"I want to share real life experiences with the students"

Interview with Patrick Meunier, teacher of Entrepreneurship: What Do You Need to Know? course.

– Could you say a few words about your background? 

I obtained an agriculture engineering degree from France, a Master in Economics and an MBA from the USA. After working as an export manager for a French company and as a consultant for the World Bank, I founded Biort-USA in 1998; a company that offers innovative technologies in the domain of environment (water treatment, compost, etc.).  Since 2011, Professor Bermudez (Oregon State University) and I have developed and marketed a range of innovative products in the field of animal health care including new alternatives to antibiotics and tuberculosis vaccines This collaboration led to the development of activities and partnerships in China and the opening of opportunities in the cosmetic business called Paris Leaf. We hope to produce and launch this line of products, in Hungary.  this summer. I’ve been serving the French government as Consultant in Foreign Trade for over 20 years. I live in Oregon, a state that is within the epicenter of innovations. Almost all recent innovations affecting our life come from the San Francisco, Denver, Seattle triangle. I truly enjoy teaching and meeting students. There is nothing nicer than sharing my experiences with this young generation who will be responsible for building a better world. They understand the challenges that our world is facing, and they will make important changes. 

– What do you think matters most for a successful enterprise?

The answer is simple: “the entrepreneur”. We can have the best technology and the best product, but if we do not have the entrepreneur with the vision and dedication to make it happen, nothing will materialize. A bad product with a good team will always out-compete a bad team with a good product. To quote General Eisenhower: “a Plan is nothing, Planning is Everything”. 

– How is your course related to the academic courses students normally take?

I love teaching and I love sharing my professional experiences. I am not an academic or a professional teacher. I want to share real life experiences with the students. This class will synthesize a good deal of the material taught in Marketing, Accounting, Finance and Management classes. For students with a limited background there will be an introductory document shared about Business Plan components, which includes everything students need to know to take this course. We will also work on persuasion; a project will not advance if it is not persuasive, and no one is convinced.

– You appear to put a great emphasis on students’ participation.

Yes, student participation is essential. Benjamin Franklin stated: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” By sharing our experiences and having everyone involved, we will learn. On the topic of Business Plan and Business Strategy, there are no right or wrong answers, and there is a clear need to persuade different stakeholders.  I expect the students to be challenged during the class, because that provides an optimum learning experience.

– If there is one thing student should take away from your course, what is it?

Yes, students must be in charge of their own career and life. They should not be passive but must seize the opportunities to excel.