Larry continued his ‘Entrepreneurship as a Force for Good’ series with a visit to Warwick Business School in September.
Speaking to students on the MBA Entrepreneurship module, Larry began by outlining his own entrepreneurial journey, from selling ice-cream as a student in Chicago to founding six niche software houses.
By delivering talks to business majors, Larry aims to influence them to think beyond the bottom line and establish social enterprises. With any form of privilege, whether intellectual or financial, comes responsibility to do something good. His intention is also to influence future business leaders to commit equity to charities and foundations.
From a social perspective, Larry spoke about running the COINS 3 Peaks Challenge for 10 years, establishing Stepping Stones School, and setting up the Cookie Bar. Looking forward, COINS Foundation is aiming to influence the next generation to think differently about poverty, disability and injustice.
The MBA students took the opportunity to ask a series of questions. Topics ranged from generating initial start-up capital to dealing with setbacks, to reasons behind buying businesses, to the legalities surrounding social enterprise. Larry talked about the challenge of making good things happen to his business by surrounding himself with a support system of good people with drive and resilience. Increasingly, Larry plans to give a percentage of his equity yearly to COINS Foundation, and he will encourage his other shareholders to do the same.
The last question came from Deniz Ucbasaran, Professor of Entrepreneurship at WBS, relating to leaving a well-paid secure job and taking the plunge of setting up a business. Larry’s advice to the students was to ask themselves two questions: what’s the worst thing that could happen – and can they live with that situation? He closed the talk by describing the unmatched freedom that comes from being an entrepreneur, stating that it was the best decision he ever made.
Larry will be speaking next at Cranfield School of Management, 31st October 2012.