Editor's note: this is an article in a series that explores how the Horn Team practices entrepreneurship.
In the course of my life as an entrepreneur, I have failed many times and succeeded a few times. It seemed like each time we launched a venture, something in the world went wrong (of course this wasn’t true but it seemed that way); 9/11, the Ebola virus, the SARS virus, housing market and stock market crashes, you name it.
We could have blamed our failures on these tragedies, used them as an excuse to give up or congratulated ourselves when we succeeded in spite of them. The fact is we did none of those things, in every case, success or failure, we adapted (today folks call this pivoting). Back then I called it “mustering the courage to continue”. (This is my favorite quote: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue the counts.” Winston Churchill)
And today, here at Horn Entrepreneurship, in light of this pandemic we mustered the courage to continue; we adapted, we pivoted.
While the coronavirus caused us to cancel our startup funding competition called Hen Hatch we pivoted and offered our Hen Hatch student semifinalists the opportunity to join in a co-curricular program for nascent UD startups known as VentureOn. We offered the same to the students in the Entrepreneurship Club as UD student club meetings were also canceled.
VentureOn offers aspiring UD entrepreneurs a bit of help, a small stipend, and a place to work. We could no longer offer a place to work and took VentureOn virtual. Now every Wednesday night aspiring UD entrepreneurs meet with Garry Johnson and myself on Zoom as we offer them help. Further each Friday, experienced entrepreneurs meet (via Zoom) with the most meritorious of these VentureOn entrepreneurs and provide advice one-on-one.
For the alumni, faculty and staff who advanced to the semifinal round of Hen Hatch we offered them the opportunity to join in an effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This effort known as NSF I-Corp Sites provides resources for the development, and nurturing of entrepreneurial teams. Additionally we offered these Hen Hatch semifinalists the opportunity to join our Startup Village. The “village” is inhabited by a group of subject matter experts who provide free 30-minute one-on-one consultations in their areas of expertise to aspiring UD entrepreneurs.
Finally, I also teach several courses here at Horn Entrepreneurship: two of them are Startup eXperience (ENTR 455/655) and Business Accelerator for New Ventures (ENTR 450/650). The course Startup eXperience is meant to allow students to experience the first fifteen weeks an entrepreneur may experience (15 weeks is the approximate length of a semester). They take action and experience the day in the life of an entrepreneur; or in this case the first 105 days in the life of an entrepreneur. The course Business Accelerator for New Ventures is meant for more advanced students teams; 360 VR Technology and EmpowHER are enrolled. This semester, just as the entire market has gone virtual, we took these two courses virtual. Today not only are our courses meeting virtually, our student entrepreneurs are meeting virtually with customers, potential business partners and even testing their business ideas virtually; a process known as iterating through an MVP (minimum viable product). EmpowHER tested their business model through a website re-launch and 360VR Technology is providing (ironically) virtual reality solutions to customers in our new virtually real world.
An entrepreneur must never give up, must adapt; must pivot. Every entrepreneur must muster the courage to continue. Horn Entrepreneurship will never give up, has adapted, has pivoted and mustered the courage to continue.
Lemonade recipe with mustard
Combine 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard with a half-cup of lemonade. Garnish it with a slice of lemon, orange, cucumber, and fresh mint. Pivoting can be hard; in which case spice up the lemonade by pouring in a bit of ginger beer.
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.