Venture Voice – interviews with entrepreneurs

Entertaining Entrepreneurship

Camp Entrepreneur

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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.

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