Get an exclusive preview of Concordia College’s new program for entrepreneurial leaders in the community
Although Fargo-Moorhead has been an epicenter for entrepreneurship for years, Concordia College’s new entrepreneurial training program is bringing entrepreneurship to community leaders equipping them with critical skills and valuable tools that will drive innovation in their organizations.
In partnership with the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, Concordia is offering entrepreneurial training that uses an experiential, problem-based methodology called the Opportunity Discovery Process. Participants are encouraged to apply what they are learning within real-world, ambiguous, resource-constrained circumstances, enabling them to develop entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviors and skills.
Here you will get an overview of the program, how it works, testimonials from people who have completed the program as well as some exclusive content from the program itself.
The entrepreneurial mindset consists of our underlying beliefs and assumptions. To test our assumptions and discover new opportunities, we use the Opportunity Discovery Process.
Outline of the Training
Concordia College now offers Entrepreneurial Mindset Certification Training for profit, nonprofit, academic and government organizations interested in cultivating entrepreneurial leaders. The training is delivered by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative virtually in ninety-minute sessions over a four-week period through Concordia’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
In the first session, participants will delve into the entrepreneurial philosophy that is the foundation of the program. In this session, entrepreneurship is redefined as more than business creation but rather a mindset, a way of thinking and acting that can be applied in any leadership role.
In the second session, participants are introduced to the Opportunity Discovery Process, using a canvas to break down a real-world problem that they want to solve and identify key stakeholders to interview.
Participants iterate the problem they are working to solve by adapting their canvas based on feedback received from key stakeholders. In this session, participants also hear from real-world entrepreneurs from the Fargo-Moorhead community.
In the final session, the participants share key takeaways and next steps for their Opportunity Discovery Process. Participants also discuss how the training will be applied in their own leadership roles. Upon successful completion, participants are certified to facilitate the entrepreneurial mindset curriculum in their own organizations.
Exclusive Pieces from the Opportunity Discovery Process
We sat down with United Way Senior Community Engagement Manager Taylor Schnitzler to walk through exclusive pieces of the Opportunity Discovery Process and how she applied them to her entrepreneurial ambitions while taking the program.
Canvas Phase 1: What problem do you want to solve?
STEP 1: Define the problem
“In my case, I looked at it from the lens of mental health, which is a large issue in the world. The next step is about narrowing it down to see what avenue you want to go towards. Having two young children and being a new parent, I want to make sure that their behavioral needs are met. Then I thought, ‘do other people have this problem?’ Absolutely they do. ‘Is this problem worth solving?’ Yes, it is. Those are the kind of questions that you go through in your mind when defining the problem.
TIP: Keep in mind that you are defining the problem based on your own assumptions that need to be tested.
STEP 2: Identify and interview key stakeholders who have the problem
“Next, I had an impact panel with experts, who I was so fortunate to have through the program that I oversee. They describe the problems that a lot of schools are having and how teachers don’t necessarily have [the tools] to help themselves when [students] have behavioral issues in the classroom. Hearing that only reiterated the fact that this is a need. Full-service community schools were talked about, as well as bringing in a school community coordinator into the schools. It’s really that research that kickstarts that project into that creative thinking and innovative thinking.” Important questions to ask are: what are we doing? what aren’t we doing? and what potentially could we do?
TIP: Create a list of questions to ask stakeholders that allow you to test your assumptions.
STEP 3: Revise the problem based on stakeholder feedback
“In the research phase, when you talk to individuals, you realize that maybe there’s something else that sparks interest, such as having mental health providers within schools—that was a large one. Not only does it benefit students within schools but it also benefits the teachers. Having something centralized within a school system is important—that was one of the ‘aha!’ moments for me. This goes beyond early intervention for toddlers; how can we continue to … create ongoing resources for students and teachers?”
TIP: Determine which assumptions were challenged and any knowledge gaps that require further investigation.
Testimonials from People Who Have Completed the Training
Ashley Petersen, Director of Operations, RMHC Fargo
“This program intrigued me as a proactive way to recognize opportunities and solve problems from a different perspective. This training helped me stretch beyond just solving problems that are presented, but to proactively look for ways we can improve the RMHC experience for all who walk through our doors. Mindset matters and I’m glad to have been able to make improvements to our volunteer experience. This course has helped me grow and will have a lasting impact on our mission.”
Taylor Schnitzler, Senior Community Engagement Manager, United Way
“I understood prior to the training that this course had the potential to impact my life and livelihood—who I am at work and who I am outside of work. The course reminded me that we all possess an entrepreneurial mindset, however, forget to tap into it. The insights are there, we simply need to remember to pause, redirect our thinking and embrace alternative ways of discovering solutions. My role as Senior Community Engagement Manager at United Way of Cass-Clay gives me opportunities to explore new ways of expanding United Way’s footprint and impact on our community. One thing I’m currently working on is how to expand the generational diversity depth and breadth of our programming, so the appeal widens and includes more community members. The United Way Emerging Leaders program is evolving to Lead UNITED in 2023. In my role of overseeing this program, the new shift allows me to think creatively and innovatively.”