Article published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on November 14, 2022.
I attended the Drexel University Close School of Entrepreneurship Startup Fest on Nov. 3, an event for students across the University to showcase their startup companies and compete in pitch contests for prize money and other awards.
Not in a classroom but in real time, these entrepreneurs are building their businesses, honing their elevator pitches, choosing partners, hiring their first employees, raising capital from investors, protecting their intellectual property, choosing channels of distribution and engaging with customers. They also are learning how to de-risk their decisions and manage a P&L statement, all of which are necessary skills and responsibilities of CEOs.
In addition to those majoring in entrepreneurship, many students from across Drexel have taken entrepreneurship courses at the Close School. One of those students at Startup Fest was Kasiah Harrison, the Founder and Designer of Delirium Dreaming and a senior majoring in communications and minoring in retail. Harrison has taken two courses at the Close School and said, “Loved both of them. The professors are knowledgeable and caring, and even offered mentorship.”
Describing her business, Harrison said, “I design wearable art. I market to fashion forward and eco-conscious Gen Z and Millennials.” This Fashion Channel YouTube video showcases Harrison’s unique designs and apparel.
Amelia Brown, a writer for Blackbird News, writes, “[Delirium Dreaming] creates clothes that are different where people feel they can step out of their comfort zone… Kasiah found the perfect balance between punk and street.”
In addition to her designs, Harrison differentiates her collections with her fabric sourcing strategy. She states, “I source my fabrics from Fabscrap and my manufacturers use recycled polyester-based fabrics. I also have manufacturers that source fabrics that would’ve been thrown out by other factories, reducing cost and waste.”
Entrepreneurship skills are valuable whether you start a business (as Harrison has done), work for a startup or work for an established business. As you develop entrepreneurial skills, you develop a can-do attitude and mindset that is attractive to employers.
Entrepreneurial experience will help differentiate you within your current company when going for a promotion, or when applying for your next job at a different company.
Future bosses may say, “Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Find a way to do it.” If a business strategy is not working, those starting a business learn to pivot and proceed in a different direction. Entrepreneurs learn how to handle failure and how to recover and try again.
Starting a business teaches students how to sell their ideas to others, both verbally and through graphical presentations. This is something all of us do throughout our entire careers, regardless of the position within an organization. Entrepreneurship students get real-time feedback on whether their selling skills are effective and can make adjustments to improve.
Entrepreneurs learn networking skills due to the numerous interactions they have with a variety of people. These skills are essential to career success. Future jobs are most likely to come from one’s network, and the ability to effectively expand that network will help land that next job.
My advice to all college students: If you can obtain entrepreneurship training, do so. It will differentiate you from your peers and make you more attractive to future employers. My advice to employers: Hire people with an entrepreneurial attitude and mindset. They get things done.
Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” He is also a speaker, advisor and widely read nationally syndicated columnist on leadership. He can be reached at Stan@SilvermanLeadership.com.