We Run to the Fire!

This afternoon at Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, we will hold the semi-finals of our annual $100K Business Plan Contest, which is our flagship event drawing hundreds of applicants from across all the schools of Tufts from Engineering to Medicine, Dental, Veterinary, Nutrition, Arts & Sciences, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy and the Tisch College of Civic Life.  To get to this point of the second level of judging which will take place in three categories: 

  • General Entrepreneurship, which is mostly tech,
  • Social Impact 
  • Healthcare & Life Science...

...these entrepreneurs have undertaken countless hours of prep on their own, formally with our EIRs and informally with our professors and advisors many of whom are Tufts alums who have been through this process as entrepreneurs. 

Participants include undergrads, grad students, researchers and professors all focused on moving their business concept to the next stage.  No matter what the results are today in either advancing or not, the experience is extraordinary and because of the uniqueness of Tufts, it's "different".  Back-in-the-day, I was heavily involved in the first student business plan competition at MIT, and even though I did not attend MIT, I did chair the MIT Enterprise Forum, and as a result, I've been a business plan competition judge at MIT, Babson, HBS, RIT, UMass and another 10 schools over the years.  


We're "Different":  Not "better", just "Different"

  • We're Goldilocks at Tufts and in our approach to entrepreneurship.  Not too big, not too small, and, as result, we're quick to respond to any request. 
  • We run to the fire!  We seek out ideas with our entrepreneurs actively whiteboarding with them from  early concepts to establishing corporate entities with trusted providers.  Never pushing in any one direction but always guiding, steering and advancing to decision points.  Our best entrepreneurs have this same unrelenting passion of personal drive and their ability to push past time constrains and quickly move beyond the known competition coming up with innovative value propositions.
  • We're active collaborators!  Not just among ourselves as educators, coaches and mentors, but pulling in our hundreds of successful alum entrepreneurs as active sounding boards while actively working as partners within the extraordinarily vibrant university community of MIT, BU, Northeastern, BC and UMass and Babson.

So, after my daily commute from the NH beach to Tufts this morning, I will somehow end up in Vermont tonight where over a glass of wine I will begin writing down "The Lessons" I've learned from today.  What I do know from decades of both being and teaching entrepreneurship is that on one hand, there will be many repeats today of the fundamentals which always remain the same, there will also be new building block advances and unexplored change factors coming out of today which for me will be part of what real entrepreneurship is all about.

Hopefully, you can join us for our final competition on April 5th!

Writing the Winning Business Plan 

Along my journey of entrepreneurship, I have for a long time created an ebook on "How to Write a Winning Business Plan".  Originally, I started this for an ME course at MIT where I'm an instructor, and I wanted to bring a level of an orderly process to the chaos of countless books and articles since, after all, I was working with engineering students . Since that time, I've used the book for a wide variety of purposes at Tufts and other universities, with first-time entrepreneurs and with experienced corporate managers.  I also use it for my own personal review whenever I'm thinking about cofounding another startup which I jumped into...yet again...did 18 months ago.   

You can find the book HERE, and hopefully, you will find this of value whether you're a corporate manager or a first time entrepreneur.   Take a look, give me some comments when you can, plus, I would also love to hear your perspective on the health of business in 2024.   

Have a great day selling today!


Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Business Planning