Entrepreneurship with an Attitude

Not so very long ago, entrepreneurship was a term owned largely by a small sliver of businesses and academics. It of course referred to those business people who made a habit of starting new things and those academics who saw in that process, a set of concepts and activities that could be studied and taught.

Something was happening for sure, and fast, especially in the "Silicon Valleys" of the world, but increasingly also in the halls of big business and government. The term has become almost synonymous with development, efficiency and creativity and leaders and aspiring leaders everywhere freely espouse its virtues. Now most universities, many secondary and elementary schools and even politicians are determined that entrepreneurship can and should be taught.

The Hogan Program at Chaminade University is one such effort that came into being some 12 years ago. Ed and Lynn Hogan, founders of Pleasant Holiday Travel and the Hogan Family Foundation generously offered this small Catholic university a grant to prepare some of its brightest prospects for a lifetime of entrepreneurial thinking and action.

Grateful for the offer, Chaminade started a program aimed at preparing its juniors, seniors and graduate students to "start new things" wherever their careers may take them. And most importantly, to do so while making sure that "their business actions made social sense and their social actions made business sense."

Now more than 200 students have completed this preparation for a lifetime of entrepreneurial pursuits by receiving instruction in the tools and skills of entrepreneurship and by being exposed to the entrepreneurs and business leaders of Hawaii and beyond. They have been mentored, "internshipped," trained and challenged - and they have come out of these experiences with flying colors. Some have started businesses (two of them - Rechung Fujihira and Tony Stanford - started Box Jellys, a shared workplace for young entrepreneurs and were selected as Hawaii's Young Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Hawaii Venture Capital Association) and some have gone the non-profit route, but all have grown as people who are committed to making a difference in the world.

They all have opportunities during the program to "open their window on the world" through required reading, through a regular speaker series and through business study missions to China and India. They all are reminded of their social obligations through opportunities to help train the homeless for work and to participate in a Non-Profit Business Plan Competition held every other year.

Our aim in this blog is to draw upon this new year of Hogan events and activities to report on things that may be of interest to anyone seeking information about entrepreneurship in beautiful Hawaii. We hope to make this a platform for sharing lessons learned from our visiting entrepreneurs; insights from our students' international travels; and news of our rich encounters with leaders from all sectors of Hawaii's economic and civil society. We welcome your comments and suggestions for building on what has already been accomplished and our students welcome opportunities to connect to nonprofit and business initiatives through internships and projects.