Big Ideas & Bold Confidence
Grown at The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the University of Florida (UF) is one of the first specialized entrepreneurship degree programs of its kind. CEI offers the nation’s most comprehensive specialized master’s degree focused on entrepreneurship, with the Thomas S. Johnson Program. In one year students will earn a Master’s of Science Degree with a major in entrepreneurship. Students will learn entrepreneurial theory and practice which they can apply to real-life, real-time consulting for a small business, or for the creation of their own.
The center also offers a Veterans Entrepreneur Program (VEP) a college entrepreneurship program that mirrors the master’s program designed to help disabled veterans. VEP is intended for veterans interested in starting a new venture as a means to financial independence and for veterans who have an existing business for which they would like to increase profits.
Students attending either program will learn to think and approach challenges with an entrepreneurial mindset and learn how to channel that energy for success!
Budding entrepreneurs or individuals seeking to improve the business they currently own or work at, using an “entrepreneurial approach”. Students currently attending the University of Florida or another university who seek something other than a traditional degree program. Students and individuals who have decided that entrepreneurship is the path they wish to follow.
The strength of the program, first and foremost is that it is part of the University of Florida, which in 2013, was designated as the 14th best public university in the United States by News & World Report.
A unique and innovative program–The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the Warrington College of Business Administration, at the University of Florida offers the nation’s most comprehensive specialized degree program in entrepreneurship.
The greatest strength for VEP is that it is free for Veterans who are selected for the program! Costs are underwritten by the sponsors and private donors with operation and program development provided by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the University of Florida.
Value Proposition to Potential Students: In addition to an excellent education, from graduation day on students will be ready to start their own business.
The Prestige of a MSE degree from the University of Florida.
GatorNest: GatorNest, students are able to engage their analytical and creative skills and apply them in unscripted situations, ultimately enhancing the learning process while creating value-added solutions to problems facing early-stage ventures.
Map Your Start Up APP: http://mapyourstartup.co/home/index App that allows students to see other student’s entrepreneur endeavors. The App solidifies results of the program.
Tuition Assistance: The program partners with other in-state and certain southeastern colleges to help offset the cost of tuition.
University of Florida has student financial programs open to all students http://warrington.ufl.edu/graduate/academics/mse/financial.asp#SREB
The school is going to be launching on-line classes in the spring of 2015, presenting an excellent opportunity to open up the program to students everywhere.
There is plenty of room to grow the social media presence of the program from its current state to one that will greatly improve its Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The Branding of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
There are some basic questions that must be asked and answered in order to define the “brand” of “The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.” Taking a cue from Forbes contributor Kate Kiefer Lee, from her 2012 article describing how to define a brands voice will be the first important step we take to connect with potential students.
I suggest we begin there, by asking basic questions regarding the “brand” of the center. Once we identify the answers we can use the findings as the basis for creating content which can be repurposed and used across all social media platforms to reach a larger audience.
Specific Recommendations for CEI’s New & Improved IMC Approach
Clear the Fog — There needs to be a clearer delineation between the school and the program offerings. The logo being used by Warrington is too similar to the WordPress logo and I suggest it be re-branded or updated. I am suggesting the tag line “Big Ideas & Bold Confidence” be utilized throughout all promotional materials and across all social media platforms.
Much more attention and man-hours needs to be invested to grow your on-line community. Currently across all existing social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and the Blog the program is falling short.
Here is a simple solution: Implement a three-month intern type rotation of UF students who are enrolled in the social media master’s program to work as social media managers. The students will gain real-life experience for their resumes, while the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will gain consistent content and professional quality engagement without the costs associated with hiring a seasoned social media company. Employ at least three social media students per rotation in order to improve content and gain consistency.
Expand social media platforms to include LinkedIn, Pinterest and Goggle+. Incorporate a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite to plan content more uniformly. Use Hootsuite Analytics to identify top performing content, best time of day to post, demographics, etc. Test new content across all social media platforms. Mix new “test” content amongst uniform, generic informational posts. Include Infographics, polls, calls to action and contests.
Finally as much as possible the school needs to be as mobile user-friendly as possible. Therefore any content that can be mobilized should be.