Most of Waynesburg University students, faculty and staff are familiar with the BeeHive on the second floor of Stover. However, there is a new “hive”that will soon be open.The Entrepreneurial Hub for Innovative Ventures and Endeavours [eHIVE] is essentially what the title describes. The leader of this new organization, Melinda Walls, sees the eHIVE as an entrepreneurial hub.
“[The hub is] a center for students, regardless of major, a place where students can come and explore ideas they have with the intention of seeing if they could maybe pursue some type of venture,” Walls said.
Walls specified a purpose in describing the end goal of the program as a ‘venture’ as well as a business. Entrepreneurial success, in her eyes, can range from making a student group more productive to starting a business to running a non-profit organization.
“We are here to encourage creativity and innovative thought in an entrepreneurial mindset,” Walls said.“Everything from period workshops to having speakers in, even having a few campus wide competitions centered around creativity and innovation and just thinking differently.”
This means the eHIVE will become an additional tool for the students to utilize in growing themselves personally, as well as their potential careers, and Walls adds that this isn’t all she plans on making available.
“ [The eHIVE] is also a place for, if you have a business idea and want to pursue it, you can come and receive one-on-one coaching for what you need at the time you need it,” Walls said.“We spend a lot of time focusing on the idea and then the problem the idea is going to solve.”
Walls attributes her knowledge of this process to over a decade’s worth of accumulated experiences and learning curves.
“From what I’ve experienced, the best ideas solve a problem or meet a need. You must fall in love with the problem first, rather than fall in love with the idea,” Walls said.“If you fall in love with the problem, then you’re open to an iterative process for finding a solution. If you fall in love with an idea, you tend to be misalocked in the idea, and very rarely does an idea for a venture look the same as when you started thinking about it than it does now.”
Along with potentially growing a personal venture, Walls is working on a Beginning Entrepreneurial Leadership program, which includes course work, building off the previously existing major and eventually building an entrepreneurial leadership minor.
Walls finds herself passionate about getting students in the entrepreneur mindset, getting hands-on experience in problem solving and fully experiencing “vetting” an idea prior to forming a business. She also sees an increasingly high value in this education for more than just business and entrepreneur majors.
“The world is changing so quickly,” said Walls. “I mean, think about technological innovations that have happened in the past few years. It has totally changed the way we live and work. Extrapolating that forward and the speed with which things change, technology is going to change in the future. The skills we learn for technology now will become obsolete. So some of the most valuable skills a student can learn are entrepreneurial skills.”
The eHIVE’s grand opening will be Oct 5. University President Douglas Lee will cut the red ribbon, and the organization will be ready to go.
Walls plans on being in the office during the afternoons, and is working on hiring a student worker to cover prime times Monday through Thursday. Any questions about the program or appointment requests can be emailed directly to Walls at email@example.com.