For a Harvard Allston Entrepreneurship Portal

Harvard's presentation at Wednesday's Task Force meeting devoted significant time to the concept that Harvard would offer programs and services that would be relevant to business owners and potential business owners in Allston. While Harvard showed us a PowerPoint slide with the logos of many organizations the might be part of this endeavour, there were few (if any) real details provided.

One suggestion from the Allston community, that I think has a lot of merit, is that Harvard should more past generalities and develop a business plan for this Harvard Allston Entrepreneurship Portal. The plan would include a staffing plan, budget and funding information, programming plan, outreach plan, and the other details that a Harvard professor would expect from a Harvard Business School student.

As it so happens, over the next few months Harvard Business School is running its annual business plan contest. The best and brightest from across Harvard's many schools will be developing plans for new businesses, and the contest even has a Social Venture Track "to educate HBS students in the process of creating and evaluating new ventures that have a central focus on the creation of social value".

It is easy to say that 125 Western Ave might be a satellite office for SCORE. It takes some (but not too much) work to contact Harvard alumni to get a rough idea of how many would be willing to serve as volunteer mentors for businesses in Allston. Then it takes a bit more work to figure out how many businesses might be mentored at any one time, how many hours per month of mentoring each business will receive, how businesses will apply to join the program, etc.

So here is an opportunity that would benefit both the Harvard students who would develop such a plan and the Allston business owners who would be part of the eventual program. Will Harvard embrace the opportunity and its two-way synergy?

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