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The "E" word: When Jeffry Timmons refers to the E-Generation and its E-Revolution, E stands for entrepreneurship, the force that drives it all

by Meredith Erlewine

February 2000

Almost every time you read about or listen to Jeffry Timmons, he's talking about an entrepreneurial revolution: "We are in the midst of a silent revolution – a triumph of the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of humankind throughout the world," says Timmons, a professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. "I believe its impact on the 21st century will equal or exceed that of the Industrial Revolution on the 19th and 20th."

Ten years ago people may not have agreed but today no one blinks at Timmons' assertion. You need only to scan the NASDAQ or read any business publication to know he's right. But a key question remains. What is it that drives the entrepreneurial process that's causing the revolution? Timmons has been building the answer for decades. In more recent years – recognizing the major economic impact of start-up firms – academics, corporate executives and others have joined him in tracking down the answer.

Since 1977, when Timmons published the first edition of New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship For The 21st Century (now an entrepreneurship classic), there has been a dramatic increase in academia's interest in entrepreneurship. In the 1970s, he says, between 50 and 75 business and engineering schools offered a course on new ventures. By the mid 1980s, the number had grown to about 500. Experts now estimate that as many as 1,400 educational institutions offer courses in entrepreneurship.

NBIA interviewed the man Inc. magazine has called the "Johnny Appleseed of entrepreneurship education" to find out where this ever-changing field is headed as the new millennium begins. Timmons' thoughts on the subject of entrepreneurship range as far and wide as his long involvement in the field.

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Keywords: research -- entrepreneurship

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