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Survey says young people are drawn to entrepreneurship

BY TOM WALKER Published: November 23, 2010

These findings support what we in Oklahoma have long believed is true in education: Contact with business owners and entrepreneurs, and a strong work ethic, can fan the spark of entrepreneurship that seems to exist in so many of our young people.

Earlier this month, out of more than 300 participants at the “Who Wants to Be an Entrepreneur?” workshop, 193 were Oklahoma college students and instructors from Ada to Olustee to Yukon. They learned how to write and present a business plan, the best ways to locate local resources for startup, technology-based businesses and expanded their contacts with entrepreneurs, investors and community leaders.

Dozens of these students will go on to compete in the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup collegiate business plan competition.

Whatever it takes, as a state, a nation or a world economy, we cannot do too much to encourage and stimulate entrepreneurship in the young. This is how jobs are created, economies are strengthened and innovation is born.

Tom Walker is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Walker at


The desire to start a business over other careers has risen slightly for young adults, from 19 percent in 2007 to 25 percent in 2010. Young adults most often cited building something for their future or using their skills and abilities as reasons for starting their own businesses, with 16 percent of 18- to 21-year-olds today and in 2007 seeing starting a nonprofit as a much more desirable career option than other career opportunities. However, tweens and teens overwhelmingly said that earning lots of money would be the main impetus for business ownership.

Source: The Youth Entrepreneurship Survey 2010

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