Thursday, November 20, 2014

Philanthropy + Internet = Free Entrepreneurship Course

We don't usually publish press releases here at Canadian Entrepreneur.
But this one speaks for itself.

Santa Clara University Receives $10 Million Gift and
Leading Online Entrepreneurship Course Content
To Create the My Own Business Institute and
Expand Global Small Business Education Programs

SANTA CLARA, Calif., — Santa Clara University’s (SCU) Leavey School of Business today announced the generous gift of Phil and Peggy Holland's popular, free, online small business course content and business-training website (, together with $10 million for Santa Clara University to expand and improve the course, and to create the My Own Business Institute (MOBI) and a related fellows program.

“This is a wonderful gift for Santa Clara and our dreams for expanding entrepreneurship education here and around the world.” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “I am grateful to the Hollands because their generosity will help us build on the entrepreneurial spirit of students, startups, and small business owners near and far. The expanded reach of Santa Clara's entrepreneurship education will help provide creative and sustainable economic opportunities for individuals and their communities.”

The Hollands set out to nurture entrepreneurship and help individuals start and build their own businesses following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, and have been the principal funders of MOBI since inception. Mr. Holland, a successful entrepreneur and founder of the Yum Yum Donut Shops, and Mrs. Holland, an accomplished school administrator, principal, and teacher, developed the original course to teach people how to start their own businesses and to support the return of a vibrant, healthy community.

“Much of what motivated the Hollands to create MOBI 22 years ago is what motivates Santa Clara’s business school,” said S. Andrew Starbird, dean of the Leavey School of Business. “We both seek to build stronger communities by creating economic opportunity for everyone in our society.”

Since 2000, when MOBI became the first organization in the world to offer a free, comprehensive, and graded online course on starting a business, more than 40 million people have accessed the website. The course is available in more than 50 countries and 14 languages through partnerships with the World Bank/International Finance Organization and a license to Cisco Systems’ Entrepreneurship Institute.

SCU will use the MOBI platform to help teach entrepreneurs through two existing Santa Clara programs: the California Program for Entrepreneurship, which provides MBA-level courses and mentoring to 25 to 35 California entrepreneurs a year, and the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, which provides support for small businesses in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
A video describing the history of MOBI is available at

About Phil Holland
Mr. Holland is a lifelong entrepreneur. His businesses have included building "spec" houses, the manufacture of automatic doughnut machinery, designing and building apartments, restaurant franchising, doughnut retailing, and the development and management of shopping centers. He founded Yum Yum Donut Shops in 1970 with $5,000 and guided it from a one-shop operation to become the largest chain of privately owned donut shops in the United States. 
Many of the lesson topics in the MOBI courses are based on his experiences in building the Yum Yum chain of stores. Following its sale in 1989, Yum Yum went on to purchase the Winchell chain of donut shops. Mr. Holland received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California.

Monday, November 03, 2014

That Gene Simmons story

My yarn last week on Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons and his new book was a tough one to write.

On one hand, Simmons is a tremendous innovator and entrepreneur in the world of rock and roll. And in reality TV, for that matter. And maybe even Arena Football.

But he doesn't have much value to give to entrepreneurs. And neither does his new book, ME Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business.

As I wrote in my column, the subtitle is the best part of the book.
I don't usually write negative stories. If a book, a person or a company has nothing to offer, provides no new ideas or nothing to learn from, I figure it's generally not worth my time or yours to write about.

After my phone interview with Simmons, which was a negative experience because he had no interest in answering my questions, I debated whether to even write a story on him and his book. In the end, I decided that writing about the intersection of a four-decade rock icon with the new world of entrepreneurship was probably worth while. Especially if it sparks any thoughts or questions about what constitutes an entrepreneur, or inspires someone who had never thought about running their own business to consider taking that path.

So here's the story.
Let me know what you think.