Accessibility links

Breaking News

Business Schools Strive to Produce Entrepreneurs

During the cold war, there were essentially three economic systems -- capitalism, socialism and an amalgam of the two, the mixed economies popular in what was called the third world. Today the global standard is the market economy and entrepreneurship is being taught at universities and schools around the world. Barry Wood has this report.

Mthuli Ncube is a man with a mission. He heads the institute for entrepreneurship at Johannesburg's Witwatersrand University, one of the most prestigious in the developing country. He is teaching a new generation of African entrepreneurs. "We teach them the principles of how a person who is passionate would typically behave, hoping that will stimulate the individual within, the entrepreneurial potential. Things around self-discovery, knowing who you are. We ask them do you have a personal mission statement?," he said.

Ncube says South Africa desperately needs entrepreneurs to follow in the footsteps of people like Richard Maponya. Maponya made millions in property and retailing.

The fascination with entrepreneurship is strong in other developing countries. In China and India, the brightest prospective managers -- thousands of them -- are attending graduate schools of business where entrepreneurship is part of the curriculum.

Programs in the developing world tend to be inspired by the American model.

At some American universities, business students are required to launch a business before they graduate. Elaine Allen teaches entrepreneurship at Babson College in Boston.

"Before we teach them anything about accounting or finance, we have them come in, and we say, 'Okay groups of 15, start a business. We'll give you $2,000 seed money,' and at the end of the second semester almost all of them have made a profit. Often the profits are as much as $50,000 or $60,000, all of which they have to donate to charity."

At the University of Maryland near Washington, students are also required to start businesses. Melissa Carrier says the Internet has made that easier. "..It doesn't take a lot of funding to build an Internet business. So, in a lot of cases you can build a Website for less than $10,000, create some advertising, and build a nice small business," she said.

World Bank specialist Dahlia Khalifa says the notion that governments can provide jobs is obsolete. "Over the past 20 to 30 years, the trend has been to recognize that that just doesn't work. Governments can't provide jobs. Governments can't be the generator of growth for the economy. That falls to the private sector," she said.

In South Africa, the private sector is promoting black entrepreneurs. Carolyn Menyape has her own employment agency. It recruits employees for the banking industry. "So this person is coming in? It's a new position that they have created--must have experience with assessments," she said.

Menyape may not have been through the entrepreneurship program at Witwatersrand University, but she has the passion and determination that its director is seeking in future entrepreneurs.