In today’s hyper-partisan era, one goal crosses the political divide: the need for more entrepreneurs.
Encomia are everywhere: Politicians praise them, Hollywood lionizes them, venture capitalists chase them, universities foster them. Entrepreneurs, from Henry Ford to Elon Musk, are embedded in American lore. In an earlier era they were popularized in Horatio Alger rags-to-riches terms; today it’s the garage-to-tech-titan stories that have legendary status for Millennials.
Could it be, however, that we’ve hit peak preoccupation with entrepreneurship?
Although entrepreneurial magic is often discussed in “tech” terms, the reality is most startups involve such things as restaurants and lawn services or electricians and car services — much of which require no college degree. By contrast, the vast majority of tech entrepreneurs emerge from universities.
Have colleges and universities received the message? The battle to have schools take entrepreneurship seriously has been won. Consider how much has changed.
When boomers left high schools, circa 1970, there were just 16 colleges and universities offering courses in entrepreneurship....
Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, and author of Expanding America's Petroleum Power: Geopolitics in the Third Oil Era. Follow him on Twitter here.
Julio M. Ottino is Dean of Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering.