Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship Fellowship End of Year Report and Reflection

Lee R. Enger, Ph.D., Chair, Division of Science & Technology, Assistant Professor of Biochemsitry, Quincy University

This year as a continuing Coleman Fellow I continued to incorporate an entrepreneurial component into my Biochemistry class. From the first day of class, I encouraged the students to establish an entrepreneurial spirit.

From attending the CEO conference in Chicago in October 2010, I furthered my own comprehension of the Coleman definition of entrepreneurship. During the conference I attended a number of different presentations and especially learned much about intellectual property. Attending the conference allowed me to explore more aspects of entrepreneurship, make connections with other Coleman Fellows, and hold discussions with the other QU Fellows. Furthermore, the course with the entrepreneurship component is taught in the Spring semester, so it afforded me time to incorporate those ideas into the course. This year also allowed me to streamline the production line and delegate more evenly to my students.

 This year the students were instructed to continue developing the soap lab for a marketable product to Quincy University affiliates and the Quincy community in general. Similar to last year, the students were quite creative idea development, but lacked initiative to implement them. This year we produced a number of bars for sale. We recovered our costs, but have yet to produce profit. Since this will be an integrated part of the Biochemistry class, we will continue to make soap in future years. With each class, I expect to perfect the method and secure more widespread sales.

 This year we were able to use a number of the materials used from last, therefore our cost was minimal. Since we have not spent all of the funds provided we will continue to use the funds to more aggressively promote our product. I hope that the remaining funds could generate enough product to turn a profit for a sustainable endeavor.

 Overall, I think the students gained an introduction to entrepreneurship and that they could envision the process of taking an idea to market. The students enjoyed the idea of an entrepreneurship component to the class; however, I felt that the students had a difficult time truly embodying the entrepreneurial spirit because nothing was on the line: their success or failure seemed to influence nothing. It was unclear whether this was due to the manner of delivery of the subject, or the general attitude of students today, blasé. Yet the feedback that I garnered from the students was that they enjoyed the idea, would like to see similar components in other classes, and that the experience overall was good. Additionally, I hope that this introduction has ignited "the fire in the belly" that is common to all entrepreneurs.