From 1980 to 2005, all net job creation in the United States came from startup companies less than five years old, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation. Panelists at the "Innovation and America's Future" Forum saw entrepreneurship as the key component of a thriving economy.
Monday marked the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative launched by the Kauffman Foundation in 2008 to link budding entrepreneurs with prospective mentors, investors and partners. The program's high-profile supporters include entrepreneurs Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes, Russell Simmons of Def Jam Records, and Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. Mycoskie and Simmons are American, which underscores a point made by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in her keynote speech at the forum. Our country was built on a tradition of entrepreneurship and innovation, and this tradition holds promise for the future.
The question of whether entrepreneurship could be taught was posed by an audience member. In response, panelist Robert Templin, CEO of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), said that the college "asks students who've never considered starting their own business to do something they've never imagined." NOVA has a program in place to help foster entrepreneurship, but Templin acknowledged the challenges associated with getting entrepreneurs to meet with students.
Teaching entrepreneurship in schools and colleges is not a new idea. However, the notion of innovation as a path toward bolstering the economy may be a reason to drive resources and attention to high school and college programs with an entrepreneurial focus. Collaboration between businesses, government and education is critical if we want to elevate the importance of teaching innovation.
Given that companies including Microsoft, Krispy Kreme, Johnson & Johnson and Disney were all founded during weak economies, the question should not be whether entrepreneurship can be taught, but how soon entrepreneurship can be integrated into education and workforce development programs.
We'd like to hear your thoughts. What role does entrepreneurship play in terms of the future of the economy?
This article available online at: