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Introduction

History

The entrepreneur interviews give responses that span competitive practices, start-up, information sources, technology, training, financing, challenges and advice.

This project was initiated in 2009 by Mt. San Antonio College Professor, Dr. Ralph Jagodka. The process began when he polled his Small Business Management (entrepreneurship) classes. He asked his students to articulate what they would most like to learn from entrepreneurs, through an interview. The combined results, after consolidation, produced a list of 65 issues. Dr. Jagodka then held a series of lunch meetings with local entrepreneurs. He asked them to consider the student-identified issues, and select which entrepreneurial perceptions they would also like to know. Only questions that they themselves would be willing to answer could be chosen. This eliminated many proprietary questions, yet yielded questions that, when answered, would provide insight into industry competitive practices.


View Entrepreneur Interviews

You can browse, search and view 1,253 complete entrepreneur interviews at this time (this number will continue to grow over time).

Why I Started This Business (start-up insights from over 1,200 entrepreneurs)
Advanced Search (a great way to glean specific insights)
Keyword Search (quickly find insight from a specific type of business)
About the Companies Interviewed (see details about the types of companies interviewed)
EIP Student Feedback (student reflection regarding EIP meaninfulness)


The Interview Questions

The result was eight questions that span the topics of competitive practices, start-up, information sources, technology, training, financing, challenges and advice:

    1) What three things, in your opinion, must you do (and do well) in order to survive and thrive in your business? Please explain each in detail.

    2) What do you feel are the three most important sources of business information that you regularly use? Please give details for each (e.g., if a web page, please state the site; if a magazine, please state title, etc.).

    3) How did you decide to get into this type of business, and what was your initial goal?

    4) In hindsight, if you could go back in time and study any three topics just before you got into your business, what would they be? Please explain why each of these would be helpful to you.

    5) What new technologies can help you to become more competitive? Technologies can relate to machinery, equipment, software, processes, etc. Please give details.

    6) In today’s environment, what do you think are the best sources of financing/credit (banks, vendors, etc.) and what advice can you give to me on how to establish them?

    7) What do you consider to be the three biggest challenges facing your business right now (please give details)? Please explain your approach toward each.

    8) What advice can you offer to an aspiring entrepreneur? How can I prepare, and on what should I focus? 


Use the Entrepreneur Interview Project at your class/organization

Get Involved Today

Any educational institution, club, or organization can implement the Entrepreneur Interview Project (EIP).

This web site provides a platform to allow your students/members to fully participate in the project. It also provides the infrastructure that allows you, as an instructor, institution or course, the ability to collect, grade and share in the process. As an educational process, the Entrepreneur Interview Project was designed to provide participants with real-world experience in networking and mentor identification.
Building the skills and ability to network is becoming increasingly important in today's economy. Students receive instruction regarding networking methodologies and techniques, as well as the basic mechanics of mentorship relationships. The project requires them to identify potential entrepreneur mentors (for the interview), contact them, and arrange for a limited initial mentorship relationship. Student reflections (after completion of the project) typically reveal a great deal of practical learning and insight.

Resources will be provided to the instructor (or Director) to get your program started. Developing networking skills is an important objective for participants of this project. Instruction will be provided regarding methods and sources to seek out small business mentors in industry.

To get started, please visit this PAGE.