Published: Jan. 20, 2021 By

Meet Brad Werner, Faculty Director and Instructor of Entrepreneurship at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. He is also co-host of the Creative Distillation Podcast (season 2 out now!) Each episode focuses on a recent entrepreneurial study and highlights how the academic research is valuable to not only students, but the broader startup community.Brad Werner

Brad received his MBA at the University of Chicago and has been an entrepreneur his entire life. He shared that he has never had a job interview, but has served in a variety of roles from CEO and Co-founder to Capital Partner!

After moving to Boulder, Brad reached out to the university. With decades of broad business experience, he saw that his skill set could be transferable. When he was an entrepreneur, there weren’t any entrepreneurship classes and the way he learned was “getting the crap beat out of him” as Brad puts it.

Statistics show that 90% of new ventures fail, so Brad thought to take this failure and use it to understand what makes a new venture successful. He believed that if our university is able to teach best practices, we can give the students a much greater chance for success. This also gives our students a competitive edge because they don't have to experience entrepreneurship through trial and error.

Global Entrepreneurs Session

Brad had the pleasure of working closely with Tara O’Brien, New Venture Challenge Program Director for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team at CU Boulder. Tara asked Brad to be part of one of the four programs she was running. He spoke to a group of Russian entrepreneurs scattered across the world through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. As part of the American Councils for International Education, this group works to empower individuals and institutions to address challenges in a diverse and interconnected world. 

Brad was fortunate enough to be able to speak on the topic of “Negotiations in Difficult Conversations” and the two had an incredible session. Brad shared some of the main takeaways from the session:

1.     Some of the business tools we often take for granted in the United States aren’t readily available throughout the world.

2.     There is significant similarity between entrepreneurs in this community across the world. He discussed that we all have the same issues such as how do we get our message across or how do we create a culture where everybody’s views are treated equally. These are things that our faculty at CU Boulder incorporate into the classrooms and can also be applied to business practices. 

3.     It was great to hear from entrepreneurs across the globe that were all in different stages of the entrepreneurial process.

How to get Involved

As Faculty Director of the Deming Center, Brad wanted to share a few ways for students to get involved! 

“Whether you are in the business school or not, starting with the Deming Center is a great choice. Someone there can help guide you towards resources based on your interests! Don’t hesitate to reach out.” 

Visiting our website and signing up for our weekly e-newsletter, The Pulse is one way to stay connected with the Boulder ecosystem. You can also email Brad directly at Walter.Werner@Colorado.EDU for any questions.  

Advice for Current Students 

“Nothing happens if you don’t act. Until you take that first step to get involved, nothing is going to happen. I believe the first step is the most difficult one. Even through COVID times, there are lots of resources and organizations that are fully functioning. Reach out to the Deming Center and take that leap!”

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