Cornelia Huellstrunk’s blog about the lack of entrepreneurial education at Universities identifies an obvious truth that would benefit our society. Her opinion is that universities are the missing link in entrepreneurship. It is beneficial for our economy (job creation) to encourage startups, yet there is a lack of education of entrepreneurship at universities.
I chose this blog because I hope to start my own business someday, but I just don’t know how. I am a Civil Engineering and Management major, not because I enjoy the math and science behind building a bridge or aspire to manage some company, but because I wanted to learn how to solve problems creatively. Many organizations hire engineers because of the way they think. A common critique of most engineers, however, is that they do not have a business mindset and they do not know how to communicate well. My management degree was how I planned to overcome these notions. Hopefully this education can lead me to create something unique, but how to implement it properly is an important question that I was never taught.
I wish there was more education on entrepreneurship at Bucknell. It seems to me that following that career path is viewed as something people happen to stumble upon or something they choose to do in addition to their “real” job. The Small Business Development Center at Bucknell University offers help to those who have an interest in starting their own business, but it is just a small office hidden in the back of some academic building. It actually took me a few years to realize it even existed. Their main contributions they offer are:
- Seminars and Workshops – generally costing $20-$75 and offered during class hours (Occasionally have free workshops offered at night)
- Consulting Services to help start your own business
- State competition during the semester that requires business plans and presentations (in addition to your class work)
I want to participate in the competition, but I cannot dedicate the necessary time that is needed because my work load is hard enough to juggle. I went to one of the night workshops they offered, and over 90% of the attendees were either professors or local business owners. The leaders of the program were excited to see a few students because it was out of the ordinary I guess. I wished they offered classes that teach the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and are catered to students.
It is disappointing how few colleges offer entrepreneurial studies as a major. Carl Shramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, says that “fifty-four percent of the nation’s Millennials either want to start a business or already have started one,” and that “entrepreneurship is the key to reviving the economy.” The foundation also gives a good summary of the economic effects of startups. It is unfortunate that most people do not start a business because they just do not know how to go about doing it. If entrepreneurship is a solution to our economy’s failures, then why aren’t more institutions offering education in its practice? How could we be so far behind in this concept? I have many college friends who have great business ideas, but are too afraid of the risks and the additional energy needed to start it properly. If people were more educated on the process, they would not be so reluctant to take the risk. Huellstrunk said, “What better place than a university to develop and foster entrepreneurial dreams at limited risk?”
I appreciate the concept of the Small Business Development program at Bucknell, but there is no emphasis on it. It is a great resource, but what good is it if there isn’t a decent curriculum dedicated to it? Bucknell seems to view it as an extra cirricular activity that a few students may want to pursue. It is just another thing for them to check off their lists as another program they added to their own resume.