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According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States, men are “substantially more likely to start a business each month than women”. In the seventeen year period from 1996 – 2012, the average rate of entrepreneurial activity for men was .37 percent; for women during the same period it was .23 percent.
Entrepreneurship is flourishing on campuses around the country. In classrooms and through co-curricular programs and competitions, students on diverse campuses, at universities large and small, representing disciplines across the spectrum, have the opportunity to understand the role of entrepreneurship in the economy, explore innovation, test their own ideas, and learn what they need to know to be entrepreneurs.
In a matter of weeks colleges and universities across the country will be teeming with students. A new school year will bring the excitement of new discovery, opportunities to meet new people, and the anticipation of learning. On these campuses students will also find a vast array of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship.
The Kauffman Foundation recently released a set of papers reflecting on the entrepreneurship activities taking place on campuses around the country. One of the things we have learned from the Kauffman Campuses, a program that encouraged interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education programs to discuss common practices and challenges, and from a group of experts we convened from entrepreneurial campuses around the country is that students are taking the initiative on campuses across the country, creating opportunities for themselves, and others, to engage in entrepreneurial opportunities.
Our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman, once said: "It's your right to be uncommon if you can. You seek opportunity to compete. You desire to take calculated risk, to dream, to build, yes, even to fail, and to succeed". He was talking to entrepreneurs: those people who create new ventures, building visions into reality. Indeed, entrepreneurs are uncommon in many ways. They create something from nothing. They see problems (and solutions) that others might not. They take personal and financial risks.
During my years at the Kauffman Foundation I have seen firsthand the effect that education can have on the development of entrepreneurs and their companies. The entrepreneurs with whom I have worked have taken the lessons they have learned and applied them to great effect in their endeavors as founders. These entrepreneurs benefited from opportunities to learn critical skills, and from gaining an understanding of crucial decisions or junctures that often can derail entrepreneurial businesses.
Leaving presentations to chance is like embarking on a trip without a map (hat tip to Amanda Schnieders for the metaphor). If you don't know where you're headed and how you'll get there, you may not reach your destination.
Accenture's Liz Tinkham interviews salesforce.com's Polly Sumner about entrepreneurship that occurs in both large and small companies. They both agree that innovation and risk-taking occur in any-sized company where the culture emphasizes "no idea is a dumb idea." Sumner advises young entrepreneurs to not fear risk: every failure teaches you a valuable lesson, and once learned, success is that much sweeter.
Stephanie Tilenius is vice president and general manager for merchant services at PayPal, an eBay company. PayPal enables any individual or business with an email address to securely, easily and quickly send and receive
payments online. An eBay employee since early 2001, she is responsible for the strategy, growth, and financial performance of PayPal's merchant services group, the business unit providing payment solutions to small and large e-commerce
merchants. Before eBay, Tilenius was senior vice president of sales and marketing for PlanetRx.com, a company she co-founded and took public on the NASDAQ in 1999. Previously, she was vice president of business and product development for
Firefly, a software start-up that was sold to Microsoft Corp. in 1997. Early in her career, Tilenius spent several years as an investment banker at Deutche Bank Alex Brown, primarily focusing on software and telecom. In this capacity, she
worked on the Initial Public Offering for America Online in 1992, and she subsequently decided to join its corporate development group where she managed mergers, venture investments and strategic partnerships. Tilenius graduated with high
honors from Brandeis University where she earned both her bachelor's degree in economics and her master's degree in international finance. She also received her master's in business administration from Harvard Business School. Tilenius
also spent time as a presidential management intern through a two-year fellowship with the U.S. government where she worked for Treasury Secretary Brady and Carla Hills on Japan-U.S. trade negotiations.
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