Hotelie Magazine

Hotelie Fall 2011 no class notes

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Center/Institute News F by Glenn Withiam The learning of entrepreneurship or Neil Tarallo, the new executive director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE), entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business: it's a way of think- ing, a way of life, a philosophy. He emphasizes that entrepreneurship is not an inborn trait, but a learned behavior that can be taught. As such, entrepre- neurship can be approached as an aca- demic discipline through a combination of course work and experiential learning opportunities. Tarallo has big plans for entrepreneurship education here, and he is busily putting them into practice. At the core of this effort is the PIHE staff and an academic team that includes senior lecturer Susan Fleming, adjunct assistant professor Adam Klausner, and lecturer James Quest '56, who has also served as an entrepreneur in residence. The team is being joined by two executives in residence for 2011- 12: Jacob Wright, president and CEO, Action Companies, and Elizabeth Ngonzi, MMH '98, founder of Amazing Taste, LLC. Rounding out the team will be the students themselves, as Tarallo wants to create a student advisory board in addition to the PIHE's existing advi- sory board, which has strong alumni representation. The support of Lee Pillsbury '69 has been the "icing on the cake," as Tarallo put it. "As I discussed my plans with Lee, he said simply that he wants to see us give our students as many opportuni- ties as possible to learn about and expe- rience entrepreneurship. His support is instrumental in creating this vision of a two-facet approach." Tarallo and the PIHE team are analyzing and developing two approach- es to entrepreneurship education simul- taneously. For the classroom, he is planning an academic concentration in hospitality entrepreneurship for 2012. The team has reviewed all current courses to ensure consistency through- out the curriculum and consider ways to expand course offerings. For the practice element, he is always looking for ways for students to participate in entrepreneurial activities. "We want to make sure our students have as many opportunities as possible to put this classroom learning into practice," he said. "Because being an entrepreneur is a behavior, PIHE supports the class- room by giving our students opportuni- ties to try out that behavior." The two-facet approach to entrepreneur- ship is a natural for Tarallo, who stud- ied entrepreneurship at Syracuse University and operated his own busi- nesses, including a quick-print shop and the well regarded Ithaca Photo stores of a previous era. He participated in developing SU's top-ranked entrepre- neurship program. Tarallo is clear that he hopes to hear about entrepreneurial activity from students and alumni. "We want to know who is starting a business and how they are doing," he said. "Not only are we interested in how well our graduates are doing, but we also consider this to be one measurement for the success of our program." Eventually, Tarallo wants the PIHE to maintain a database of students and alumni who have launched businesses, with a goal of con- necting current students with those business operators. "We want to create an incubator for entrepreneurial oppor- tunity," he said. The PIHE program will reach beyond campus with Empowerment through Entrepreneurship, a program that Tarallo pioneered at Syracuse and has moved to Cornell. A new course will allow students to study South African entrepreneurial activity and then study for six weeks at Stellenbosch University, near Cape Town. During Neil Tarallo that time, the students will form teams to work with disadvantaged entrepre- neurs in the townships. "We have now been invited to expand the program to Rwanda," he said. Another program that Tarallo has brought to Cornell is the Entrepreneur- ship Boot Camp for Disabled Veterans (EBV), a multi-university program that he brought to Syracuse in 2007. Cornell has already hosted 20 veterans in EBV for a week of training. The program also gives the participants mentors for the next couple of years. The new concentration in entrepreneur- ship will look not just at for-profit startups but also for entrepreneurial activities within corporations and opportunities for social entrepreneur- ship. Tarallo promises that the development process will be "truly stu- dent-driven": "Students are our cus- tomers, and we want to make sure that we create opportunities and program- ming that take advantage of what they really want." Hotelie 45 Robert Barker, UPhoto

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