Employment Opportunity: Growing Enrollment in Entrepreneurship classes

Business professors nationwide and in Arkansas are reporting the growing trend. Carol Reeves, an associate professor of management at the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business, says entrepreneurship programs have been the fastest growing major at universities. This, as the national unemployment rate hovers at 10 percent, and investment banks and Wall Street firms aren’t hiring as many business school graduates as they once did. Reeves’ class has gone from just 2 students in 2000 to 30 this year. At Harding University at Searcy, enrollment in entrepreneurship classes have doubled in the last five years. Such programs teach students everything from how to write a business plan to management, accounting and marketing. Professors point out that while entrepreneurship classes won’t turn just any undergrad into the next Bill Gates, they can decrease the chance that a new business will fail. And it’s a tough market. About 60 percent of start-up businesses will close after four years. But by taking entrepreneurship classes and receiving other outside help from resources such as business incubators, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of survival after six years to between 85 and 90 percent. Soon, some of the best and brightest of student business plans will be on display. The annual Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Business Plan competition is coming up. First-place prize is $20,000. This year’s awards will be announced at a luncheon next Monday.