Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Great Minds Think Together

By Hee-Kyoung Park

We’ve all heard about how “great minds think alike.” But as a new social enterprise competition at Gordon College is demonstrating, perhaps “great minds think together.”

The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) has set a stage for the great minds of Gordon College to come together with new ideas for business, non-profit or hybrid enterprises. Currently in its very first year, the CEL exists to provide a new kind of space for innovative thinking and world-shaping action at Gordon College. "The CEL is on a mission to animate deep convictions and to instigate impact in the hope that more Gordon students will dig deep, reach out and start something,” says CEL Director Dr. Carter Crockett.

Upon the announcement for its first annual Social Venture Challenge, the CEL put out a call for students to gather, share, and refine adventurous plans for these new endeavors . Leading up to their final presentations on April 23rd, experienced peers will help contestants to hone their ideas into a ten-minute pitch and a two-page executive summary. The top three proposals will receive $10,000 to split in order to set their enterprise in motion, and each team will also benefit from professional mentoring as they work to make their idea a reality.

In serving the adventurous thinkers who do not yet have an idea or a teammate, CEL headquarters acted as matchmakers during a mixer event late last semester, which served to connect them with other interested participants and share potential proposal ideas. The CEL has also been hosting a weekly event series every Thursday morning at nearby Gusto Café, where attendants have the opportunity to hear from a local entrepreneur and join in the discussion that follows. In all of its outreach, the CEL works to build up a community of innovation and ambition committed to developing the types of ideas that will serve the common good.

Dr. Crockett says this competition, specifically, encourages that community of students to be bold and to think creatively—whatever the outcome. “We should be less afraid of failing. In my experience, it can be good to fail fast, fail often and fail hard... Those unafraid to fail are the ones that learn the most. Enter the Social Venture Challenge, because the world may need your idea, and breakthroughs aren't discovered by those afraid to try.”

Photo 1: Dr. Carter Crockett (center right) collaborating with CEL instigation team members and a local leader.

Photo 2: Thursday morning conversations at nearby Gusto Café.

Hee-Kyoung Park is a student in the Graduate Education Program at Gordon College, studying elementary education and moderate disabilities. She loves working with children and youth, and enjoys nature walk, exercising, singing and playing the piano.

No comments: