by Jim Gehman
“We started it because we noticed that there really is no structure of education around entrepreneurship or venture investing, and the two of them, they really kind of go hand in hand,” Colston said.
“Our objective is to have folks that take the course walk out of there and actually feel good about either sharpening their skills as an investor or an entrepreneur or learning the skills to actually be more comfortable to step into the space, take that information and apply it.”
The pilot program took place earlier this year. Beginning with a three-day program at Columbia, it was followed by a four-week online program before concluding with another three-day program on campus. They’ll offer four-day programs in April and June 2019.
“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. That mix of like-minded people that were coming to get the same education for different purposes actually helped create a really interesting room,” Colston said. “I would say it was about 70 percent (of attendees had played in the) NFL. We had one that was an overseas basketball player and we actually had another participant that runs a casino operation out in Las Vegas.
“We wanted it to skew heavy athletes and sports, but it was really the perfect mix of different sports and business people. What that allows is different perspectives to meet in the middle and everyone can kind of grasp the concepts and grasp the education from different perspectives.”
Short of taking part in the programs he’s offering, what advice would Colston give to players transitioning out of the NFL?
“I know the NFLPA and the Trust have put together a pretty good suite of resources,” he said. “If you have access to it, take advantage of it just because there’s a pretty steep learning curve when you transition out. And there aren’t a ton of outside resources that can articulate some of the challenges that you’re going run into.
“So, deal with the resources at your disposal. They’re coming from a perspective that has been vetted, that has been tried and true. Those resources are put in place for a reason. When you can take advantage of those, they help you shorten that learning curve a little bit and you often times are put in rooms and in situations with other like-minded people going through the same thing. And that’s always helpful just to have another person going down a parallel track that you can bounce things off of and kind of have a shared experience.”
Colston, who retired in 2016 following a 10-year career with the Saints, is the also the founder and managing director of the Dynasty Sports Group. Based in Marlton, New Jersey, it works with small to mid-sized companies.
“Digital marketing and business development is kind of what we hang our hat on,” Colston said. “But it’s really a professional services firm that offers a handful of services within the sports, entertainment and media realm. It’s digital marketing, graphic design, web design, business development. We look at digital sponsorship. We do innovation consulting. We help companies figure out ways to operate more efficiently.”