Close your eyes and think of a small business. Is this business a store in your downtown, or is it a consulting firm you recently employed? Was the business family owned? Or owned by a male or female? Even though we may not realize it, we interact with entrepreneurs daily. These entrepreneurs might own a small business or be developing new ideas. However, they all have one thing in common and that is innovation.
Due to the recession in 2008, many people assumed that the rise of entrepreneurs would come to a halt. Analysts thought that people would stop taking risks in the business world, which inevitably included small businesses. However, the analysts were incorrect. Yes, the recession temporarily decreased the amount of small businesses being created, but less than two years later there was an increase in small businesses. Now it seems as if there are plenty of people who brand themselves entrepreneurs. Some of these people might even be considered social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is when a company is founded for the purpose to somehow eliminate a problem. Their bottom line is not profit, but instead people. With the umbrella of entrepreneurship growing, hopefully over the next years we will see more people wanting to start their own businesses.
To fully understand entrepreneurship one might have to ask, “What is this entrepreneurship thing, anyway?” According to the Harvard Business Review, “entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity of resources controlled.” You must be thinking, why create such an intricate definition for a simple idea? Well, we must remember entrepreneurship not only stands for the “mom-and-pop” businesses, but also represents a variety of other businesses as well. A key word that is vital to this definition is “opportunity”. Entrepreneurs see a need or a chance to expand and they seize it, which is a key characteristic of a successful entrepreneur.
Along with people starting to venture into the entrepreneurial world, schools are also starting to see its value. Many universities and colleges are starting to develop strong entrepreneurial programs within their business schools and wanting students to seize entrepreneurial roles within the school. One strong example of this trend is Babson College’s Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship Program. The college engages freshman to take an introductory course where they get to start their own business. Babson’s program is one of the most successful entrepreneurship programs across the country.
Also following this trend, although for a drastically different reason, there is the Berry College Entrepreneurship Program located in Mount Berry, Georgia. The program at Berry College is still developing; however, it takes students through the full experience of starting their own business over the course of a semester. Even though Berry College’s Entrepreneurship Program is relatively new, the emphasis on entrepreneurship at Berry was a founding principle.
Over a century ago the school was started by a woman entrepreneur, Martha Berry, in the hopes of providing higher education for those who might otherwise not be able to afford it. She created an environment where student work was expected, not a choice, and a “can do” attitude was viewed highly. Now the same attitudes and work ethic are found across campus through Berry’s premier student work program and on campus enterprises. Students at Berry are guaranteed some type of job if they want one, and many work for enterprises that exist within the university campus, which are student run companies. Not only are these programs helping shape future business leaders but they are also teaching students the entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset includes problem solving, perseverance, and the possession of many other real life skills.
Over the past few years, analysts have seen the importance of these smaller entrepreneurial-minded businesses throughout the community. Successful entrepreneurs possess a unique character that combines a problem solving mindset with a strong work ethic. This character has always shaped the way the world sees business, but now it is also changing society. With schools emphasizing these characteristics of entrepreneurship, hopefully it will encourage students to seize an idea to solve a problem and start a business. In the end, perhaps this will lead to a better society and overall, a better tomorrow.
Heley Earl was our 1st Summer intern for the year of 2015, as well as a December Graduate of Berry College Campbell School of Business. To Learn more Click Here