Entrepreneur Interview Project (EIP) - Instructor Introduction
Please see this 2-minute video introduction.
The Entrepreneur Interview Project (EIP) is freely available and provides students the opportunity to interact with small business owners. They ask questions that span competitive practices, start-up, information sources, technology, training, financing, challenges, and advice. Students gain invaluable insight.
The EIP provides the following advantages:
- Easy infusion as FREE project (classroom and/or on-line)
- Canvas Module, Pages, Grading Rubric and Video
- Secure login and web-based infrastructure
- Students learn to network & identify mentors
- Incrementally adds to an archive of over 1,200 interviews (anonymous and publicly accessible)
Students learn directly from entrepreneurs:
- The EIP trains them to identify and secure business mentors. These relationships can last a lifetime.
- Students learn the importance and nuances of appropriate business communications protocol.
- Direct communications help students to learn and explore, firsthand, the concept of informational interviews.
- The project affords students the opportunity to develop and practice their networking skills.
Stand-Alone Class Project
- EIP is a stand-alone activity that faculty may easily infuse into their courses.
- This project is appropriate for any academic discipline. For example, interviewing a CPA about her/his firm can provide valuable insight to accounting students.
- Talking with a business owner can help clarify student expectations about entrepreneurship.
- Interviews may be conducted using a variety of methods, such as face-to-face meetings, phone, email, or social media.
- An introductory video for class that will introduce students to the project.
- PowerPoint presentation that will take students through the process of identifying an entrepreneur, interviewing them, writing their document, and posting it to the web.
- Detailed student instructions and grading rubric in Canvas
- Detailed faculty instructions and resources, that include hand-out materials.
- Canvas Module for seamless integration into an existing course.
- Complete web infrastructure includes log in, posting, editing, deleting, and browsing
- Password-protected and secure log-in process
- Students log in to their class to post their work
- Instructors log in to browse their specific courses
- Canvas Module and grading rubric provides easy grading and integration into any existing course
Here is a sampling of student feedback:
- "I learned that making a business work is no simple task"
- "... having the chance to get with an actual entrepreneur and talking to them"
- "This interview has helped me in ways I would never expect"
- "I got to sit down with an entrepreneur and really discuss what it takes to be a successful businessman"
- "... really useful and helpful for me to find a job or to set up my own business in the future"
- "I had a ton of questions and I got the detailed answers step by step"
- "I learned that getting into business isn't easy, but if you put your mind to it you can do it"
Entrepreneur Interview Archive
- Over 1,200 interviews currently in archive
- Student posts initially are not visible to the public, and later join the web archive anonymously
- Researching the archive stimulates great class group discussions. It helps students to identify business trends
- Filter posts by industry, sales, interview question and/or business type. Can obtain specific insight by combining filters (e.g., industry and sales revenue)
- Keyword search allows for targeted information and specific firm insight
- Class posts are not visible to the public
- Archive stimulates great classroom group discussions
- Ability to merge posts into the collective archive
The Interview Questions
Eight questions that span the topics of competitive practices, start-up, information sources, technology, training, financing, challenges, and advice:
- 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.
- 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.).
- How did you decide to get into this type of business, and what was your initial goal?
- 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.
- What new technologies can help you to become more competitive? Technologies can relate to machinery, equipment, software, processes, etc. Please give details.
- 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?
- What do you consider to be the three biggest challenges facing your business right now (please give details)? Please explain your approach toward each.
- What advice can you offer to an aspiring entrepreneur? How can I prepare, and on what should I focus?
Adding the EIP to your class is completely free (there is never a charge)
Go to the Canvas Commons and search for "Entrepreneur Interview Project". Import the module into your existing course or sandbox. After downloading, please contact ConsultaPedia for login credentials.