For the second year, one of our alumni, Rockford Weitz is supporting entrepreneurial students, alumni, and faculty as Fletcher’s Entrepreneur Coach in Residence.  Through planned activities and his scheduled office hours, Rocky is bringing entrepreneurship to the front of student career planning.

Here (from an email to the community) is how Rocky describes his role at Fletcher:

What is Entrepreneurship?

Good question.  Entrepreneurship means different things to different people.  I define entrepreneurship as “problem solving with limited resources and an unclear path forward.”  By this definition, most of you will likely be entrepreneurs at some point during your career.

The entrepreneurial approach works well in many Fletcher career trajectories, including social entrepreneurship, tech-driven entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship (using entrepreneurship techniques to succeed as a change agent in large organizations in the private, public, non-profit, intergovernmental and academic sectors).

Fletcher students and alumni have launched and scaled numerous enterprises, including non-profits, technology startups, and new offices within larger organizations, such as the United Nations or the U.S. State Department.

Entrepreneur Coaching

As Entrepreneur Coach, I help Fletcher students, faculty, staff and alumni:

  • Connect with potential customers, potential investors and service providers that could help aspiring Fletcher entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable enterprises.
  • Think through business, social, and policy ideas where entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship could be part of the solution.
  • Create business plans, go-to-market strategies, and presentations to potential customers and investors.

There are two events today linked to entrepreneurship at Fletcher.  First, Rocky will be providing an “Overview of the Tufts and Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”  He describes it as:

At this event, I will provide an overview of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support network available at Fletcher, Tufts, and the Greater Boston area.  Topics will include startup prizes (such as Fletcher D-Prize and Tufts $100K), startup accelerators, including those that do not take equity (such as MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, located in downtown Boston) and other support resources for aspiring entrepreneurs (such as Demeter, FinTech Sandbox, District Hall, and the Venture Cafe).  Special attention will be given to resources available to aspiring social entrepreneurs and those Fletcherites interested in entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship in emerging markets.

Later in the day, Gerry Ford, F84, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Caffè Nero will speak on “The Journey of an Entrepreneur: From Start-up to Billion Dollar Company.”  Here’s the description of his talk:

Gerry Ford is Chairman and Chief Executive of Caffè Nero Group Limited, Europe’s largest independent coffee house group.  Gerry founded Caffè Nero in 1997.  He later listed Caffè Nero on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2001-2007.  In 2005, Dr. Ford was named the UK’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Financial Times and The London Stock Exchange.  In 2007, Gerry took Caffè Nero private and today he remains the majority shareholder of the company. Currently, Caffè Nero has more than 5,500 employees in 700 stores across seven countries.  The company continues to open at a pace of a new store every four days somewhere in the world. Dr. Ford has a BA from Stanford University, a MALD from The Fletcher School/Tufts University, a MBA from INSEAD and a PhD from Oxford University.  He sits on the boards of several consumer goods businesses throughout Europe and the USA, and is a frequent speaker internationally on the topics of developing consumer brands and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is an area that has long interested Fletcher students, many of whom wish to start their own organizations.  Having Rocky Weitz has increased the available resources, both through his time and the activities that result from his residency here.

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