The hills of New Hampshire are perhaps the last place one would expect a minority-focused business education program, yet one can be found upon the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover. And it’s been running for three decades.
The Tuck School of Business at the Ivy League college offers two intensive, week-long programs for entrepreneurs — both established and aspiring. One focuses on development and implementation of a customer-focused strategic plan. Both are taught by Tuck professors and corporate guest speakers.
Leonard Greenhalgh, professor of management and faculty director, programs for minority and women-owned business enterprises, points out that the program has been in existence at Tuck since 1980. “The Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s and ’70s had curtailed social discrimination, but it hadn’t done much to foster minority inclusion in the U.S. economy,” he says. “Tuck took the initiative to show that business schools can have a major impact on minority business success.”
Smaller-scale businesses face some common challenges — cash-flow shortages, spending too much time putting out fires and not enough time building a longer-term strategy, and not paying enough attention to customers’ needs. But minority owned businesses face a lack of access to bank loans and operate in ways that reflect their own cultures, says Greenhalgh. “And there are public and private sector supply contract opportunities available to those minority owned businesses that are positioned to secure them,” he says. “Our programs address these issues directly.”
Sessions included Focusing Your Strategy on High Performance/Implementing Your High-Performance Strategy; Statement of Cash Flows, Financial Analysis and Analyzing Your Business; Designing and Implementing Marketing Strategy; and Financing your Business – Preparing Obtaining a Loan.
Rodney Pierce, CEO of Divine Management L.L.C., says he gained better insight into developing strategic plans that maintain some flexibility and offer contingency plans. Pierce, whose East Point, Georgia-based firm provides event management and marketing services, says the Running an Integrated Business session was a timely reminder of the importance of strategic planning. “It is my choice to continue to operate business as usual or to implement new programs and make new investments,” he says. “With each option, I run the risk of losing relevancy in my field by failing to act or of losing revenue by making investments that may not result in the desired return.”
The fee for either program (Building a High-Performing Minority Business or the advanced program now called Growing the Minority Business to Scale) is $4,500 and includes tuition, materials, accommodations, and most meals. The next minority focused business programs are: Building a High-Performing Minority Business, November 14-19, and Growing the Minority Business to Scale in July 2011. For more information on the program, visit http://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/exec/targeted_audiences/minority.html or contact Paula E. Graves, senior minority programs development manager, at 603-646-3740 or Paula.E.Graves@tuck.dartmouth.edu.
Even when times are flush, the value of continually educating yourself is key to success. When the climate is challenging, it’s mandatory.