/OR are practicing professional artists.

Undergraduate Level
To be considered for this level, you must currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program. The $75 tuition contribution fee is waived for all individuals accepted to the undergraduate program.

~ The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (Undergraduate Level) begins in October 2009 and goes through June 2010. It begins with a mandatory five-day institute (five Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 7, December 5 and December 12 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm) that will focus on transforming your creative process into educational tools, developing innovative teaching methods, discovering how to integrate arts learning into public school curricula, exploring classroom management skills and developing arts-based exercises for elementary, middle and high school public school students. The institute is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ The institute is followed by five mandatory monthly two-hour evening seminars (January-June, dates TBA) that focus on reflecting on your experiences and development as a teaching artist, and further preparing for the classroom. Undergraduate trainees must attend a minimum of two out of the five meetings.

~ Throughout the Training and Internship Program you will gain hands-on teaching experience by joining Community~Word teaching artists in classroom residencies. From November to May, trainees commit to observing and assisting in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of twelve weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to undergraduate students that are actively practicing as creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians.

Please visit our website for more information or to download the applications

For more information please contact Keith Kaminski, Program Director at
(212) 962 3820 ext. 2 or by email at kkaminski@communitywordproject.org

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

Social Entrepreneurs Learn How to Grow Their Business

In Author: Lisa Canning, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

This press release came across The Business Wire on July 31, 2009. This conference, held at Santa Clara University, seems like something artists should apply for next year. Good stuff happening at Santa Clara!

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society will soon kick off a two-week program as part of its Global Social Benefit Incubator, in which venture capitalists and technology executives trade ideas with social entrepreneurs from around the world.

These innovators and entrepreneurs will descend on Silicon Valley August 16-28 for an intensive, two-week residential “boot camp” intended to boost their socially conscious business ventures into the realm of sustainability.

The goal: Create a plan to assist nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to expand their work using Silicon Valley business models.

But what does a Silicon Valley venture capitalist like Jeff Miller from Redpoint Ventures or Brad Mattson, founder of Mattson Technology, have in common with a Guatemalan company helping slum dwellers raise worms for fertilizer?

More than you’d think, said longtime entrepreneur Bob Dench, the lead mentor for the program. “We share a common interest in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, whether it’s a drip irrigation project in India or a software business in Silicon Valley,” he said.

“Even the most experienced Silicon Valley executives are not necessarily prepared for the unique challenges of being an entrepreneur in developing countries,” added Mattson. “These entrepreneurs usually have promising social businesses, but they need help finding a business model that is sustainable, scaling their business, and presenting a fundable business plan. That’s where we might help.”

Attendees hail from all over the globe, and typically serve their home country’s poorest residents, known as the “Base of the Pyramid.”

For example:

Byoearth of Guatemala, which helps slum dwellers get into the business of selling worm byproducts as fertilizer.
Husk Power Systems from India, an award-winning company that turns discarded rice husks into affordable power for millions.
Grass Roots Action for Social Participation of India, which utilizes “carbon credits” (fees from “polluting” companies in developed countries) to manufacture affordable, ecologically friendly wood stoves for the rural poor.
This is the seventh year of SCU’s program, which received more than 350 applications through SocialEdge.org — triple last year’s total.

Since the beginning of the year, the 16 selected entrepreneurs have also been getting coaching from afar from their Silicon Valley mentors. Now, they are coming to SCU’s campus for a two-week “boot camp” of back-to-back classes, lectures, business-plan honing, and cross-pollination with other entrepreneurs.

The program culminates in a business plan presentation August 27, which is open to the public by RSVP.

“Our class and our curriculum for GSBI 2009 really address the new realities of social entrepreneurship,” said Director Jim Koch, Bill and Jan Terry Professor of Management at SCU. “We have a course on how to manage distribution in countries lacking basic infrastructure, two speakers who fund social entrepreneurs describing investment criteria, and a significant new emphasis on issues related to operational excellence and execution.”

Members of this year’s class are focused in four general areas: livelihoods and economic development; the environment and affordable energy; health and education; and information and communications technology.

Businesses that have graduated from the GSBI program have gone on to collectively serve or benefit millions of people.

Alumni include the micro-lending website Kiva.org, African solar-radio maker Freeplay Foundation, and reading-glasses provider Vision Spring. GSBI leaders estimate that they have a 40 percent success rate among alumni.

About the Global Social Benefit Incubator GSBI™

The signature program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society and cosponsored by the Leavey School of Business, GSBI was founded in 2003 by SCU Management Professors Jim Koch and Al Bruno, and entrepreneur Patrick Guerra. The trio saw a need to “incubate” promising businesses that were trying to address vital social needs of their home countries. The program now attracts hundreds of applicants from more than 25 countries every year.

GSBI™ is funded in part by grants from the Skoll Foundation, the Palo Alto-based supporter of global social entrepreneurs created by eBay’s founding president Jeff Skoll; 1999 RNN Foundation; and the Palo Alto-based Peery Foundation, a family foundation established to empower youth, reduce poverty and encourage social entrepreneurship in the Bay Area and around the world. For more information, see http://www.scu.edu/sts/gsbi/.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see http://www.scu.edu

Serendipity’s Role in Entrepreneurial Development

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness, Marketing, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, WEBSITES & BLOGS on June 23, 2009 at 6:46 am

In the last three months I have been working with a new client-Dr. Julia Rahn, the owner of Flourish Studios www.ICanFlourish.com.

Flourish is a self and family development center located at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue here in Chicago. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Julia’s experience lead her to combining art, retail, individual therapy and support groups in one glorious space. While Flourish has many ways it can contribute to helping change lives, its initial offerings to the public are in the areas of parenting, self development and wellness with the sole mission of creating positive change in the lives of all who come in contact with Flourish Studios.

The mission of Flourish Studios is fabulous. Julia’s vision to help others Live. Learn. Love. could not be any stronger. Yet 14 months into her venture her vision had begun to get fuzzy as to where she was headed. Getting any business started, let alone one in the beginning of hard economic times, often can lead you away from your core mission- your “tag line”- the reason you started doing what you are doing and for whom.

This happens because reaching your target market always takes longer than we think and at some point it is easy to begin to take “whatever we can get” instead of holding true to our vision to find who we really need to serve. While Julia had done a better job than most, as evident by the fact that her business was surviving through such rough times, her business seemed to be lethargic and not doing as well as she expected.

Coincidentally, at about the same time Julia was coming to realize this fact, Arianne Votasmeets entered the Entrepreneur The Arts Round I competition. Arianne’s art work was currently being hung in the gallery of Flourish Studio’s when she entered. After reading her entry and learning about Flourish I went to see her exhibit and meet Dr. Julia.

Within the hour I spent at Flourish Studios, Dr. Julia and I hit it off so well she asked me, more or less on the spot, if I would consider working with her and her staff to refocus their efforts and realign her vision to help her business continue to grow through this tough economy. How could I resist such a wonderful opportunity. And so my work with Flourish Studios began.

For the past three months I have been going to Flourish at least once a week and working individually with Dr. Julia and her three full time employees. Each one of her staff needed focus and clarity as to how to better do their jobs selling and marketing the service Flourish offers. In the time I have been there we have shifted the focus of Flourish to hosting ONLY events that fulfill their mission to Live, Learn and Love, Increased Vendor participation in their mission by asking vendors to sponsor workshops for their buyers, retail stores or do training at Flourish, developed group programming in the initial three areas of Focus for Flourish of parenting, self development and wellness, and provided more time, structure and support for employees and Julia to devote to cultivating relationships to continue to find the target market they need to provide their wonderful services to.

Not only has our work together already significantly improved Flourish’s bottom line, but the staff and Julia are feeling more at ease, clearer about their roles and feeling more optimistic about their future. While I recognize the role I am playing to help Flourish Studios to “flourish”, none of the help I have offered would have made any difference at all if they were not willing and eager to act on what I am teaching them.

The joy in teaching entrepreneurs about sales and marketing, for me, is watching a world of possibility open to them when they act on what I am teaching them to do. Truthfully, I am not sure that a single one of Julia’s staff, at first, really believed the behavioral changes I was asking each of them to make in the way the communicated to clients would work. But they tried it anyway and agreed to being open minded and to continuing to do, consistently, the work I asked of them.

It is only now- three months later- that they are becoming believers in their own individual abilities to develop as entrepreneurs for Flourish Studios. When we learn how to express our care and nurturing to others through the services and products we believe in, we too, can begin to flourish, just like Flourish Studios.

And lastly, you never know, when you become an entrepreneur, who will cross your path that can change the course of your venture in positive ways. Thanks to the ETA competition Heartbeat of America and I created, Arianne Votasmeets desire to try her hand as a new artist and Dr. Julia Rahn’s passion to help others flourish, something amazing happened when our paths collided.

What amazing opportunities will your entrepreneurial efforts create? How will you flourish?

In a Word

In Author: John Cimino, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on June 2, 2009 at 6:34 am

The word is “consilience”, until recently, a rare word recovered for us by biologist, Edward O. Wilson. Literally, a “jumping together” of knowledge across disciplines, consilience is all about “connectivity” and the weaving together of ideas from different domains of knowledge to reveal deeper, common groundworks of explanation.
Our minds delight in consilience, notwithstanding the serious fragmentation of knowledge bequeathed to us by 20th and 21st century specialization.

Consilience, in turn, delights in inductive thinking, thinking which brings us from the specific and readily apparent to that which is more general, more pervasive, but perhaps hidden. Above all, consilience loves metaphors. Metaphors, the unifying insights! They connect – the color of my love’s eyes to the silver blue sea, or Juliet’s radiance to that of the sun. And that connection pleases us precisely because the field of meaning around “my love’s eyes” or “Juliet” has been expanded or positioned with distinction within the larger fabric of all that we know, all that we care about.

Our “big picture” has also been bumped up in coherence, the zillion bits of information rolling around in our head suddenly feel like they fit together more appropriately. That’s a good feeling. That’s consilience, at least, in miniature. Multiply the effect across the depth and breadth of the disciplines of knowledge and the myriad tones of experience and we see consilience as Wilson would have us see it, writ large: the goal of a true liberal arts education.

Knowledge fit together in a broad connected landscape. If only educators and leaders today could glance up from their bottom lines and lowest common denominators to see this writing on the wall. The “jumping together” of knowledge across disciplines (interdisciplinary thinking, learning and research) is thinking and learning at its basic best — and most joyful.

It’s time we invest our time and resources more wholeheartedly in this joyful activity. As I see it, consilience is the high ground in education, creative thinking and entrepreneurship. No doubt, it will require many brave, creative leaps from us all — and we will have to make many of these “leaps” against the prevailing currents of specialization.

Are you ready to leap? Are you ready for consilience? Start flexing those muscles. What price learning?