It was not too long ago that you went to college and got a job, or you went to college and then became an entrepreneur, or you dropped out of college to become an entrepreneur, or you just became an entrepreneur without any college.
How things have changed! Increasing numbers of colleges are taking entrepreneurship seriously. First, it was just a trickle, a novel entrepreneurship course here and there among schools. Then some colleges began to create minors and even majors in entrepreneurship. Today, the academic trend is accelerating as the supply tries to keep up with the demand. Su Bacon, writing for The Kansas City Star, gives some examples (“Schooled In Startups” November 5, 2013, pp. C1, C6, C7):
“Five years ago, the College of Business [University of Kansas] introduced a major in entrepreneurship. ‘It is now the fastest growing major on campus,’ said Chad Jackson, interim director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. ‘We have a waiting list for all classes.’ When a minor was offered to non-business students in 2012, more than 150 students applied for 40 openings in two days.” (p. C6)
Partially due to the economy, partially due to the fun and challenge of entrepreneurship, and partially due to some of the massive undulations throughout the workforce, workers and students alike are taking a fresh look at being an entrepreneur. I see three very smart parties here:
Students. Students are smart to seek a formal education in entrepreneurship. If they graduate college and immediately start a business, the academic training will be invaluable. If they delay their entrepreneurial dreams while working for another company, their knowledge will have taught them to think like a business owner, automatically adding value for their current employer while still preparing them for their future startups.
Workers. Workers are smart to consider the entrepreneurial route because they realize they might be handed their pink slip at any time. Although the entrepreneurial route is not for everyone, at least having that option in your back pocket will be another career resource if the unexpected happens.
Colleges. Academic institutions are smart to recognize and respond to this growing entrepreneurial trend. The smartest schools are the ones who read the demographics and trends, and adjust their offerings accordingly. I am especially happy to see how higher education is responding. I have seen too many people become entrepreneurs with insufficient training and experience, and fail miserably. I believe they would have done so much better with some focused academics behind them.
Students, workers, and colleges all come out winners on this one.