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With lifetime employment at one large company becoming increasingly rare, entrepreneurship education is a growing trend on university and community college campuses throughout the United States. Interviews with educators and incubator managers describe how students learn about entrepreneurship and get practical experience starting their own companies -- and how incubators can help.

Campus entrepreneurship: What it is, why it’s big and how incubators can help

by Corinne Colbert

October 2007

It’s an idea that’s been around for years, but has exploded in recent decades, heralded by some as the future of small business. Google the term “entrepreneurship education” and you’ll get nearly 2 million hits.

In 1970, only 16 business schools in the U.S. offered entrepreneurship classes. Today, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, more than 2,000 colleges and universities offer at least one entrepreneurship course. The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, founded in 2001, has more than 600 members; the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a collective of university-based programs, has more than 150.

“Entrepreneurship is the reality of the American economy,” says Marge Smelstor, vice president for Kauffman Campuses and Higher Education Programs with the Kauffman Foundation. “Universities are responding to that reality.”

But what exactly is campus entrepreneurship – and what role can incubators have (or do they have) in this movement? NBIA talked with members involved in campus entrepreneurship programs, as well as other experts, to find out.

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Keywords: mentoring program, seminars and training programs, student intern, university partnerships, youth incubation

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