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Young Entrepreneurs: How to Counter ‘Lack of Experience’ Concerns

July 25, 2012

It’s a common experience—we’ve all been told one thing, only to find the opposite holds true. And for many young entrepreneurs, this phenomenon comes to fruition when working with older business associates. Growing up, you may have been told, “Do not let anyone look down on you because of your youth.” But this doesn’t always hold up in the real world.

Because we live in a society that generally assumes people gain worthwhile experience over time—and for good reason, because it’s often the case—you’ll likely encounter potential investors, partners and even customers who will intimate (or vocalize) their concern about your youth and relative inexperience.

While this is the cross the young entrepreneur must bear, it doesn’t mean these opportunities are beyond your reach. As you pursue new business where your youth seems to put you at a disadvantage, try to include these points as you argue against a perceived lack of experience. (more…)

How and Why to Support Young Entrepreneurs

April 20, 2012

Young Entrepreneurs are more important than ever, and it is vital for current entrepreneurs to support this next generation of business leaders.

Regardless of background, ideology or industry – most people in the world agree that entrepreneurial innovation positively impacts society and the world. Future leaders and entrepreneurs grow up in a world where technology and information change more quickly than ever. Information learned in school can be obsolete by the time students graduate. This is why young entrepreneurs need the support of the people that understand how a swiftly changing environment impacts the business community and how that relates to the role of an entrepreneur.

Current entrepreneurs and small business owners should invest in supporting and training up-and-coming entrepreneurs to ensure the most vibrant workforce possible for all entrepreneurial endeavors. It benefits everyone to encourage and train students interested in starting businesses, and the network of SBDC’s is an example of how small business support can make a difference. (more…)

Young Entrepreneurs: How to Counter ‘Lack of Experience’ Concerns

April 17, 2012

It’s a common experience—we’ve all been told one thing, only to find the opposite holds true. And for many young entrepreneurs, this phenomenon comes to fruition when working with older business associates. Growing up, you may have been told, “Do not let anyone look down on you because of your youth.” But this doesn’t always hold up in the real world.

Because we live in a society that generally assumes people gain worthwhile experience over time—and for good reason, because it’s often the case—you’ll likely encounter potential investors, partners and even customers who will intimate (or vocalize) their concern about your youth and relative inexperience.

While this is the cross the young entrepreneur must bear, it doesn’t mean these opportunities are beyond your reach. As you pursue new business where your youth seems to put you at a disadvantage, try to include these points as you argue against a perceived lack of experience. (more…)

Tips from the Trenches: A Young Business Owner’s Take on Entrepreneurship After College

April 6, 2012

In our last Youth Entrepreneurship blog post, we brought up several points to consider when mulling over whether enrolling in college or starting your own business is the right post-high school choice.

Of course, the end of high school isn’t the only time you’ll be presented with two roads diverging. For those of you who attend college, “What’s next?” resurfaces in four short years—or in just a few weeks for some of you. So the question is now, in LeBron James-speak, “Where should I take my talents after college?”

While most young entrepreneurs tend to think they should acquire some real-world experience at full-time jobs before embarking on their business ventures, we recently spoke to a young entrepreneur who might encourage you to reconsider the merits of obtaining that “real-world experience.”

David Comisford, 26, started buying back college textbooks from fellow undergrads at Capital University in winter 2006. Since then, he’s transformed his dorm-based business into Frewg, Inc., an online storefront where college students can buy, sell back and rent college books. And he did it all without any full-time work experience under his belt. (more…)

Can entrepreneurs be trained to save the world?

March 31, 2012

I recently had the honor of interviewing the Managing Director at one of the top entrepreneurship academic institutions in the world, and it inspired me to take a closer look at one of most controversial topics in entrepreneurial education: “Are entrepreneurs born or trained?”

Janet Strimaitis joined the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson in 2003, and before that she was an entrepreneur herself. Her personal business experience and involvement in detailed global entrepreneurial research programs led her to the following perspective, “Babson believes that entrepreneurship is a method that can be taught”, but she cautions, “Entrepreneurship is not formulaic. It is an interactive process informed by action learning and subsequent modification. It is a rich experience, and the entire field is now recognized in academia as something worth pursuing. It has gained credibility in the top academic institutions.”

The list of successful entrepreneurs in Babson’s “Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs” certainly supports this premise.

In a Bloomberg article by Karen E. Klein, entrepreneurial consultant John J. Rooney, stated “In my experience working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and teaching on the faculty at the University of Southern California’s entrepreneur program, it is clear that much of entrepreneurship can be successfully learned. However, it is also clear that people who take positive action and are focused and committed and continue on despite some negative feedback or setbacks have skill sets and personality traits that can be inborn or learned.” (more…)