About six months ago, I wrote several posts (see below) about the differences between small business vs. scalable entprepreneurship and the implications for an educational curriculum. Silicon Valley, for the most part, is geared towards scalable startups (i.e. the companies that seek to be the next Google). As a result, programs in entrepreneurship offered by Stanford, UC-Berkeley, etc. tend to be oriented towards entrepreneurs with the big ideas.
But what about entrepreneurs with more modest ambitions? While organizations like SCORE have long sponsored clinics for small business people, there doesn't seem to be the same effort geared towards educating small business entrepreneurs. Yet, it's a well publicized fact that 45.6% of people employed in the U.S. work for companies with less than 100 people and that these firms make up 99.6% of U.S. companies. It is also a well known fact that the rate of small business failure is high. And while I don't have hard facts to support it, based on what I've seen working with small business people, it is my hypothesis that much of this failure could be prevented by educating small business entrepreneurs in the tools and concepts they need to make better decisions.
Since I wrote this post, I've had the good fortune to become connected with educators and business people who feel the same way. I've been part of an advisory group working with West Valley College in Saratoga, CA. Under the leadership of Heidi Diamond, Dept. Chair for Business Administration and Real Estate, West Valley has created two new offerings in entrepreneurial education geared towards the needs of the small business entrepreneur. The first, called the Entrepreneurship Academy starts July 12 and is directed towards budding small business entrepreneurs. The second, called the Small Business Academy starts July 9 and is geared towards more experienced small business people who have gotten their businesses off the ground but are looking for the knowledge to take their ventures to the next level.
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