Entrepreneurship Program Hopes to Reverse Business Failure Trends


COCC’s department of business administration has launched a new program of study. The Entrepreneurship Program is somewhat a “coming home” in the study of business.

To reverse the trend of business failures after the founder’s succession, early schools of business developed to train family and hired management to take the helm of an organization with the same entrepreneurial flair as the founder. But with the advent of public corporations and national and international corporations, business education became increasingly focused on training new managers in just one functional area such as marketing, finance, operations or human resources.

In the late 1960s, research indicated that small business not only represents more than 90 percent of all businesses in the United States producing half of the nation’s wealth, but also that small business is producing virtually all of the net job growth. Interest in entrepreneurship — an awkward word to say or spell coined by the French economist J. B. Say — was reborn. Say identified the entrepreneur as “the Master-agent or Adventurer in Industry” that is the critical source of continued economic growth. It is this role of master-agent and adventurer that the COCC Entrepreneurship Program is designed to promote. We do this by examining each of the traditional roles of management from the more company-wide and market-driven perspective of the entrepreneur.

Building on the foundation provided by our more traditional fundamentals courses in marketing, finance, operations or human resources, this program uses case studies and practical exercises in local business to build an appreciation of the complex interrelation among all aspects of business. The program differs from our Small Business Management Program (more on this at a later date) and Biz Center workshops because it is more focused on understanding concepts for their long-term strategic and tactical benefit rather than immediate remedial benefit.

Participants in this program may join on a noncredit basis — using their business experience to replace the fundamental business courses — or a credit and degree-seeking basis, taking the required fundamentals courses first. The objective is to develop the confidence to apply business fundamentals to a wide range of problems.

Upon completion of the program, the participant will have the creative, analytical and communications experience necessary to actively participate in the management team of any entrepreneurial business.

Business owners could participate in this program to test and sharpen their own skills, as well as contribute to the learning environment for the more traditional students. Owners should also consider enrolling key members of the management team to build their level of confidence and contribution, as well as bring new perspectives to company decisions. And degree-seeking students should find this an exciting and challenging program that prepares them for a management position in the small business that they will most likely work for and that will give them the most potential for advancement.

Ken Atwell is an instructor of business administration at Central Oregon Community College. For more information about the Entrepreneurship Program, workshops, and certificates or just to talk to someone about your business, call (541) 383-7290.


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