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Camp Entrepreneur

Forget dodgeball, entrepreneurship is now the thing to do in camp according to BusinessWeek.

Within a two-week period recently, I had the opportunity to speak at class day to a group of 4th graders and to two MBA classes at one of the top three U.S. business schools. I asked the 4th graders if they knew what an entrepreneur was. None of them did. They all liked the concept when I told them, but I truly won them over when I showed off my iPod. Unfortunately I was then upstaged by the two prison guards who presented after me who had their guns and nightsticks as props.

I asked the MBAs to raise their hands if they were interested in one day starting their own business. About 70% of them did. Then I asked how many of them were turning down job offers (they were all graduating in May) to go start a business for themselves immediately. Only one or two hands stayed up.

The 4th graders may well have a better shot at entrepreneurship than the MBAs within the next five years of their life. By the time someone has an MBA, their opportunity cost has skyrocketed. It's a lot harder to turn down a $10 an hour job at the deli than it is to pass on a $130k junior executive position. And risk tolerance is only lowering for the MBA who may be paying off student loads, getting married and having children. Kids, on the other hand, have nothing to lose except their lunch money.

Posted by Greg Galant on Apr 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

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» Entrepreneurship In School? Laughable! from EntrepreneurEvolution
Greg Galant, author of one of my new favorite blogs, Venture Voice, recounts a story about speaking to a 4th grade class about business and entrepreneurship.They didn't know what an entrepreneur was.I am a product of the Florida Public Education... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2006 3:47 PM


I think you hit the nail on the head identifying half of an intersting paradox. The younger an entrepreneur is the more energy, time and risk tolerance they are likily to have. However, the older they are the more experience, connections, and ability to win the trust of investors they are likily to have. This maybe why there have been many young successful consumer internet entrepreneurs and fewer B2B entrepreneurs. Younger people understand consumer internet because they live and use it. However, its tough to understand customer pain or sales cycles if you've never worked in a particular industry.

Posted by: Andrew Fife at April 20, 2006 1:41 AM

You cheated with the ipod, but that probably would have done you no good in my situation. As a newspaper graphic designer in the 90s I had to present at a middle school career day. I had the lucky honor of being there with a freakn' Nascar driver, and the mounted police with their horses. They, of course, got to take the kids outside to see their "jobs" -- the horses and the car were there in the parking lot! While I got to talk to them after they came back in. I don't think you could even win over MBAs with that kind of competition. I've refused every career day offer since.

Posted by: Dale Taylor at April 20, 2006 5:18 AM

Tech guys should just say no to career days. My story started with my wife, a second grade teacher, begging me to fill a spot for her career parade. I was a program manager at Microsoft at the time and had no fear of talking to anybody; I figured they’d love to hear about software development. After ten minutes of searing blank stares I reached for my only prop which was a CD and passed it around; they were all afraid to touch it because their parents had trained them not to touch CDs - ouch. Completely out of material my wife went for the Hail Mary and suggested I take the class outside and teach them Tai Chi which I’d been learning for a while – that was a big hit but two days later my brother in law brought his concrete truck to the school and poured a strip of concrete for handprints and I was completely out done.

Posted by: Charles at April 22, 2006 2:17 AM

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