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School’s Dean Takes Center Stage at Miami’s eMerge Americas Conference to Offer Insight on Skills Needed to Succeed in Entrepreneurship

May 05, 2015
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Pictured (L-R): Lenny Chesal, Moderator; Daniel M. Gropper, Dean, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University; Preston Jones, Dean, Huizenga Business School, Nova Southeastern University; Gene Anderson, Dean, School of Business Administration, University of Miami, and David Klock, Outgoing Dean, College of Business, Florida International University.

South Florida's business schools can play a vital role in helping entrepreneurs achieve success, according to Gene Anderson, dean of the School of Business. "You don't have to go to business school to succeed as an entrepreneur," said Anderson at a May 4 panel at the eMerge Americas conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center. "But higher education provides great opportunities for entrepreneurs to test their ideas, gain new skills and learn how to put their knowledge into action."

Anderson was one of four South Florida business school deans who discussed "Skill Patterns of Successful Entrepreneurs and How to Get Them" at the five-day technology conference that drew more than 500 companies, from entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 500 tech leaders. The University of Miami had a major presence at the conference, which attracted an estimated 10,000 attendees.

Anderson said the University of Miami offers many resources for student entrepreneurs, including business plan competitions, and the Launch Pad, which encourages students and alumni to start new ventures in South Florida and provides resources to help them succeed.  He also emphasized the importance of collaboration, noting that the School is helping medical researchers at the University’s Life Science & Technology Park take their concepts from the laboratory workbench to the marketplace.

"We get our students out of the classroom and into startups and small businesses, so they can see entrepreneurs in action as they bring their fresh ideas to the market," he added. "We also connect our students with mentors and alumni who can provide real-world guidance as they make their career plans."

For entrepreneurs to be successful, they need to develop their "soft" skills, such as making presentations and speaking to groups, as well as their business knowledge, added Anderson. "If you are trying to pick the right application for your new technology solution, you should understand the concept of market segmentation," he said. "If you want to manage your cash flow and reinvest your profits, you should know about activity-based costs. Those are two examples of how a business school education can help entrepreneurs."

Lenny Chesal, executive vice president for business development for Host.net in Boca Raton moderated the panel discussion with Anderson; Daniel M. Gropper, dean of the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University; Preston Jones, dean of the Huizenga Business School at Nova Southeastern University; and David Klock, outgoing dean of the College of Business at Florida International University.

Anderson was asked what South Florida's business schools could do collectively to promote the entrepreneurial spirit. "We can bring together our faculty, students and alumni for an 'Entrepalooza' next year," he said, referring to Lollapalooza, an annual summer music festival. "A world-class city like Miami needs world-class higher education. We can play a major role in the future by fostering the growth of innovation and intellectual capital in our region. This panel was a great step in that direction."

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