For a long time I’ve felt that the future of entrepreneurship in the United States is very bright. Contrary to many that feel this nation is headed toward an economy based on mega-corporations and giant conglomerates, I’ve always believed that the key to a strong national economy is a growing and prosperous small business sector base. A balance of both large and small businesses is generally a sign of a well oiled economy.
Certainly there will be consolidation in some business marketplaces, especially those where economies of scale dictate that large companies are the most efficient producers of products for the masses. But to me, at least, this is the age for entrepreneurs of all types that specialize in small niche markets. These are the types of product and service providers that don’t need mass followings and huge output to be successful. Small online companies can thrive on less than 1,000 customers if they pay attention to their customer desires.
Of course, an important element of small business is the solo entrepreneur, the one-person company that can dominate a very narrow and focused niche with a business built on the delivery of unique, fresh and detailed information.
There are signs all around that bear out the importance of young people, college students and otherwise, getting opportunities to learn about and prepare for careers in small business that they can one day create and operate.
It was titled: “Entrepreneurship Programs Continue to Expand” (by Jasmine D. Adkins) and the message was that many colleges (1,600 nationwide) are now offering course work in entrepreneurship according to a study released from the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Indiana University.
There has been a 500%+ growth in the number of colleges offering entrepreneurship courses and training over the past 20 years or so.
It would seem logical (although I don’t know this for sure) that courses have been added to the college curriculum in response to demand for such subjects by the students themselves. It would be difficult for business departments and business schools at the university level to ignore the role that entrepreneurship plays in the lives of college graduates at this point in time.
Apparently, students are eager to learn from university faculty that have, themselves, started businesses . . . but also have academic teaching credentials that enable them to pass along the “do’s and don’ts” of a successful business startup!
These colleges are not business incubators designed to spin off successful small companies; rather, most have a strong academic slant with natural and strong ties to other internal university academic programs.
In many of these colleges betting on small business, successful entrepreneurs are serving on boards and as mentors to assist in the classroom with real-life experiences and some are being encouraged to make contributions to endowments which help fund the program and provide scholarships for young entrepreneurs.
Giving back to the business community by mentoring and teaching the skills learned over a lifetime of operating a small business is a great way for any business person to pass on a legacy of professionalism and knowledge that will be of great worth to all like-minded students.
In addition, I think you will see more and more retired business people donating their wisdom and business experience to young learners who want to go to work for themselves following graduation, especially in light of the hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) of graduating seniors that annually can’t find employment in their fields or chosen degrees.
To your online business success!