From Buppie To Biz-Wiz

Forget corporate America--Generation choosingthe entrepreneurial path to success

isn’t being lost on colleges and universities. Responding to student demand, many schools now offer entrepreneurial programs and classes as part of their curriculum. Some even offer degree pro-grains in entrepreneurship. Steven Rogers, who teaches classes m entrepreneurial Finance at Northwestern
University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, estimates that there are nearly 800 schools with entrepreneurial programs or classes.

“The interest in entrepreneurial programs will increase as it continues to play a larger role in our society,” states Rogers. Forty-five percent of the students who enrolled in Kellogg in 1996 were interested in entrepreneurship. Since 1991, the school, ranked among the top 25 business schools for entrepreneurship by Success magazine, has tripled its entrepreneurial offerings from three to 11 classes. Other business schools, such as Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Business School and Anderson School of Business at UCLA, have also incorporated entrepreneurial classes or programs into their curriculums.

“The future in corporate America doesn’t hold much promise for this generation and entrepreneurship means economic independence,” remarks Rogers. Historically black colleges and universities are also looking to help Generation Xers learn about entrepreneurship.

“We wanted to offer our students something more,” says Granville Sawyer, explaining why his school, the Norfolk State University School of Business and Entrepreneurship, has offered a major in entrepreneurship since 1992. “We’re helping them to understand how to be capable and successful executives and entrepreneurs.” Undergraduate students who major in entrepreneurship will receive a bachelor’s of science in business administration, with a concentration in entrepreneurship. And according to Sawyer, the response has been tremendous.

Of course, black businesses tend to hire more minority employees, and a boost in African American entrepreneurship should mean more job opportunities for African Americans. If the success of Baker and Warren is any indication, then the theory holds true. “This store was designed by a black architect, built by a black construction company and we employ black people at all levels,” states Warren proudly of his Tower Place location.

For Sawyer, “true [entrepreneurial] success is defined in terms of employing more black people, and encouraging economic turnover in black communities.” Lolita Sweet also employs a majority of nonwhite employees. “Our staff is like the United Nations,” she beams. But Sweet also contributes to economic development in another manner-she teaches entrepreneurship to minority students.

Sweet is a member of the San Francisco chapter of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which teaches the nuts and bolts of starting and running a business to minority high school students around the country. “I try to encourage the students to build the businesses they want to see in their communities, other than the usual Chinese food store, funeral parlor and liquor store,” asserts Sweet, who teaches two days a week. She has recruited over 200 students to the program since 1996.

McNeal and Sylvain also lecture for the foundation. McNeal, who attended a NFTE course at Wharton before launching his business, believes, “it’s only right that I pass the information that helped me get started on to the

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