094: Romi Bhatia (The Idea Center)

Romi Bhatia on Innovation City

“Entrepreneurship is not something just rests within the business schools, it is cross-disciplinary.” — Romi Bhatia

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Romi Bhatia, Executive Director of The Idea Center at Miami Dade College. The Idea Center offers a support network for all MDC students and community members to make creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial ideas come true. Romi sits down with the team to discuss the importance of real-world application in a teaching setting, the center’s main teaching methodologies, his passion for economic empowerment, starting Scale Up Miami, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Miami Dade is the largest higher education institution in the country (around 165K students)
  • MDC x Tesla partnership
    • Earn and learn program for students
  • Building more partnerships to help provide resources to students
  • MDC making higher education as affordable as possible
  • The Idea Center is both students and the community
  • Using experiential learning
  • Piloting new courses at the center to get feedback and optimize for the schools to take over and provide to students long term
  • The importance of real-world application in a teaching setting
  • Needing flexible schedules to work around the students who work full time or take a full course load on top of the center’s classes
  • The center runs with an entrepreneurial mindset
  • The center’s main teaching methodologies:
    • Design-Thinking approach
    • Business start-up methodology
    • Business model canvas
  • Trying to disrupt MDC internally since they are such a large organization
  • MDC is part of a business higher education forum that works with 40+ other universities and corporate companies to figure out industry needs
  • Top skills that are in high demand:
    • Creativity
    • Complex decision making
    • Team building
    • Data analytics
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Collaborative learning
    • Project management
  • ⅔ of students work part or full time and about 45% live at or below the poverty line
  • His passion for economic empowerment
  • Starting Scale Up Miami
    • Program focused on helping people in underprivileged communities get access to resources and fundamentals needed to grow their businesses
    • So far, they’ve worked with 75 small business
    • Working towards sustainability for the small businesses to stay in their communities
    • Helping business owners become business leaders
  • MDC is an Ashoka U Changemaker campus
  • Teaching students who want to learn about entrepreneurship- about change making in their communities
  • Reach out to The Idea Center on their website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram
  • Connect with Romi via email