Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CIE Newsletter (Spring 2010 edition)

Sept Newsletter
In this issue:
:: Entrepreneur's Notebook
:: Entrepreneurial Internship Program
:: Entrepreneurs' Confidence Barometer
:: Diploma in Innovation Management
:: Upcoming Events

 CIE only

Welcome to CIE's emergence into the web2 era of communication!

In addition to an updated homepage, we now have a more automatic way of subscribing to more frequent updates about news and events:
Since last April, the CIE has continued many of the existing programs with increasing momentum, and pursuing several new programs too. We also have a new Program Manager, Linda Glave, to help with the daily operations so Martin can dedicate a little more time to teaching and researching innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia.

Entrepreneur's Notebook

Networks & Networking - Don't waste your time; invest it!

by Dr Martin J Bliemel
Networks and networking are pretty hot topics these days. When exploring a new line of business, product, or market, networking is often a quick way to get rich feedback. I ran my own business consulting firm for a couple years, searched for clients and partners, and recently completed my PhD dissertation on the networks of entrepreneurs, so I feel the need to disseminate some of my observations. Setting aside my rant about the differences between networks, social networks, and online social networks, this column reviews two key things to consider before networking:

·   Is this the right network for me?
·   How should I use the opportunity to network?

Which network is the right one?
Networks (and organizations that facilitate networking events; example) range along a variety of variables. Some are more durable, and others more trendy. Some are more like a market, and others more like a clique. If you are prospecting for customers, why would you spend your time at an industry conference among all your competitors? If your business is relationships based, why would you network at conferences instead of pursuing individual referrals from your existing network? If you are looking to increase sales and want to 'spread the word', then yes, a shotgun approach to networking might be the best one. That might be by handing out more business cards than Darcy Rezac, through to blasting the news out there with all the new social media platforms. However, if you are looking for that needle in the haystack, and can clearly describe that needle to others, a more targeted search is more applicable. With a more targeted approach, you should approach specific people (for specific referrals). Social media platforms can still help, but work better if you prequalify who you contact, and address them directly. Just think of the last time you felt personally compelled to reply back to a "Dear Subscriber" message (ironic that this column should start that way, I know);, asking for something specific, other than selling you a product or service. Learn to think twice about which networking events to go to, and how to leverage them to your advantage (my second point, below).

How to network
For beginners, networking feels awkward at first, but can quickly become second nature. The basics include (i) having a business card, (ii) offering it somewhere toward the middle or end of your elevator pitch so it doesn't appear like you're liberally giving cards away, (iii) handing it over in a way that can be read easily (e.g. with two hands, card face up and oriented the right way), and (iv) respectfully reading the other person's card. The point I would like to emphasize here though is the elevator pitch. In particular I often see two areas in which networkers fall short of their potential: explicitly stating what value they provide, and what they are looking for.

Regarding the value proposition, in addition to clearly stating your name, role, and who you work for, never assume people are familiar with the company or can extrapolate what services the company provides. Don't leave them guessing, and provide a simple, concise example of who a typical (or ideal) client looks like, and how you improve their business/life. A personal story of the impact you have on their business/life is way better than numbing statistics of how many products you sell and how many customers you have.

Regarding what you are looking for, everyone is obviously looking for opportunities. Opportunities are ubiquitous, idiosyncratic and ambiguous. The first implication of your networking is that you are looking to drum up business. If however, you have other needs, it is perfectly ok to admit you are growing your business and looking for help. People have a natural tendency to help, IF they know they can and it does not come at a major cost to them. For example, after your elevator pitch, you might invite the other person to assist you in finding a better recruiting agency, or providing you a direct referral to a potential employee. Don't overwhelm them and ask for them to help you with all aspects of your business, just show a little humility and ask for ideas relating to a currently important or urgent issue you are dealing with. You may not get what you ask for, but you also don't get what you don't ask for.

3rd Year for the Entrepreneurial Internship Program

The Meet-and-Match event for CIE's Entrepreneurial Internship Program was our biggest ever!  A "short"-list of 30 Honour's and Dean's List students competed for 12 spots with our industry partners.  But then, the partner companies were so blown away with the quality of students that 5 additional positions were created and offered on the spot!

This year's partners are:
  • Anittel
  • Atlassian
  • BMDI Healthcare
  • Homestar Finance
  • IPScape
  • Pet Barn
  • ResMed
  • Telcoinabox
Our congratulations to the students and to our partners for their efforts, and we can't wait to see the reports and posters at the March Wrap-Up event! 

Entrepreneurs' Confidence Barometer 
Entrepreneurs lead the way back to growth
A recent survey of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni has found that 74% of respondents defied the market and grew their businesses in 2009, with 60% expecting to achieve double digit growth in calendar 2010.

The Ernst & Young survey found that the respondents - some of Australia's most successful entrepreneurs - are increasingly confident about their business growth prospects, with 72% confident about the Australian economy in 2010 and 67% believing the availability of capital will improve in 2011. Seventy one percent expect to employ more people in the next 12 months, 62% plan to raise funds in the next 12 months and 68% plan to expand operations overseas. In addition, the entrepreneurs surveyed overwhelmingly agreed that passion, determination and vision are the key ingredients for success, with 80% believing that this has not changed in the past 10 years and will not change in the future.

The survey respondents had started on average four businesses each, creating their first business at the average age of 25 and were motivated primarily by the desire to create a business, with wealth creation as a secondary driver. These are a few of the many findings contained in the 2010 Entrepreneurs' Confidence Barometer, a survey conducted to mark the 10th anniversary of the Entrepreneur Of The Year program in Australia.

Ernst & Young partner Greg Logue says the responses illustrate that successful entrepreneurs are more than simply higher achievers.

"They are the ones who seek out opportunities and turn their vision into reality, creating a flow-on success for those around them through employment, export growth and social contributions," says Logue.

"The confidence and focus of these entrepreneurs is both inspiring and heartening - these are the people who continue to drive the economy forward and create the future."

The survey findings also suggest that there is a greater appreciation of the contribution entrepreneurs make to our economy and communities. Fifty six percent of respondents believe the Australian culture supports entrepreneurship - a significant shift in attitude compared to a similar 2004 survey that found that only 38% of respondents held the same view.

Diploma in Innovation Management 
Now open to
ALL UNSW undergraduate students!
Diploma WordleThe Diploma in Innovation Management has been successfully migrated from the Faculty of Science to the Australian School of Business.

The Diploma is a unique undergraduate offering that is open to students of any Faculty, AND is taught by academics from various faculties, further supplemented by presentations and lectures from industry experts and government officials.

Course material covers areas such as creativity in enterprises, business principles, business planning for new ventures, funding, management and commercialisation of intellectual property, and valuation and assessment of innovative businesses. Students engage in exercises to set up and run their own new ventures and participate in case studies with Australian and international entrepreneurs. The lectures, workshops, case studies and tutorials in each of the program's courses are delivered by a well-balanced mixture of university academics and expert industry and government professionals.

Upcoming Events

Meet the Entrepreneur: Ernst & Young  
When:    Thursday 23 September
Meet the Entrepreneur is a semi-annual event; this session's topic is CleanTech, and will be moderated by Dr Marc Newson, Partner Oceania Cleantech Leader, Ernst & Young.

Click here to register by Thursday, 16 September

Peter Farrell Cup - NEW website!!
The Peter Farrell Cup provides students with the opportunity to bring their innovative business idea to life by pitching to a panel of experts from the Sydney entrepreneurial community.  The competition is open to teams containing at least one currently-enrolled UNSW student.  Teams submit a business plan and finalists are selected to pitch their ideas live to the judging panel.

Want to team up with a student to help you represent in the competition?
Meet-Mix-Match Event - Tues 21 Sept

Click here for details.

Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Join us to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program in Australia!  This is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs and celebrates building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 135 cities in 50 countries.  Over the last decade, Ernst & Young has recognised the achievements of over 800 extraordinary business leaders in this country.

Click here for details. 

We are currently seeking sponsors for Diploma Scholarships, internship opportunities, and the Peter Farrell Cup. If you are interested in being associated with these innovative initiatives in our newsletters, press releases, website, and at the event, please contact us. Sponsorship may be in the form of general sponsorship for the event (cash or in-kind), or by sponsoring a student intern at your organization.

We are pleased to confirm AusIndustry, Ernst & Young, NewSouth Innovations and RosesOnly as sponsors of the CIE.  Likewise, we would like to thank Peter Farrell and Gary Zamel for their generous donations. Their continued support helps provide the means to host networking events, award prizes, and reimburse our suppliers and service providers. In exchange, our sponsors receive good karma and public recognition as supporters of innovation and entrepreneurship. If your firm is keen to engage with UNSW students, faculty and alumni, and our members from industry, please contact us.

      UNSW logo          EY           RosesOnly 

                              AusIndustry logo         NSi logo 

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