Institute for Entrepreneurship

by francine Hardaway on January 25, 2007

We are helping Peter Burns kick off the Institute for Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University this semester. It’s been quite an interesting experience so far, and one of the most exciting possibilities to realize a dream of my own — to make everyone responsible for their own economic survival.Michael Gerber is the guiding spirit behind the college. You may remember him as the author of “The E-Myth.”

Entrepreneurship is clearly a hot topic among students, and several students from ASU transferred over to GCU immediately because they wanted a more germane education than the standard business school. This year, GCU will offer a B.S. in Entrepreneurship. Next year they will offer an MBA. What will students learn that is different? I can tell you a little about my own piece.

I’ve been asked to develop a course for the School of Entrepreneurship at GCU called “PR and Networking,” which I think is a very different and useful offering for a prospective entrepreneur (or a present entrepreneur). In developing it, I was forced to contemplate several things.

(One was the need for a learning management system with a more user-friendly interface than Blackboard, but more of that later). The first was the connection between PR and networking, and the connection between both of them and developing a personal brand. Next, how best do I get a shy engineer interested in public relations? What will he/she think of the book “Never Eat Alone?”

But most important is the piece of the puzzle that’s now being explored and exploited in the video “The Secret” that’s been circulating around.

Well before I saw “The Secret,” I intuited that if you give enough out in the world, you attract some help in return, although you never know how, when, and from whom. This was the foundation of my first business, and of everything in my life since. Because I have an interest in Eastern religions, I am prone to say with amusement that I live in a karmic universe where everything I need manifests, but recently I have heard the same philosophy called “The law of attraction,” and “givers gain.” The crux of this philosophy, which fits in well with the values-based education at GCU, is that you do well by doing good.

My only worry is that this philosophy, so fragile and yet so effective, will be corrupted by people who don’t fully understand that it comes from deep within the heart, and not the mind. You can’t do good ONLY with the expectation of doing well–it’s not a quid pro quo. You can’t start a PR campaign to save the environment if you really don’t care, but you manufacture a product that could be considered green. Or you are extracting natural resources. No — it’s the other way around. You start a green company because you DO care about the environment. You start the PR campaign out of passion. Only then will the universe deliver.

This is what I will be offering entrepreneurs. I hope they get it.

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