Entrepreneurship: the Future for Our Youth and Our Economy Essay Sample
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America’s economic success in the world has been based on entrepreneurship. The hypothesis that entrepreneurship is linked to economic growth finds its most immediate foundation in simple intuition, common sense and pure economic observation: activities to convert ideas into economic opportunities lie at the very heart of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a source of innovation and change, and as such spurs improvements in productivity and economic competitiveness.( The Empretec Showcase, 2004,
Empretec Showcase, 2004, p. 3) The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “the organization, management, and assumption of the risks of a business or enterprise.”(Merriam Webster, 2012)
This paper will discuss successful entrepreneurial models and program that have revived sagging economies and revitalized dispirited communities. The concept of “intrapreneurs, or innovators who employ entrepreneurial skills within a large corporation,”(Gerber, para. 6) and the impact of brain drain; “the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another usually for better pay or living conditions,(Merriam Webster, 2012) will be discussed as they relate to the revitalization of the economy.
“All of the economies around the world possess four major resources: land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship. Land represents natural resources—the soil, food crops, trees and lots we build on. Labor represents the farmers, accountants, cab drivers, dry cleaners, assembly-line workers and computer programmers who provide skills and expertise to build products or offer services in exchange for wages and salaries. Capital represents the buildings, equipment, hardware, tools and finances needed for production. Entrepreneurship represents ideas, innovation, talent, organizational skills and risk.”(“Everyday Economics,” 2012) What do Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Robert Fulton, Russell Simmons, and Walt Disney have in common? Each of them was an entrepreneur who invented something that impacted the way people lived, worked, or played. America was built by entrepreneurs, inventors, dreamers, and visionaries like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, and George Washington Carver. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt are modern day entrepreneurs who have changed the way people live and communicate.
On a local level, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Springfield, Massachusetts was the hot bed of creativity and inventions. Springfield was once called “The City of Progress” for its contributions to innovation. Among the inventors and their inventions were: Thomas Blanchard, who created interchangeable parts which lead to the Springfield Armory being the birthplace of modern manufacturing; Charles Goodyear, who created and patented vulcanized rubber; Charles and Frank Duryea, who built America’s first gasoline-powered car; James Naismith, who invented basketball and Horace Moses, who founded Junior Achievement in 1919. In 1954, Rachel Fuller Brown, who was born in Springfield, MA in 1898, was working for the New York State Department of Health with Elizabeth Lee Hazen, “created nystatin, an antibiotic which was able to cure disabling and disfiguring infections of the mouth, throat, skin and intestinal organs. It could also be combined with antibacterial drugs.” (“Famous Women Inventors,” 2012) Today Springfield’s glory days are but a distant memory. The metropolitan area has experienced a steady economic decline since the 1970’s. Manufacturing jobs declined by more than 50 percent between 1970 and 2000 while the poverty rate increased from 13 percent to 20 percent.
Today the poverty rate in Springfield is over 30 percent and the unemployment rate is 8.9 percent, a full percent above the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ unemployment rate. (Green, 2007) In addition to the economic struggles, Springfield recently suffered a series of devastating storms including a tornado, which destroyed major parts of the city. The physical devastation has provided the city with the impetus to rebuild itself. City and business leaders, and community members have banded together to begin the process of creating a new and better Springfield. The challenges facing Springfield are a reflection of the problems facing America.
In “Hot, Flat, and Crowded,” Thomas Friedman sees the current economic and environmental challenges as opportunities for America to rebuild itself, to once again “play the vital role it has long played for the rest of the world-as a beacon of hope and the country that can be counted to lead the world in response to whatever is the most important challenge of the day.”(Friedman, 2008, p. 5) Entrepreneurship is one path to rebuilding Springfield and America. David Rothkopf, an energy expert and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment said, “We reinvented ourselves as a continental industrial power in the nineteenth century, and we reinvented ourselves as a global industrial power in the twentieth century and then as a global informational society in the twenty-first century. Now we have to – for our own sake and the world’s – reinvent ourselves one more time.”(Friedman, 2008, p. 23) REVIEW OF LITERATURE
“Entrepreneurs play a vital role in economic development as key contributors to technological innovation and new job growth. Further, entrepreneurs help build communities in ways such as providing jobs, conducting business locally, creating and participating in entrepreneurial networks, investing in community projects, and giving to local charities.”(Tesreau & Gielazauskas, 2002, p. 1) Scott Gerber is a young entrepreneur, author, columnist, and director of The Young Entrepreneur Council. In a recent article in Time, “How Entrepreneurship Can Fix Young America,” (March 5, 2012) Gerber discussed the concept of “intrapreneurs,” or innovators who employ entrepreneurial skills within a large corporation. Gerber notes that “in the 21st century, entrepreneurial thinking isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Adaptability, creativity and financial literacy are core skills for American employees and so-called intrapreneurs. They’re also critical assets to our communities.”(Gerber, 2012, para. 6)
Corporations have a social responsibility to encourage and create an environment, including providing the financial backing, to foster research and development of not only products, but the personal development of employees as innovators. “While developing economies grow as standard economic growth models predict (through the accumulation of human and physical capital and increasing specialization), once an economy has entered the industrialized phase of capitalist development, a qualitative change in the drivers of economic growth occurs. In advanced industrial economies, growth is driven by the process of technological advance and knowledge accumulation brought about by R&D efforts of firms.”(The Empretec Showcase,2004)
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in America today. “The U. S. Small Business Administration reports that America’s 25.8 million small businesses employ more than 50 percent of the private workforce, generate more than half of the nation’s gross domestic product, and are the principal source of new jobs in the U.S. economy.”(“Encouraging Future Innovation,” 2012) The question then becomes how can entrepreneurship transform Springfield, a city mired in high unemployment, crime, and poverty, into an economic leader in the region? The answer can be found by looking at several successful models, such as The Idea Village in New Orleans, the best practices identified by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the guidelines developed by The Young Entrepreneur Council or the visionary approach of the Spartanburg-Greenville region. The Idea Village
The Idea Village was the brainchild of a group of five New Orleans entrepreneurs who were concerned about the “brain drain” that New Orleans had been experiencing during the 1990s when “there was a net loss of over 41,000 23-35 year olds from the State of Louisiana. This brain drain created a vacuum of innovative individuals to provide new thinking to grow the economy and to address pressing social issues such as crime, education and housing.”(The Idea Village, 2011) Like New Orleans prior to 2000, Springfield is caught in a downward spiral of lost manufacturing jobs, high unemployment, increasing crime and poverty and the flight of younger, creative, innovative people to other states. And like New Orleans in 2000, Springfield in 2012 is poised to reinvent itself. The Idea Village concept was started when the five entrepreneurs donating $2,000 each to create a business plan challenge. The other business people, community leaders, and educational leaders saw the potential of the business plan challenge and the prize for the business challenge grew to $125,000.
The business plan challenge grew into the Idea Village and entrepreneurship stimulated New Orleans’ economic growth, creating new businesses and new jobs. The Idea Village is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in New Orleans in 2000 with a mission to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent. “The Idea Village has solidified its position as a leading driver of entrepreneurship by providing direct support to 1,101 local entrepreneurs by engaging 1,746 professionals to allocate over 42,000 consulting hours and $2.7 million in capital. Collectively, this portfolio generates over $82 million in annual revenue and has created nearly 1,006 jobs for our community.”(The Idea Village, 2011) New Orleans has become nationally recognized as a significant center of entrepreneurship: Forbes named New Orleans the “Biggest Brain Magnet” of 2011 as well as the No. 2 “Best City for Jobs.” A July 2010 Brookings Institute “Katrina After 5” report states that New Orleans entrepreneurial activity is 40% above the national average.
Inc. Magazine called New Orleans the “Coolest Startup City in America.” In August 2009 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine cited “New Orleans as a blueprint of economic recovery through entrepreneurship: “in the midst of one of the worst national economies in decades, New Orleans is recreating itself as a hive of entrepreneurial initiative and demonstrating to other cities how to recover from even the worst disaster.”(The Idea Village, 2011) The challenges New Orleans faced were of far greater magnitude than the challenges facing Springfield. Hurricane Katrina caused over $110 billion dollars in damage. The tornadoes in Springfield caused $106,000 million in damage. Given the scope of the damage that Katrina caused and the fact that within five years, The Idea Village had helped New Orleans to be nationally recognized for its entrepreneurial activity provides inspiration and a blueprint for success in Springfield. The National Governors’ Association for Best Practices
Another model that could offer structure to help Springfield reinvent itself through entrepreneurship is the best practices identified by the National Governors’ Association for Best Practices provide guidelines for states or cities to implement policies and procedures that will help foster entrepreneurship. The best practices include: * Securing capital is important to the success of entrepreneurs, particularly in the early stages of development. States can assist entrepreneurs in finding seed capital through direct investment, investments in venture capital limited partnerships and tax credits. * Providing technical assistance with the creation of small business assistance centers, science and technology corporations, and programs that provide financial and management guidance are valuable services for entrepreneurs. * Streamlining securities regulation eases the process entrepreneurs must go through in the search for capital. * Improving state regulations and licensing environments reduces the burden on entrepreneurs seeking licenses and permits. One-stop business centers can serve as a point of contact between entrepreneurs and all state regulatory agencies. Streamlining the registration and license process can have benefits for both entrepreneurs and state agencies by reducing the duplication of processes, paperwork, time and resources needed to properly register a new business venture.
* Encouraging entrepreneurs in education builds a foundation for successful entrepreneurial ventures. In higher education, building intellectual capital at state universities fosters entrepreneurship while superior research centers aid universities in attracting and retaining top-quality faculty, spur technological innovations, and aid in the transfer of technology to the private sector. Education at the secondary level is important as well to at least raise the awareness of entrepreneurship as a career option. * Creating industry clusters and entrepreneurial networks are beneficial to economic development strategies and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can develop contacts and fill specialized industry niches within clusters and networks. * Targeting entrepreneurs through state economic development offices and business development centers can help educate them on available services and programs. Advertisements in trade publications, communications through local chambers of commerce, industry associations, and public service announcements are just a few ways governments can effectively get the message out.(Tesreau & Gielazauskas, 2002, p. i-ii)
The Young Entrepreneur Council
Scott Gerber working in conjunction with Junior Achievement, Babson College, Codecademy, Venture for America, and College Hunks Hauling Junk developed five strategies that will revitalize and invigorate the entrepreneurial movement in America. The strategies include: 1. Integrate Academia and the Real World. In a 2011 survey, 88% of young people said that entrepreneurship education is vitally important given the new economy. Programs such as Junior Achievement, Babson, Cogswell College, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), teach entrepreneurship and positively impacted dropout rates and community engagement, not to mention the development of risk-taking and opportunity recognition. Other programs that p 2. Eliminate Government Barriers- including increasing states’ self-employment assistance programs to removing regulations prohibiting startups from openly crowdsourcing capital. Passing the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, which would defer or forgive student loan debt for young entrepreneurs using the precedent set by the Income-Based Repayment program.
3. Invest in and Mentor Young Entrepreneurs- Initiatives Startup America Partnership and Dell’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program are models for the private sector. Business leaders can team up with accelerators, venture funds, campus groups, regional leadership and nonprofits to mentor, finance, and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. 4. Teach Technology Inside and Outside the Classroom-The Web has revolutionized the way we do business, creating a far more level playing field for young entrepreneurs—provided they have the skill set to take advantage of it. In the classroom, this means teaching hands-on software engineering, not just computing basics—the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting an employment increase for software engineers of 32 percent by 2018. Outside the classroom, companies like Codecademy can fill gaps in K-12 and college education by creating peer-to-peer platforms where aspiring coders learn by doing. 5. Foster Entrepreneurship at the Regional Level-For example, cities facing economic decline need to create resource-rich networks so young entrepreneurs can cut through red tape at the local level instead of departing en masse. Underserved regions must develop ecosystems in which idea exchange, growth, and financial support are readily available.(Gerber, 2012, para. 4-17) The Spartanburg-Greenville Region
The keys to the success of the Spartanburg-Greenville Region model are “visionary leadership, a friendly business climate, a commitment to training, and a spirit of collaboration among businesses and between business and local government.”(Kanter, 1995, p. 1) The Spartanburg-Greenville region is now home to more than 215 companies from 18 foreign countries, with 74 of those companies electing to have their U.S. headquarters in the region. Kanter, an Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School highlighted the new criteria for successful businesses in the twenty-first century; concept, competence, and connections. “Concepts are leading-edge ideas, designs, or formulations for products or services that create value for the customer. Competence is the ability to translate ideas into applications. Connections are alliances among businesses to leverage core capabilities, create more value, or open doors and widen horizons.”(Kanter, 1995, p. 2)
The Spartanburg-Greenville region has many of the same characteristics found in Springfield, MA, including a blue-collar workforce trained in manufacturing and a base of mid-size entrepreneurial companies. The difference is that the Spartanburg-Greenville region aggressively embraced the four factors of critical success: visionary leaders, hospitable business community, customized training, and collaboration between businesses and government. The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce was the one of the driving forces behind recruiting foreign investors and businesses to the region. The Executive Director of the Chamber, Richard E. Tukey was the visionary leader that Spartanburg-Greenville needed. Tukey actively recruited foreign businesses and guided them through the community, introducing the foreign business owners to local bankers, potential suppliers and local government representatives. One of the biggest selling points for the Spartanburg-Greenville region was the willingness to provide local workers with opportunities to increase and upgrade their skills through customized technical training. “The South Carolina State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education offers free customized training for prospective workers and supervisors to companies that bring new investment to the state.”(Kanter, 1995, p. 7)
U.S. News & World Report rated Greenville Technical College one of the best technical schools in the country. (Kanter, 1995, p. 7) The Chamber of Commerce also played a key role in providing opportunities for businesses in the Spartanburg-Greenville region to develop an infrastructure of collaboration rather than competition. “Companies exchange best practice ideas, screen employees for jobs, encourage new companies to come to the area, solve one another’s problems and sometimes lend one another staff.”(Kanter, 1995, p. 8) In order for the Spartanburg-Greenville model to be successfully replicated a community must have quality infrastructure: roads, sewers, electricity, and communication system; community leaders who embrace connections and diversity, an education system that provides quality skilled workers and the ability to think outside the box, to be creative and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. INTEGRATION
My great grandfather was a member of the IRA and called out seven times by British troops to face firing squads. My grandmother immigrated from Ireland as an indentured servant. She worked as a “char woman” until 1963 when her heart finally gave out. My grandfather was an Irish dock worker, a rum runner during prohibition, and as a member of the Molly Maguires drove the KKK out of Portland, ME. My father was the first person in his family to go to college but he worked his way through loading groceries onto trucks. He saw the way management mistreated the workers and helped organize the first union at Milliken Tomlinsons, a trucking company in Portland. My roots are firmly grounded in Catholic Social Teachings: doing good for others, the right to organize, the obligation to care for those less fortunate were concepts I embraced at an early age and that formed the person I am today. As part of the Global Political and Social and Ethical Responsibility course I completed the Core Values survey, which defined my five core values: family, integrity, loyalty, responsibility, and commitment.
The survey reaffirmed the values I learned through my family’s actions and lessons. The course provoked me to consider how I derived my ethical beliefs, whether I followed the teleological or deontological theory. This process was much more intense than I expected. At the beginning of the course I would have defined myself as a person who embraced the deontological theory, believing in inalienable rights and inherent value of right and wrong. Throughout the course different readings and discussions coupled with a heightened awareness of how I was making personal and professional decisions I realized that in my actions I embraced a teleological theory. I could see that the greater good could be justified in some circumstances by actions that according to Kant, a deontological theorist, would be deemed morally wrong. For example, some people feel providing tax incentives to new businesses or opposing legislation that imposes mandatory sick leave days for small business employees or increasing the unemployment tax, are morally wrong because the acts support some people and not all of the people. In order to revitalize Springfield and ultimately America, we must embrace a teleological approach to encourage new business and entrepreneurial ventures.
My beliefs come from a commitment to service and helping others that runs deep in my family. I come from a family of educators. My mother was a teacher, my father was a superintendent of schools and one of my brothers has over thirty years in education. My professional and personal life has been dedicated to education and the non-profit sector. Three of my greatest passions are early childhood education, Junior Achievement (JA), and local government. I have been able to combine my educational experience with my passion to provide the JA experience that transformed my life to the youth of today. It is through my years of work with Junior Achievement that I arrived at the decision to enroll in the MBA program.
Junior Achievement’s curriculum focuses on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics, ethics/character¸ financial literacy, work readiness, and career exploration. My undergraduate degree in Education provides a strong foundation for developing programming and training teachers and volunteers, while the MBA program will provide the business knowledge to operate a successful organization using forward thinking business tenets. Through the Global Political and Social and Ethical Responsibility course I was exposed to Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded, and to Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s article, “Thriving Locally in the Global Economy” which inspired my exploration of entrepreneurship and the revitalization of Springfield and America.
In addition to working in the non-profit sector I have always had a strong interest in the workings of local government. My passion lead me to put my beliefs into action and before coming to Springfield I served three terms on my local City Council and regional Council of Government. In Springfield through my professional career I have been able to act on my passion by serving on the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield’s Legislative Steering Committee. This allows me to gain greater insight into current political issues that impact the regional area and to work in partnership with local business leaders to improve the economic vitality of our region. Because I work for a non-profit organization that brings together local business leaders and the youth in or local schools, I see hope for Springfield, MA, despite the vision created by the news media. I know for a fact that there are dedicated, hard working, impassioned government and business leaders, educators and youth who given support and the right tools can change our region and create a revitalized economy and community. Through this paper I have been able to define successful models that could be implemented in Springfield. Springfield and America are at a pivotal point and it will take creative, daring leaders to support the formation of new businesses that will transform the city, state and country from a complacent service-centered economy to a vibrant, product-driven economic world leader.
Entrepreneurship education offers a solution. It seeks to prepare individuals, particularly youth, to be responsible, entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers by immersing them in real life learning experiences where they can take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes. Junior Achievement is one organization that can provide the educational tools and entrepreneurial inspiration that will be key to improving the economic vitality of the region. “Results of JA program evaluations over the past 15 years have consistently demonstrated that JA elementary, middle, and high school programs prepare students to develop successful financial management habits, empower them to explore the potential of becoming an entrepreneur, and provide them with the skills necessary to succeed in a global workforce.”(JA Impact, 2011, p. 1)
The following excerpt is taken from a Junior Achievement White Paper published in April 2011. The data presented supports the positive impact that Junior Achievement has. (JA): A Solution Provider
* JA is relevant as it bridges the gap of what students are learning in school and how it can be applied in the real world. * According to the landmark study on high school dropouts, The Silent Epidemic, a primary reason that students drop out of school is they don’t see the relevance of what they were learning in the classroom to the real world or their future. * According to recent nationwide evaluations of JA:
* More than nine out of 10 teachers and volunteers (91%) agree or strongly agree that Junior Achievement programs connect what is learned in the classroom to the outside world. * Regarding the effects of their experience with Junior Achievement, more than eight out of 10 (84%) of JA alumni indicate that JA enabled them to connect what they learned in the classroom to real life.(JA: A Solution, 2011, p. 5-6)
It will take everyone working together to rebuild Springfield and America. The education system must re-engage the students and ignite their creativity. Community organizations, like Junior Achievement must partner with local educators, business and community members to prepare our young people to compete and succeed in the global economy. Government officials must put aside partisan politics and work together to create a business-friendly atmosphere that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. Only by working together for the greater good of the society, can Springfield, a microcosm of America, regain its economic vitality.
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