We had an amazing experience teaching the first session of our MOOC, Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies, in April 2014. Over 23,000 of you from 183 countries enrolled in the course. It was such a pleasure to exchange ideas with so many of you during the MOOC about strategies to supporting entrepreneurship in communities that do not have the private sector support of a Silicon Valley. I had the chance this summer to meet quite a few MOOC students in Greece, Macedonia, Czech Republic and Spain which was great. I have stayed in touch with others of you who are working to implement some of the lessons from the course in your own communities. Due to your amazing engagement, teaching the MOOC was the most rewarding experience I have had as a professor in my career! I wrote two articles in the Huffington Post about the MOOC experience: Beyond Silicon Valley: Using a MOOC to Build a Community of Support for Global Entrepreneurs and Distance Transcended: Sharing Ideas on Entrepreneurship With Tehran.
We are excited to be teaching another session of Beyond Silicon Valley starting in less than 3 weeks on October 3rd. Registration is open on Coursera at www.coursera.org/course/entpecon. I would encourage those of you who were not able to complete the MOOC during the first session to join us again in October. Please do spread the word to others in your community that you think might have an interest in the course. Finally, if any of you might be interested in organizing local discussion groups or “meet-ups” during the MOOC, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share ideas about some of the best practices we learned from the first session of the course.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote an article yesterday which profiled our MOOC and posed the question if Cleveland’s attempt to support entrepreneurship through government and donor funding was a relevant model for other communities around the world. The reporter interviewed folks from Vietnam and Rwanda to ask that question and they both felt that there were important lessons that could be drawn from Cleveland’s experience in their markets. By no means are we designing this class with the idea that we are encouraging other markets around the world to embrace what we have done in Cleveland to support entrepreneurship and try and implement similar programs in their communities. Rather, we hope that the MOOC will be a forum where communities around the world can exchange ideas on the topic. There are so many great efforts taking place globally to connect and support entrepreneurs including Global Entrepreneurship Week, Founder Institute, EO, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, Endeavor … the list goes on. We are excited to compliment the great work these organizations are already doing to support entrepreneurship.
Great picture of Tom Lix from Cleveland Whiskey in the article. Tom is a great entrepreneur and is featured in the MOOC.
Enjoyed the opportunity to discuss our upcoming MOOC on a Jumpstart podcast moderated by Samantha Fryberger with Lisa Delp, the former executive director of the Ohio Third Frontier program and Nevine Dakroury, the director of the FSVC office in Egypt (via phone). We discuss the lessons we have learned to date in Northeast Ohio and how our attempts to creatively intervene to support entrepreneurship through government and donor support may be relevant in other transitioning economies around the world such as Egypt. It was great to hear from Nevine about what is happening with entrepreneurship in Egypt and we are really excited to hear from our participants in the MOOC about the unique successes and challenges in their own communities around supporting entrepreneurship.
The podcast is available in the iTunes library or you can stream it from the website. I am a big fan of Jumpstart’s other podcasts on entrepreneurship was thrilled they decided to devote one to our MOOC!
Two days after the course description for the MOOC went live, Matt Yglesias from Slate wrote a great article entitled “Move Silicon Valley to Cleveland.” Friends from around the world sent me a link to the article. I exchanged emails with Matt (who I have never met before) about his article and my MOOC (and he was nice enough to send a tweet out to his followers about the MOOC).
Matt’s article pointed out some of the challenges that are accompanying the prosperity resulting from the success of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs such as gentrification. As Matt states, cities like Cleveland (and other developing economies) around would leap at the chance to attract the best and the brightest to move here and launch technology-based companies. There are some interesting efforts happening around the world in markets such as Chile with their Start-Up Chile initiative which are providing incentives to entrepreneurs to relocate to their communities. We have even done this in Cleveland with our local seed accelerators attracting talent from across the US to start their companies here such as Jennifer Jeng and Donna Lee coming from LA to Cleveland to start Mascot Secret at Bizdom. While transitioning economies can opportunistically attract talent to their communities, the reality is that Silicon Valley is not moving to Cleveland anytime soon and we have to figure out ways to do it ourselves through creative programs that support the growth of local entrepreneurs.