When we were in school, we always wondered why, if the professor was so smart, wasn’t he making a fortune at whatever he was teaching? Well, in the schools of entrepreneurship that have popped up across the country, things have changed. Many of the professors and instructors are now, and have been, successful entrepreneurs. They share their real world examples, challenges and solutions with their students.
None is more exemplary in this practical, hands-on approach to teaching entrepreneurship than the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Santa Barbara, California. Scheinfeld is particularly unique because it is a two-year school in a community college that serves aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Further, it has a novel cutting edge program that we are donating our time to support: the Enlightened Entrepreneurship Series.
It all began with an intimate fireside chat with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. It has now grown into one of Scheinfeld’s most popular activities. Twice each year, they invite a significant CEO/Founder to visit and interact with their students to educate and inspire them with the entrepreneurial spirit. For two hours, up to 150 students and attendees have a casual, unrehearsed conversation with entrepreneurial thought leaders who have already been there and done that. It’s unscripted and based on questions from the audience about real world issues facing all aspiring entrepreneurs. And it’s free! Scheinfeld also posts videos of the series on their website.
We are honored to be the featured guests for the March 8th event. We hope to inspire the students and attendees with what we call The Barefoot Spirit (the American entrepreneurial spirit, West Coast style). Ironically, Santa Barbara was the first town in the country to get Barefoot wine, giving the town a 25-year history with the brand. It’s also surrounded by some of the most active chapters of the Surfrider Foundation, Barefoot’s longtime non-profit partner.
We are very excited about speaking at entrepreneurial schools to share our experience and lessons learned. As we enter the Age of the Entrepreneur, several dovetailing dynamics are giving birth to this new renaissance of creativity, making the timing perfect.
1. Unemployment and under-employment. Due to off-shoring , downsizing , and automation, the number of jobs just isn’t there anymore. Many educated folks are facing self-employment as the only form of employment.
2. The Information Revolution. Just like the industrial revolution was the catalyst for thousands of applications of industrial technology, the new information revolution is a fertile breeding ground for applications of information technology.
3. Knowledge and Communication. Never before has so much information been available with such ease of access. Worldwide communication and collaboration are now literally at our fingertips.
4. Reduced Costs. Everything from rent to labor, and from communication to the cost of money, is less expensive now than a decade ago. The economic downturn itself has provided advantages to start-ups not seen in years.
5. Acquisition Climate. Due to their large budgets, strict divisions of labor, and legal department domination, big business today often acquires new ideas. If you can demonstrate sufficient market share for your idea, you now have a much better chance of being acquired and monetizing your brand equity.
6. Schools of Entrepreneurship. When we started Barefoot Cellars, there were few if any schools of entrepreneurship. Now they’re all over the country. Like the Scheinfeld Center, aspiring entrepreneurs now have schools dedicated to what they need to know. These are fantastic resources we wish we had access to when we started.
See you at Scheinfeld!
Who Are We.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.
Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at www.thebrandauthority.net. To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact .
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders