On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on fostering entrepreneurial ideas with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.
Contrary to what some say, entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily born risk-takers, according to Alan Lish, an executive professor in the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business.
Lish, who has been building businesses for more than two decades, recently spoke to KUHF business reporter Ed Mayberry for an upcoming Bauer Business Focus about what it means to be an entrepreneur and the roles universities should play in fostering entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship is about managing risks, not necessarily taking risks,” Lish said. “It’s a matter of seeing opportunities …and also, knowing your limitations.”
Lish has been involved in every aspect of building a business, from recognizing a need in the market place and pitching an idea to potential investors to marketing and promoting a product and planning an exit strategy. Now, he’s dedicated to teaching what he knows to students at UH Bauer and making UH a hub of entrepreneurial activity across the city and state.
“Universities foster an atmosphere of creativity and taking chances in research,” Lish said, citing several successful business ideas that have originated on college campuses, like Gatorade, a sports drink created by medical researchers at the University of Florida who responded to a request by the Gators football coach to better hydrate players during hot summer practices. The brand is now a fixture of sports culture, symbolizing victory as much as a defense against dehydration.
“My goal is to find and foster that type of entrepreneurship across the university,” he added.
In order to do that, Lish said it’s important to pair students and faculty from different disciplines — for example, business and science — and to educate the university community about how to take an idea and create a thriving business.
The most difficult challenges for would-be entrepreneurs, he said, are articulating an idea, defining the customer base and getting support from others. “In entrepreneurship, if you can’t say it in 30 seconds, no one is going to hear it. And if you can’t convince at least one other person it’s a good idea, maybe it’s not such a good idea.”
Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.