“Of course you can teach entrepreneurship, but the real question[…] is who can you teach it to?” “I believe that you can only teach it to the segment of the population who raise their hand and desperately want to learn it” – Steve Blank

On Friday, March 14th over 100 entrepreneurs, students, academics, government employees and investors came out to a fireside chat given by Steve Blank. During the chat he provided valuable insights into entrepreneurship, education and regional development.

Steve Blank is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded or participated in eight Silicon Valley startups. Of these startups, four have gone public. After 21 successful years in the business world, he retired and wrote Four Steps to the Epiphany and The Startup Owner’s Manual. He also developed the Lean Launchpad canvas and is credited as one of the primary instigators of the Lean Startup movement. Steve teaches entrepreneurship to both graduate and undergraduate students at U.C. Berkeley, Columbia University, Stanford University, Caltech and University of California San Francisco.

He appeared as part of Canada’s Business Model Competition. The competition is a two-day event in which 17 teams from across Canada competed for a $50K prize package from Deloitte. The first place winner, a software startup called Teknically from Wilfred Laurier University, will advance to the International Business Model Competition at Brigham Young University, in Provo Utah.

The purpose of the fireside chat and of the conference is to help educate and empower passionate and energetic students to build a better world by contributing solutions to societal challenges and in the process creating companies and jobs to drive the Canadian economy forward.

Steve Blank’s fireside chat accomplished this mission in spades. Attendees had some pretty interesting takeaways that will help them in moving forward their venture:

"Entrepreneurship in a region is a long time game […] and never unfolds as planned" – @sgblank@dalstartinglean#cbmc14

— Colin Conrad (@CD_Conrad) March 14, 2014

"Business plans are the best forms of creative writings" – @sgblank#cbmc14#startup

— Joseph Teo (@JosephTeoLS) March 14, 2014

Advice from @sgblank – you might want to beat up the investors a little and ask "what is YOUR criteria"? #cbmc14@DalManagement

— Megann Willson (@DalMgmtFac) March 14, 2014

There is no way you can be smarter than the collective intelligence of your potential customers – @sgblank#cbmc14@DalManagement

— Panoptika Partners (@panoptika) March 14, 2014

*Written by Thomas Battle, with contribution from Philip Mai