Everywhere I turn I see entrepreneurs. I cannot go an hour without hearing someone mention that he is an entrepreneur, he knows an entrepreneur, he wishes that he was an entrepreneur, he is an intrepreneur, he encourages entrepreneurism, he… you get the point.
I see this as a double-edged sword. The majority of my peers are blinded by the prospect of launching the next Facebook, cashing in on a viral iOS App or somehow getting their piece of the tech action. Mind you, I am not too different from any of them – I did venture off on my own after graduating instead of pursuing the traditional corporate route.
Like many Generation Y innovators, I wanted to achieve greatness on my own. However, entrepreneurism is becoming engrained in our society to such an extent that I see it as a problem. A great illustration of this is the growing number of entrepreneur incubators for young adults, college and even high school students.
Matt Wilson, the CEO of Under30CEO, realized his passion to innovate and create during his undergrad years at Bryant University. Traditionally a school that produces corporate superstars, Bryant’s administrators were not too keen about Wilson’s desire to build a community of entrepreneurs on campus. As a result, Wilson, fueled by the college’s opposition, founded the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization: a network of fellow college students who shared his drive to lead.
The Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization grew to over 150 members and began hosting events, workshops and elevator pitch competitions with CEO’s from well established companies in attendance as guest speakers and judges. Since the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization inception, Bryant University has made pitching a requirement for all incoming freshman entering the program.
But I digress. The Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization is just one group that encourages entrepreneurism. No individual group or incubator is motivating me to write this post-the overabundance of similar organizations encouraging young adults and students to take risk is.
Here are just a few:
- Teens in Tech Incubator
- Infuse Entrepreneurship Program
- The Sandbox Network
- Young Entrepreneur Council
- Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour
- The Founders Institute
- Global Entrepreneurship Institute
- Cisco Entrepreneur Institute
- Bootup Labs
- NYU-Poly Incubator
- Plug and Play Tech Center
- Ben Franklin TechVentures
- Slingshot labs
- Environmental Business Center
- Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
Let alone the College/Universities:
- Tuck (Dartmouth)
- Kellogg (Northwestern)
- Tepper (Carnegie Mello)
- Research Park at the University of Illinois
And this list took me only a mere minute to compile. I am sure that I am overlooking quite a few! Which came first: Generation Y’s interest in become entrepreneurs or these organizations that encourage young people to become entrepreneurs? Regardless, the low barriers to entry that recent technological improvements have created a market for self-starters and the Internet provides resources for any go-getter to take advantage of. So:
Why do we need so many mentorship programs, institutions and incubators to encourage entrepreneurism in today’s youth?