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Thu, March 29, 2018

Welcome to the GIG ECONOMY - NOW is the Time to THINK LIKE AN OWNER

A recent study by Intuit predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers will make their living as independent contractors. This shift in the culture of commerce, called the “gig economy,” suggests that alternative work arrangements, such as contract work, project management, and freelancing, will soon become the norm for millennials and Generation Z.

What does a gig economy mean for business students in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration? For Dr. Mike Stull, professor and director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE), it means that understanding the psychology and philosophy of entrepreneurship will be the key to future success.

“Most people think entrepreneurship is just about starting a business,” explains Stull. “It’s not. It is really about a mindset, a way of looking at things as they are and applying innovative principles and practices to pursue opportunities in any context.”

According to Stull, entrepreneurship is all about creating value where none existed before. “In the gig economy, everyone has to be entrepreneurial,” says Stull.

Dr. Susie Pryor, associate professor of entrepreneurship, agrees. She says that CSUSB’s new brand, “We Define the Future!” implies action. “Employers want employees who can be creative and provide an innovative advantage.” In other words, it is not enough to be a passive worker just punching a time clock. To be successful, an employee needs to add value to an organization. Stull calls this, “think like an owner.”

One CSUSB graduate who made “think like an owner” his operating mantra is Brandon Gleason. A 2010 graduate of the entrepreneurship program, Gleason swiftly moved up the ranks of the Bridgestone Corporation to become the Director of Operations, overseeing 110 Firestone stores throughout Southern California. “Everything I learned in entrepreneurship—the holistic perspective, thinking like an owner and understanding how it all comes together—is what has made the difference for me,” says Gleason.

Stull sees opportunity everywhere, which is why he initiated the Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows program. In two short years, the program has helped faculty from other colleges on campus create new initiatives and certificate programs.

“Entrepreneurship can transform this campus,” says Stull. “We have faculty who want to do great things and they have great ideas. They just need the encouragement, support and the tools to break through.” Stull emphasizes that the role of his team is to first help faculty with conversation starters—what is working? What could be better? Then, they work on the practical knowledge—the “how to” steps necessary to make innovative changes.

Ultimately, whether one is a student or a faculty member, it all comes down to one thing in the gig economy—learning to think like an owner.