by Justin Key
According to College Factual, colleges in the United States awarded entrepreneurship degrees to 10,427 students this year alone, which represents a 18.3 percent increase over the prior year's total of 8,522.
Bryan Barringer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Christian Brothers University (CBU) stated that when he transitioned from a full-time entrepreneur to an educator of entrepreneurship, the term 'entrepreneur' was taught to be more or less someone who starts and runs their own business. Now, he feels entrepreneurship should be taught as a general education course and not designated just business students.
Barringer, an Auburn University alumnus, viewpoints are validated by a poll from Entrepreneur Magazine that states, “41 percent of Generation Z’ers plan to be, not just want to be, an entrepreneur.”
“For the first time ever, this group of young adults is choosing their higher education paths based on what will help them live out their passions. Unlike the generations before that mostly looked for simply a steady job and a paycheck,” stated Barringer.
As the director, Barringer has the responsibility of developing a curriculum that will include hard and soft skills that are important for any entrepreneur. A minor in entrepreneurship will be for students outside of the School of Business.
Barringer develops course materials and learning aids with measurable lesson outcomes based on his 30 years of practice experience and according to him it has made him a better entrepreneur.
The leadership of a college president who is entrepreneurial and forward-thinking has aided in the success of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at CBU according to Barringer.
Barringer also works with the Imagine U accelerator program, a 12-week student-based accelerator program with participants from several colleges and universities in Memphis. Students learn how to be successful entrepreneurs in the program and the finale is a pitch competition in front of actual investors.
Programs like these are creating and equipping the entrepreneurs of the future stated Barringer.
Alexa Kintanar, 2018 alumna said, “The ImagineU Accelerator introduced me to the world of entrepreneurship despite having a very different background in engineering. The program effectively taught me how to create a business from the ground-up while keeping both business and consumer in mind. The skills I obtained in such a short amount of time continue to appear in my everyday life.
This program inspired me to venture into obtaining an MBA degree at the University of Memphis. I believe this program holds value by means of finding ways to challenge the minds of both new and future entrepreneurs within a changing world.”
With the advances in technology and the global interconnectedness we are experiencing in the 21st century, entrepreneurship has seen a major shift over the last 10 years. One shift Barringer has noticed is that companies are looking for ways to be a 'profit with a purpose' company, rather than one that seeks profit above all else. Warning of the 'know-it-all' entrepreneur or the ones too afraid to be told that their idea is not good enough, Barringer said, “The biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make is that they don’t feel the need to talk to target customers to figure out if or how their product will be perceived and accepted.”
“Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Hardest work I have ever done," said Barringer.
To learn more about CBU visit, https://www.cbu.edu/
To learn more about ImagineU, visit http://www.imagineuaccelerator.com/
Justin Key is a contributing writer for Writing By Design Media, Inc.