–submitted by Mary Borland
Entrepreneurship is one of the most important drivers of economic and job growth in our state and across the globe. It is also a topic that is of growing interest to today’s college students. On February 15, Dan Olszewski, the Director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at UW-Madison School of Business, spoke with us about how UW-Madison is one of the leaders in teaching and inspiring students interested in entrepreneurship as a potential career.
Today, people under the age of 30 will have held eight different employment positions! The entire economy has become very dynamic and large and small companies in all industries are looking for employees with an entrepreneurial skill set to drive innovation in their companies. Whether a future student starts up their own company or goes to work for another company, entrepreneurship is important to society for job and wealth creation which leads to a more robust economy and innovation for consumers.
Anyone can become an entrepreneur, though the average age to begin is 40 years old.
The ways entrepreneurship is taught at UW-Madison includes classes, student start-ups (experimental things to sell) and via a link to alumni and practitioners. For students, it is about action and doing.
Other activities enrolled students participate in include:
- Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Showcase – where stories can be shared and inspiration given
- Distinguished Entrepreneurs Lunch – where question and answers of an entrepreneur happen
- Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Bootcamp – five, 12 hour days for a specific subset of students
- WSB Business Plan Competition – students pitch ideas; winner moves on to Governor’s contest
Enrollment in these classes is coming from sections of campus and most from outside the business school. Several graduates locally have gone on to obtain over $50M in venture capital. In approximately 10 years, we will really see the fruits of this teaching with people making this world a better place by solving problems with high energy and optimism!
Rotarians can support these UW students by being event sponsors, providing student scholarships and by encouraging students they know to take these entrepreneurial courses.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.