Select an entrepreneur or intrapreneur to interview. If you need suggestions on how to find an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, or how to ask them for an interview, please let Prof Segares know!
Conduct the interview, asking 8-12 questions. (See list at the end of the assignment for suggested questions.)
Record the audio of the interview.
After the interview, listen to the audio recording and write a transcript sharing the entrepreneur/intrapreneur answers to each of your questions.
Write a biography of the entrepreneur/intrapreneur (based on your questions or information you’ve found online or elsewhere) and a reflection addressing the questions listed below.
An APA formatted written report in MS Word is required. Please note, you have access to MS Word through your SFC One Drive Account. If for some reason you can not access MS Word then you need to discuss with the instructor at least one (1) week before due date.
Table of Contents
Reference Page (as applicable)
Appendix – which could include images of the interviewee’s business or products
The body of the report should include:
An introductory 1-2 paragraphs providing biographical details about the entrepreneur/intrapreneur
A list of the questions and responses from the interview – submitted in transcript format ( see example : http://www.u.arizona.edu/~kimmehea/purdue/421/exampleinterview.htm (Links to an external site.))
A 300-450 word reflection on what you learned from the interviewee selection process and the interview that answers the following questions:
What was the most inspiring or helpful information you learned from the interview?
What is the biggest challenge facing the entrepreneur right now? What insights do you have about this challenge?
How does what you learned from the interview apply to entrepreneurship in general? (Think about the entrepreneurial mindset, creativity, innovation, identifying opportunities, and other course topics.)
Inside An entrepreneur’s Mind
Table of Contents
Inside An entrepreneur’s Mind
Interviewee: Mr. Frank Cohen, the founder, and CEO of El Classico Inn, a high-end restaurant located in downtown Chicago.
Interview setting: The interview was carried out during the morning hours of Saturday, October 3, 2020, in the CEO’s office stationed at St. St. Andrew plaza, which houses El Classico Inn.
Relationship with the interviewee: I met Mr. Cohen during my primary school days when he came to pick his son, my friend. I have interacted with Mr. Cohen on several occasions during my visits to his son.
Mr. Frank Cohen is an American of Jewish descent. He was born in December 1978 to Mr. Meyer Cohen, a Jewish immigrant, and Mrs. Emma Amelia, a native American. His upbringing in Evanston, one of the suburbs in Illinois Chicago, played a significant role in shaping him into an entrepreneur. When he was just seven years old, his parents divorced. His father remarried a few months later but was later charged with violence and deported. Frank had to stay with her mother, who relied on menial jobs to put food on the table. His life before joining university was quite a tough one. From a very young age, he could not sit pretty but had to think and come up with ways of supplementing his mother’s effort. The Roosevelt University graduate and father of two was an IT support staff at a security firm in downtown Chicago until early 2018 when he quit starting his own hotel business.
Student: What motivated to venture into business, and why did you choose hospitality specifically?
Mr. Cohen: Well, I used to work as an IT expert for a security firm in downtown Chicago. Every lunchtime, my colleagues and I had trouble finding what to eat. Not because there were no restaurants, but because the available restaurants were not preparing our preferred food, or if they were, the customer service was just so pathetic you would not want to go back the next day. That is how I saw an opportunity in the hotel industry.
Student: Did you face any form of backlash when you were starting?
Mr. Cohen: Quite a lot. I was in a thriving career path. I had had three promotions within two years. Those around me could not internalize how one would leave such an established career for the business world’s uncertainties.
Student: Did you try to persuade them to support you.
Mr. Cohen: Of course, you try to speak sense into them, do not just rubbish their advice. However, whatever their take is, that was not going to make me change my mind. My childhood hardships taught me one thing that I find very relevant to entrepreneurship; we only prosper through risk-taking and stand by our decisions no matter the criticism it may attract. The result will prove your critics wrong.
Student: Thank you so much for your time.
Mr. Cohen: Welcome.
The most inspiring information I learned from the interview is that; Even, it is prudent to plan your career path, we should not let it prevent us from identifying opportunities around us or taking risks that may work out for our good.
The biggest challenge Mr. Cohen is facing at the moment is uncertainty over the success of the business occasioned by the current state of the pandemic. The government’s lockdowns and other containment measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 have had a direct impact on his business operations. The business’ cash flow has significantly been interrupted, and at some point, the business could hardly meet its operating costs.
Dealing with uncertainties is one of the common challenges of entrepreneurship. The business environment is quite dynamic, and every day comes with its share of challenges (Laura, 2020). The best way to address this challenge is to have a well laid out contingency plan (Laura, 2020). A contingency plan is a structured course of action that is put in place to help an organization respond effectively to unforeseen future risks (Rouse, n.d.). It entails identifying potential risks, identifying preventive measures, and formulating recovery strategies to aid a quick and effective recovery in case of any disruptions (Rouse, n.d.). Since some risks like the pandemic are less predictable yet their impact is so severe, entrepreneurs could consider insuring their businesses against such.
What I learned from this interview applies to entrepreneurship in several ways in terms of the entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset is the set of skills that one needs to identify opportunities, overcome challenges, and achieve success in implementing the ideas identified (Entrepreneurial Mindset, n.d.). One such skill that I learned from Mr. Cohen is flexibility and adaptability, which calls for one to be able and willing to change their plans and actions (Entrepreneurial Mindset, n.d.), including deviating from their planned career path to take up a new venture. Another skill directly related to what I learned here is the ability to accept risk comfortably. As an entrepreneur, one needs to have the capacity to forge ahead with a decision they have made despite any uncertainties and challenges that may present themselves in the way (Alton, 2016). The ability to identify opportunities is another key skill I learned. Entrepreneurs need to view the problems they face and experience as an opportunity they can seize to provide the requisite solution (Entrepreneurial Mindset, n.d.). Despite having a planned career path, Mr. Cohen refused to let it be a comfort zone. Instead, he felt it necessary to offer a solution to the problems he experienced.
Alton, L. (2016, February 2). 5 things every entrepreneur should know about risk-taking. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270320
Entrepreneurial Mindset. (n.d.). https://www.nfte.com/entrepreneurial-mindset/#:~:text=An%20entrepreneurial%20mindset%20is%20a,in%20a%20variety%20of%20settings
Laura. (2020, September 4). What are some of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurship? Women who Money. https://womenwhomoney.com/challenges-of-entrepreneurship/
Rouse, M. (n.d.). Contingency plan. whatis.com. https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/contingency-plan#:~:text=A%20contingency%20plan%20is%20a,expected%20results%20fail%20to%20materialize
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