By Maria C. Isidoro
Transforming ideas into action becomes an entrepreneur’s educational challenge, which creates a simple life idea into a successful business.
Dean of Economic and Workforce Development Paul De La Cerda designed Operation Entrepreneurship: Project ESTEEM (Ethics, Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Mathematics) to inspire students who own or want to start a business.
Project ESTEEM used a framework called the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program to help students clarify the opportunities of their business career path.
De La Cerda’s inception was to present the issues associated with running a successful business and identifying the basic entrepreneurial strategies when starting a business.
“The purpose of bringing this program to ELAC is that students can take this knowledge and apply it to a family business or any business, here in this community…and improve their business strategy,” De La Cerda said.
Since many students at East Los Angeles College own small businesses without support on how to manage limited resources in their company, he said.
The facilitator of Operation Entrepreneurship Brandon Shamim, an independent business owner of a 17-year-old consulting company and college educator, worked directly with the students.
Shamim defined entrepreneurs as people who have an enormous curiosity about the world, willing to put ideas into action and make a difference in their community.
“To become an entrepreneur it takes lifelong lessons which are acquired in personal, academic and professional lives regardless of age, gender, and background.”
“You don’t have to own and operate an independent business to benefit from this program,” Shamim said.
Operation Entrepreneurship was based on a best-selling: “Who Owns the Ice House, which offers eight lessons to students about their “entrepreneurial mindset”, which include making a smart choice, opportunity, action, knowledge, wealth, brand, community, and persistence.
These eight lessons taught students that they don’t need to have millions of dollars to start a business. If they desire to succeed, great things can be accomplished.
The entrepreneurial mindset is more than just a dream. Follow up and follow through defines a dreamer from a true successful entrepreneur.
Shamim taught the students how to use opportunities, set-up an idea, put it into action, and manage time to analyze, research and investigate it in order to accomplish the goal.
“Create results that you haven’t even dreamed of…Push them out 24/7 and lock them in,” Shamim said.
The entrepreneurial bootcamp taught students to identify their valuable possessions, assets, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
According to Shamim, burning desire is the way to stay tuned-in, motivated and inspirited.
“It becomes part of their DNA,” Shamim said.
Successful entrepreneurs and business owners were invited to be guest speakers to share their knowledge and experience in business within the private sector.
State Farm Agent and Financial Consultant Henry Rodriguez said that attending networking events is the key to staying sharp in entrepreneurship. His burning desire is to prove others wrong, referring to people who did not believe in him.
Credit expert and business owner of CreditSmartRepair.com, Robert Montoya, said to ask people a simple question, “what do you do for business?”
“Hustling, communication and shaking hands,” Montoya said, helped him to make healthier decisions.
Facilitator Shamim with a chart for identifying gaps in the marketplace, demonstrated how to create a business model, not merely to create a plan.
“Take advantage in a way to be profitable,” Shamim said.
The business model requires being practical, consistent, local, affordable, simple and authentic. Before selling a service or a product, entrepreneurs need to analyze the demographics and trends within the community.
The website compete.com overhauls global trends and consumer behaviors accessible for entrepreneurs and business owners who are addressing a problem to find a solution.
Many participants from different majors shared their businesses ideas in this unique program, first of its kind at ELAC. Others said that they created a partnership to advance in their projects together.
Project ESTEEM supports like-minded people whose desire is driven by a serious entrepreneurial spirit.
In the future, De La Cerda said Project ESTEEM’s vision is to plan and create an entrepreneur center to support students with their small businesses and to implement an entrepreneurship certificate program or a degree for students interested in a Business major.
In the future, he plans to offer a workshop on how to fund a business idea, access capital, and develop a business plan.
“You came into this program seeking advice and support and you’re leaving with much more direction and self-esteem in yourself and dreams,” De La Cerda said.