Promoting Entrepreneurship as a Viable Career Option and Supporting New Ventures on Campus: an Economic Imperative
Original post: March 2013
Entrepreneurism is quickly becoming a legitimized and sought after career option among youth as well as an often cited solution to economic challenges world-wide. As such, it is anticipated that interest in entrepreneurship will continue to rise in the coming years increasing demand for programming and creating opportunities for job growth via new ventures. While much attention (policy and programming) has been focused on the pursuit of commercializing research, little has been done on a national or provincial level to nurture and develop the entrepreneurial and innovative talent required to start new ventures and build successful businesses. This paper highlights relevant issues, current activity, and best practices and draws attention to the economic imperative of promoting and supporting the next generations of job creators: entrepreneurs.
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 68% of net new jobs are created by small and medium sized enterprises. A Kauffman Study found most net job creation is generated by firms that are one to five years old. New firms add an average of 3 million jobs in their first year (in the USA), while older companies lose 1 million jobs annually. The reality is that large firms typically shed jobs and new firms - start-ups run by entrepreneurs - drive job growth. Entrepreneurship is an important and increasingly more popular driver of economic activity. Many emerging nations, governments, organizations and institutions see the promotion of entrepreneurism as a viable career option and the teaching of supportive business skills as a competitive advantage and a strategic opportunity not to be missed. Supporting this opportunity is the growing interest by young adults in entrepreneurship as a career choice. See full paper at:
Article Originally Published in Forbes.com, 6/24/2013 @ 10:55AM
Does Entrepreneurship Education Matter? Candida Brush
This is a question that I and my colleagues here at Babson College are frequently asked by the media, entrepreneurs, friends and fellow academics. The number of colleges and universities offering courses has grown dramatically from 253 schools to more than 2600 worldwide (Katz, J., E-web- SLU.edu, 2012; Kauffman Foundation, 2012). With this rise in courses, also comes the question of metrics- how do we know that these courses are effective? The most popular way to measure, based on questions posed by the many rankings organizations, has to do with the number of students “starting a new venture right after graduation”.
In the first place, this the narrowest possible measure of entrepreneurship, and may not in any way reflect the value of entrepreneurial learning. The vast majority of graduates who study entrepreneurship are not likely to start a business until 5 years after graduation. Why? Because they need experience in the industry and practice using their entrepreneurial capabilities. Here at Babson College we teach entrepreneurial thought and action. Students learn how to identify or create opportunities, acquire resources, and build a team to create something of economic and social value. Students learn both learn predictive and creative approaches and practice these behaviors. Even though 100% of our students are required to take entrepreneurship courses, only about 11-15% actually start businesses at graduation. But, our recent alumni survey shows that 5 years out more than 50% are founders, co-founders, or part of a start-up team while 68% think of themselves as entrepreneurs!
In the second place, ‘start –up’ doesn’t capture the other pathways into entrepreneurship. Here at Babson, we believe entrepreneurs can come to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs come to entrepreneurship by buying businesses, acquiring a franchise, commercializing technology, starting a venture within a family, corporation or social enterprise. When these other pathways are considered, we find that 25% of our students are in fact “entrepreneurs” at graduation.
Finally, our alumni survey confirms what we teach about entrepreneurial thought and action. Our graduates are ‘ambidextrous thinkers’- using both creative and predictive approaches in all their work endeavors, whether or not they own their own business. More than 80% report they are highly confident in their ability to think creatively, while 66% report that they are highly confident in their ability to identify and create new business opportunities. This also supports work by my colleagues, Kate McKone-Sweet and Danna Greenberg, who describe entrepreneurial leadership in their book, The New Entrepreneurial Leader.
And so here at Babson College where we have been teaching entrepreneurship since 1978 and have been ranked #1 in Entrepreneurship by most polls for the past 20 years, we find that Entrepreneurship Education MATTERS, but not in the way it is typically measured.
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