The New York Times had an interesting piece a few days ago about a live-in entrepreneurship program at Babson college. They called it Dreamers and Doers. Quote:
“‘Any school can teach entrepreneurship,’ he says, ‘but at Babson, we live entrepreneurship.’”
I like Babson. I’ve been there a couple of times. Good program, and good faculty. And a good reputation for entrepreneurship, especially.
Babson focuses on business, and E-Tower focuses, even more tightly, on entrepreneurship. The residents of E-Tower hash out new business plans at Monday night meetings, and they talk shop throughout the day and night.
“We’re really a dorm of dreamers and doers,” says Prinya Kovitchindachai, who is hoping to market a vile-tasting pill, imported from Thailand, that he touts as a hangover treatment. “College students are the largest group of binge drinkers,” he says, quietly gleeful at the prospect of such a large market so close at hand. Friends have helped him bone up on the basics of international shipping, of securing shelf space and — in a consultation with a neighbor who was wearing a towel and still dripping from the shower — of creating Web sites.
The story goes on to catalog the burst of entrepreneurship programs throughout higher education.
A report issued last year by the Kauffman Foundation, which finances programs to promote innovation on campuses, noted that more than 5,000 entrepreneurship programs are offered on two- and four-year campuses — up from just 250 courses in 1985. Full-scale majors, minors or certificates in entrepreneurship have leaped from 104 in 1975 to more than 500 in 2006. Since 2003, the Kauffman Foundation has given nearly $50 million to 19 colleges and universities to build campus programs.
Studying entrepreneurship is a luxury. If you can manage it, if you can afford it, do it. Do it because you want to, because you’re going to enjoy the learning and the people you meet along the way. Don’t do it for the money.
The Babson program brings people studying entrepreneurship together, even to the point of living together. Sounds like a good idea — for those who don’t have families, and lives, at least.
Also important, learning communities like this offer exceptional opportunities to help students develop their entrepreneurial mindsets, NOT just the skills to launch and lead start-ups. Recognizing opportunities, demonstrating resourcefulness, cultivating a sense of autonomy, and nurturing the bias for action can be extremely helpful to students managing the transition into college and wanting to make the most of their academic careers. There are several residences like this throughout the country at Maryland, Syracuse, and UW-Madison among others.