:: Spotlight: Elayne Crain

Posted: April 11, 2011


Life Is Sweet

For local entrepreneur Elayne Crain, the Fall of 2010 was just the right time to start something new and exciting. Elayne took BA 320F - Foundations of Entrepreneurship with University Extension (UEX) to help her launch her own business.

How did you learn about UEX and the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course?

A friend tweeted about the course (on Twitter) and once I saw the description, I was in. The timing was perfect, as I had just started considering leaving my job to start a food-production company, and the price seemed reasonable.

What was your goal in taking courses with UEX?

The idea of learning along with a group of like-minded people (versus just reading books on entrepreneurship, like I was doing at the time), was really appealing to me. I knew I’d be in a room full of diverse ideas, opinions and perspectives.

How did taking the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course at UEX help you to reach your personal and business goals?

Taking the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course with UEX was instrumental to me achieving the goal of starting my first business. I learned to conduct market research, weigh opportunities and write a compelling business plan. And my terrific classmates were, and continue to be, motivating and interesting people to keep in touch with and even work with. As a side note, I think I might point out that I already had both an undergraduate and graduate degree in business before taking this course, but had not had courses in entrepreneurship, specifically. Still, I learned a ton in this class and in areas I hadn’t really focused on before.

What was the class like? Was it what you expected?

The class was amazing, and it was so pleasantly surprising to experience how all of us “gelled” during the discussions and projects we shared. Even though the class is over, we still get together to motivate and support one another on our entrepreneurial journeys.

Was there a particular benefit to taking the course with UEX?

I was working full-time at my previous job and am also a mom, so the convenience of meeting weekly in the evening was key to me. I’m so glad I was able to work this so easily into my schedule, or I might have missed out!

Can you talk about a specific example of something you learned in the course and how you applied it to your business strategy?

Just about everything I learned in class went immediately into the planning and execution of my start-up, Austin Sugarworks. Besides the nuts and bolts type advice I got (which was great), I also went home each night with ideas for the future and a more holistic perspective.

Any advice to hopeful entrepreneurs considering taking the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course with UEX?

My advice to entrepreneurs considering this class (or even just considering entrepreneurship in general) would be, “Take this class!” Not only will you have a priceless opportunity to, step-by-step, build your business idea from the ground up, you will meet a ton of people who are interested in what you are interested in—a whole room full of potential customers, partners or visionaries. It’s really an investment in your dream that will pay you back in more ways than any old book.

Meet Elayne

Elayne discusses entrepreneurism in a video interview by the McCombs School of Business, Bootstrapping: The Key to Sweet Success.

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