Entrepreneurs create jobs, so how are we helping?

It’s no surprise that global leaders are increasingly looking at entrepreneurship as a way to grow jobs and stimulate economies.

In Canada, approximately 68 percent of net new jobs are created by small- and medium-sized enterprises (Statistics Canada), and from 1980 to 2008 all net new job growth in the U.S. came from firms five years or younger (Kauffman Foundation). The reality is that large firms shed jobs and new firms (young firms run by entrepreneurs) drive job growth. Complementing this is the growing interest in entrepreneurship as a career choice. A Kauffman-funded study of youth aged eight to 21 cites 40 percent of respondents interested in entrepreneurship as a career option.

The question is: What are we doing to stimulate interest in entrepreneurship and provide support to young entrepreneurs? Some would see this as an opportunity not to be missed.

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 apply this important economic lever than in supporting start-up activity on campus, during a student’s academic career?

Current landscape

Few universities or colleges are truly embracing this important economic driver. While there are pockets of very good activity, the vast majority of institutions do not have the programming that is required to promote entrepreneurism, attract entrepreneurial students and support early student ventures. A recent Agawa Entrepreneurship Development Corporation review of university entrepreneurship capacity points to a failing grade for most institutions and poor results for Canadian universities on aggregate.
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