Becoming an entrepreneurial pioneer
Blog Series Part 02: Building Great Businesses

By: ellis j. still

I was in Newark Penn Station one day, when I noticed an advertisement for a new entrepreneurial program for first generation entrepreneurs at The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University School of Business. Being a first generation entrepreneur is indeed a challenge, as you don’t have the same resources as if you grew up around business minded people (see my previous post: “The dilemma of first generation entrepreneurs”). I found out more about the program through Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, who co-directs the center, and attended an introduction session that the school offered for prospective students. There was an application process, so I applied, and was accepted. I am one who takes advantage of every door that God opens for me, and I am extremely glad that I accepted this opportunity to learn more about myself and where my venture can go. 

The class met for nine months, and featured training in the areas of brand development & customer management, operations management, strategic alliances, business valuation, international trade, procurement, and technology management to name a few. There were also counseling sessions with partner organizations such as IFEL (see my previous post: “IFEL – Creating a roadmap for your business”) and the greater Newark Business Development Consortium (GNBDC – post forthcoming), and the program ended with a conference centered on the various aspects of social media from a variety of professional perspectives. 

CUEED is a great program in that it is customized to the needs of the entrepreneur such that the venture will have the tools to grow to the new levels. I can’t begin to list my takeaways… there were so many, and some I am just now applying. I took a lot of notes since there was a lot of information disseminated throughout out the program, and different pieces apply to my venture in different ways.

This program is important in that college level training in entrepreneurship is a scarce resource for business owners across the country. Rutgers University has entire curriculums geared towards developing entrepreneurs, making their businesses more viable for growth, and their programs sets a precedent for institutions across the country. As I am writing this post, I received an email update from Inc. Magazine ( Entrepreneurship Education Lags) that discusses the lack of entrepreneurial training in higher education, yet CUEED seems to be ahead of the curve in its development of entrepreneurs and their ventures, and has been acknowledged as being the first of its kind in the nation.

No man is an island. You need others around you that will help you to succeed. Some are obvious, but some are not as obvious. When I went into this program, I had not idea as to what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, which is the purpose of the entrepreneurship program – to fill in the gaps. I had to rely on my gut feeling that told me that this is something I should be involved with. Business types tend to rely on the ROI, and ignore intangibles that hold things together. CUEED is one of these intangibles where there is no way to measure the breadth and depth of the impact the program has had on my moving forward with my business, but I can say that my venture has by far been made the better because of it. CUEED helped position my venture for success, and if it had not been for the program, I would not have the tools to execute my vision, making my dream more isolated from the realization of dream.

CUEED offers many programs such as Entrepreneurial Pioneers Initiative (EPI – which I am associated with), Rutgers Business, Engineering, Science, and Technology Institute (BEST) and also incorporates venture capitol, city resources, and research into their programs. This post does not do The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University School of Business justice. I am excited for CUEED and for all who are able to take advantage of their state of the art curriculum. 

Irregardless of where you are in the country or internationally, feel free to visit for more information. You never know where a simple conversation can lead to :- )

Questions: Do you have a specialized entrepreneurship program offered to business owners by your local / area college or university? Are you looking for one? Would you like your buisness venture to experience something spectacular? You may want to contact CUEED :- )

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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