Entrepreneurs will shape our future.
They have problem-solving coded into their DNA. They are innovative, embrace challenges and change, are critical thinkers, questioning and always forward-thinking. Entrepreneurs see the bigger picture, think outside the box, are creative risk-takers and have the tenacity to follow through on their ideas.
Entrepreneurs are enormously important. They have the potential to help address societal challenges not only by creating jobs that contribute to our economy but by re-shaping the way we work and live.
But just how do you become a successful entrepreneur? While an entrepreneur might be innovative, creative and a big thinker, she may not have a natural aptitude for business strategy or an ability to keep control of finances. Young companies require versatile skills to be successful and these skills need nurturing. Entrepreneurs need an environment that fosters innovation and inspires new ideas and universities are a great match for them. They encourage innovation and are not afraid to navigate the unknown.
One such university is Rutgers, in Newark, New Jersey, where Lyneir Richardson has been cultivating such a relationship with entrepreneurs in the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED). The CUEED’s nine-month program for urban entrepreneurs has so far seen 400 enrol. Executive director Lyneir, an entrepreneur himself, plans to make it a 1,000.
The CUEED program isn’t just for Rutgers students or alumni. Its focus is on racially diverse, distressed urban neighborhoods and businesses like the local coffee shop or professional service provider. They want to accelerate and grow each and every one of them into a sustainable company. This will not only bring economic development to distressed neighborhoods, but also better neighborhood amenities, better educational outcomes and just altogether a better quality of life. And the entrepreneurs, as they become more successful, will become community anchors who employ locally and are active in their own community expanding the outcomes even further.
Listen to my interview with the passionate and energetic Lyneir Richardson.
Image by Jonathan Greene