Program nurtures American Indian entrepreneurs
A group of seven ASU students had the opportunity to meet with coaches and a panel of American Indian business owners to learn basic principles of entrepreneurship and discuss the challenges of creating a company – especially in tribal country.
The experience was part of the “Four Directions: American Indian Student Entrepreneurship” workshop, a two-day program held by ASU’s American Indian Studies program, American Indian Policy Institute, School of Sustainability and ASU Technopolis.
The workshop is a new initiative under the Pathways to Entrepreneurship Grant (PEG) program that is supported by the Kauffman Foundation.
The PEG program awarded a grant for the Four Directions program to a team of eight ASU faculty and staff from two separate units. The team has four members from the Office of the Vice President of Research and Economic Affairs: director Terree Wasley, entrepreneurial coach Dan O’Neill, entrepreneurial services specialist Karen Katzorke and program coordinator Jennifer Coombs. The other four members are part of the American Indian Policy and Leadership Development Center, which includes director Patricia Mariella, co-executive directors Eddie F. Brown and Kevin Gover, and center coordinator Cyndee Coin.
Gover recently left the American Indian Policy and Leadership Development Center to take a post as the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
The PEG program aims to increase university involvement in entrepreneurship, education and research. Grant recipients must demonstrate successful programs that engage faculty, staff and students from across the university or the community in entrepreneurship courses, programs or research.
As part of the Four Directions workshop, American Indian students learned about the key competencies of successful entrepreneurs, issues of sustainability in business and production, management and how to pitch an idea for venture capital.
“Our intention with this workshop is to facilitate the matching of a tribe’s needs with the university’s resources,” says Karen Jarrat-Snider, a senior research analyst for the American Indian Policy Institute. “The highlight of the event was giving students the opportunity to pitch their idea for five minutes to entrepreneurs and get immediate feedback.”
The project is one of several initiatives launched by the PEG program. To date, nine faculty-staff teams have received $256,014 in seed funding to take their ideas to the next level.
Another example of how ASU has nourished creative entrepreneurs is “Designing for Resilience,” a project funded last year by the PEG program.
Designing for Resilience places greater entrepreneurial approaches to the process of designing innovative health care products by expanding offerings at InnovationSpace. In particular, the project has been looking at ways to develop concepts and services that aid in the recovery of elders in their transition from a hospital to home.
The PEG grant was awarded to the faculty team of associate professor Prasad Boradkar in the Department of Industrial Design, professor Stuart Hall in the Department of Public Affairs and professor Alex Zautra in the Department of Psychology.
The PEG program is seeking proposals from teams of ASU faculty and staff members that have ideas on how to create a new or enhanced interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education or research program.
For more information, or to download a PEG application, visit the Web site www.asu.edu/ui/entrepreneurship/programs/peg.html. The deadline to submit a proposal is March 17.