Entrepreneurship education programs have become a popular way for schools to introduce the world of business to students, and equip them with the essential knowledge and skills necessary for success.
Today, school mission statements are often typified as a partnership of businesses and the community with the goal of preparing students for successful and rewarding careers. These collaborative associations serve the mutual needs of successful educators, students and businesses. This ideology has spurred an increase among schools to create new and innovative business curricula.
According to the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, "In the past 15 years, entrepreneurship education has grown dramatically, as reflected in the increased student enrollment, proliferation of formal entrepreneurship centers, intercollegiate business plan competitions, new entrepreneurship curricula and programs, and endowed chairs and professorships. Approaches to entrepreneurship education have varied across colleges and universities from single course offerings in business plan preparation to integrated curricula that include marketing, finance, competitive analysis, new product development and technology."
Entrepreneurship education programs afford students the opportunity to integrate several areas of study, such as accounting, finance, economics and marketing. Students build critical decision-making skills necessary to create, build and maintain thriving new businesses, or become a valued member of an already established business.
"Entrepreneurship has become one of the most sought-after areas of study among collegiate business students," says Michael Camp, director of research at the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. "Graduates of these programs are not only increasing in number, they are reshaping our understanding of market, technology and management leadership. Bent on realizing their own perceived opportunities, they continue to define the standard for business innovation-and, by doing so, will forever alter the competitive landscape for future enterprise."
As career and technical educators aggressively reach out to community business leaders for support and aid in the development of academic programs that will produce highly skilled graduates, one school is reaching out to partner with colleges across the United States to establish a new entrepreneurship program. Shoreline Community College (SCC), located just north of Seattle, appreciates that entrepreneurship education is on the rise and acts as a springboard for business students as they work toward becoming the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Investing in Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs
In March 2005, the Workforce and Economic Development team at SCC announced that it was partnering with colleges across the United States to develop classes and programs for local entrepreneurs. SCC targeted existing entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism field, with particular emphasis on immigrant entrepreneurs.
Among the partner colleges are Edmonds Community College in Edmonds, Washington; Kingsborough Community College, located in Brooklyn, New York; Augusta Technical College in Augusta, Georgia; and Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. Each school is developing both credit and non-credit modules that will be shared among the other colleges. SCC is responsible for developing the marketing, risk assessment and human resource modules.
"Cooperation between postsecondary institutions is rare," says SCC Business Instructor Charles Loomis. "However, our VP of workforce and economic development, Darlene Miller, has been the catalyst that has brought our five institutions together. Our current project is developing entrepreneurship programs and training for the hospitality industry. This is a three-phase program, and we are now in the final phase that consists of creating short learning modules to educate students interested in entrepreneurship, and to offer these short courses to existing and developing businesses in our community. …