In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, education is often the catalyst for turning ideas and visions into reality. Such was the case for business owner Kussy Mackenzie.
Through her educational journey at UC San Diego Extended Studies, she not only advanced her existing career in public health but also cultivated an entrepreneurial side gig that she was able to launch as a business startup. Her inspiring story demonstrates the value of education in exploring and activating new directions for personal and professional growth.
A Quest for Knowledge
Mackenzie’s journey into entrepreneurship was anchored by a deep-seated appreciation for education as a way to attain personal and professional growth. No stranger to lifelong learning, she had been cultivating her public health career for some time through dedicated professional coursework.
She completed her certificate program in Spanish for Healthcare Professionals
, as well as Spanish communication courses, to complete the Spanish Language certificate.
“I also work in public health,” shared Mackenzie, “and I've taken courses that really supported that work, for example, healthcare finance courses
When she started thinking about launching a business beyond mere ideas, she turned her sights in the direction of Extended Studies as a place to bridge the gaps in her knowledge. Enrolling in Essentials of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
was a deliberate choice aligned with her aspirations and previous experiences.
“I chose UC San Diego Extended Studies over other institutions, because I've been a student since 2015 and have always been happy with the caliber of the instruction and instructors,” said Mackenzie. “When I heard about the entrepreneurship program, it seemed tailor-made for my business aspirations."
Nurturing Ideas into Reality
The educational takeaways she received in the course weren't theoretical for Mackenzie—they were the blueprint for her entrepreneurial endeavors.
"My objective for enrolling in the entrepreneurship program was personal. The course definitely helped me achieve my goals,” she noted. "I was able to execute the creative thinking process and learn how to create a lean business plan and pitch deck."
These practical learnings seamlessly translated into action, propelling her startup and amplifying momentum. The clarity offered by a concise business vision paved the way for lessons learned in the classroom to make a difference in the real world.
“What was really significant is that I was actually able to apply that to my current startup, which is my sustainable fabric business,” she stated.
Learning Environment and Key Insights
Mackenzie emphasized the enriching structure of the course, praising the instructors for creating a dynamic learning environment that upheld the theme, “Learn how to think, not what to think.”
The varied perspectives and expertise shared by the guest speakers added immense value to the course," she remarked. “The instructors did a good job of bringing in guest speakers that were very informative. They were experts in their fields, and it just brought a different flavor to each course.”
Furthermore, the diversity among her classmates served as a wellspring of insights, offering unique vantage points for overcoming entrepreneurial challenges. The shared experiences, networking, and camaraderie were distinct benefits of the course.
“I also really enjoyed my classmates' focus on different areas of their entrepreneurship journey," she noted. "It was very beneficial to be able to hear others how they're getting through their barriers.”
Paving the Path Forward
The most striking outcome of the course for Mackenzie was how it propelled her sustainable fabric business forward by helping her develop practical assets that could communicate her dream. Creating a business plan that could concisely define and share her vision allowed others to support it.
“One main example is that I got a referral to join the [San Diego] Mesa College Small Business virtual incubator and was selected for that. I am very sure that having my lean business plan, in addition to things like my financial projections, really supported my candidacy for the program,” shared Mackenzie. “Things are really coming to fruition. I want to credit what I learned in the course.”
With her business venture gathering steam, Mackenzie has been able to start thinking about what comes next. With plans to attract subscribers and secure institutional contracts, she’s also keen to continue her learning journey. She’s contemplated more courses to strengthen her business acumen.
Encouragement and Insight
Mackenzie has become a champion for Essentials of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and encourages prospective students to leave their apprehensions at the door. Though the scope and title of the course may seem daunting, it’s a haven for anyone who wants to explore problems and business challenges in a new way.
“Just know you can walk in there with nothing but an idea,” she advised. “It's a very supportive space to get you to whatever goal you’re trying to do with your business. So, don’t be intimidated and just go for it.”
Conclusion: Embracing the Power of Education
Kussy Mackenzie’s story stands as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs, showcasing how education can empower individuals to breathe life into their business visions.
In her words, “
I would highly recommend the Essentials of Entrepreneurship and Innovation course—especially if you need that push to get your idea into action."
Essentials of Entrepreneurship & Innovation provides an introduction to critical knowledge and skills related to creating new business and product ideas. In this course, you will discover new ways of thinking, learn to drive innovative initiatives, and approach business challenges with a fresh perspective. By the end of the course, you will be able to understand the principles and methods of idea generation and development.
Are you a Creative, Disruptor, Manager, Individual Contributor, Changemaker, or...? Whether you are creating something new or want to improve processes in business, projects, or development, this course gives you the tools to view problems in a different way, validate solutions with customer discovery, and pitch ideas to stakeholders.