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Business failure? Fear not, entrepreneurs advise Tulane students

September 02, 2014

PanelSeidman

A Tulane Law School panel on New Orleans’ climate for start-up businesses featured 2012 graduate Jason Seidman (center) and Colin Grussing (right) of 52Businesses, Andrea Chen of Propeller and leaders of other incubators.


PanelLindell

Matt Candler of 4.0 Schools, an education-related incubator, talks with Tulane 3L Mia Lindell after an Aug. 27 panel on entrepreneurship.

Photos by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo 

The best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs might sound counterintuitive: “Be comfortable failing,” Tim Williamson, CEO of New Orleans start-up hub The Idea Village, told Tulane Law School students learning how law intertwines with new businesses.

“Great entrepreneurs welcome failure because they learn from every unsuccessful venture,” Williamson said during a panel discussion on the thriving entrepreneurship climate in New Orleans.

Matt Candler of 4.0 Schools, Andrea Chen of Propeller and Colin Grussing and Jason Seidman (L ’12) of 52Businesses explained how their incubators are helping develop opportunities to boost the local economy.

The Aug. 27 presentation during Professor Elizabeth Townsend Gard’s Law and Entrepreneurship class provides another example of the ways in which Tulane is expanding the reach of experiential learning. Through externships, students help growing businesses tackle legal issues. During the fall semester, students in the Law and Entrepreneurship class plan to create their own venture so they’ll better understand the hurdles that future clients are likely to face.

The panel was the first event for the Law/Culture/Innovation initiative housed at Tulane's Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship program.

Panelists provided a range of advice, including unconventional tips.

“Make a resume of what you stink at,” Williamson said. That’s because the best entrepreneurs know their limitations and then surround themselves with others who excel in those areas.

Chen, executive director of Propeller, said it’s vital to clearly articulate the mission and measures of success. Propeller assists businesses that address specific social, environmental and economic problems.

“To move big problems, we need many pieces working together with a clear picture of our endgame,” she said.

The city’s newest business accelerator, 52Businesses, aims to help one fledgling venture per week test and crystallize goals, preparing them to apply to larger incubators. Seidman said New Orleans’ climate of fast-paced, collaborative growth makes that mission possible.

Williamson called that spirit invaluable for entrepreneurship. “Like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, each group has their own way of doing things, and they try to help each other along the way.”

 
   


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