The case for campus entrepreneurship support
Stephen Daze / September 16, 2012
It’s no surprise that global leaders are increasingly looking at entrepreneurship as a way to grow jobs and stimulate economies. The fact is, approximately 68% of net new jobs are created by small and medium sized enterprises. The reality is that large firms shed jobs and new firms – startups run by entrepreneurs – drive job growth. The question becomes: What are we doing to stimulate interest in entrepreneurship and provide support to entrepreneurs? Some would see this as an opportunity not to be missed.
Supporting this opportunity is the growing interest by young adults in entrepreneurship as a career choice. A Kauffman-funded study of youth aged 8-21 cites 40% of respondents as interested in entrepreneurship as a career option. In the past few decades, we’ve seen this play out at colleges and universities with the number of entrepreneurship courses rising dramatically. A 2009 study by Professor Menzies of Brock University points to a 33% increase in the number of entrepreneurship courses between 2004 and 2009. And this wasn’t just the beginning of the entrepreneurship wave, the previous 20 year’s growth rate tallied in the hundreds.
More than just courses, we see an increase in the number of University and College based entrepreneurship centers along with the capacity to support students in their entrepreneurial ventures. We see everything from fully-funded and staffed physical centres offering a full range of services to virtual clusters of non-coordinated and informal entrepreneurship support activities.
The message is clear: entrepreneurs create jobs and stimulate economies. Students’ interests are driving growth in the area of entrepreneurship education and this growth is providing strategic advantage for recruitment efforts and fund-raising activities. What better place to leverage this important economic lever than in supporting start-up activity on campus, during a student’s academic career?