Considering a Formal Education in Entrepreneurship

Whether you want to become the next beading industry leader or just a personal go-to company in your neighborhood, there is a great debate as to whether entrepreneurship can be taught. Recently, a study conducted by Babson College found that individuals who take two core entrepreneurship classes can be positively influenced to enter and succeed in the industry.

Professors based the study on 3,755 alumni who took two or more entrepreneurship classes, according to Their experiences appeared to strongly influence them to enter self-employment as small business owners.

"At a more abstract level, we believe that entrepreneurship should be taught to every business student because it is the very origin of all businesses," wrote the professors of the study, according to the news source. "After all, there would be no business schools if there had never been any entrepreneurs!"

However, there is still a great debate as to whether entrepreneurship can strictly be taught. Many people believe that the realm of self-employment can be whatever an individual makes it out to be--a success or a failure.

An education can help with entrepreneurship.

CNN lists Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, and Apple founder, Steve Jobs, as some of the most famous millionaires who started their companies without formal entrepreneurship training. These men are known for dropping out of school to follow their dreams, and many people say that passion is all you need.

Paul Fleming, the founder of the P.F. Chang's China Bistro restaurant chain, credits his success to passion--not education he learned in a classroom.

"The steps you have to take, the risks you have to take--I don't think in a million years you can teach it in a classroom," Fleming told CNN.

Not all professionals have the same view on entrepreneurship, however, and David Neeleman is one who goes against the tide. The 46 year-old JetBlue founder believes that although an education may not be a priority for many, it comes with a series of benefits.

"I never would have started JetBlue unless I had the experience of starting another airline," Neeleman told the news source. "And I guarantee that I never would have started JetBlue at J.F.K. airport if I had listened to the experts, who said that you can't put a low-fare, customer-centric airline in New York. But I knew we could do it, and I had a wealth of experience behind me that I trusted to make JetBlue a reality."

To shed some light on the debate, a study was conducted by the University of Arizona in 2002 to settle the score. The research showed that those who graduated with a master's degree in business with a concentration in entrepreneurship had more success than those who finished school with a standard MBA. Individuals who had an MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship made 27 percent more money five years after graduating than their counterparts. Entrepreneurship graduates were also three times more likely to start their own companies, according to the study.

CNN lists DePaul University, Harvard University and Florida International University as some of the best schools to obtain an entrepreneurship degree. However, it's not too late for people who have discovered their passion for small business ownership later in life.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of resources for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in entrepreneurship. Local offices can be found on the SBA website for training that can help you propel your small business ideas. The SBA works with the SCORE Association "Counselors to America's Small Business" nonprofit group to provide individuals with the tips they need to get their plans off of the ground.

At a local SBA office, you can be counselled for free and given financial assistance if necessary. The SBA can help you contact private lenders and banks for all of the funding you need to launch your small business. Special resources are also available to women and veterans who are interested in entering the realm of entrepreneurship.

The SBA offers online base courses on small business ownership as well. Podcasts and monthly Internet chats are also provided to give additional information on industry trends.

If you are interested in working one-on-one with a mentor or an experienced individual who has already established themselves in the entrepreneurship field, the SBA can help you. Special trainers can be found through the SCORE Association, small business development centers or the Women's Business Centers. Trade associations are also an ideal place to connect with an experienced entrepreneur.

Whether you think you need an MBA to succeed in the small beading business or just a little advice from a professional, preparation can be beneficial in any form.