Monday, November 07, 2005

The voice of the best and brightest students - Part I

Friday I attended an Advisory Board meeting of the Clemson College of Business and Behavioral Science. The highlight was a discussion with 20 or so members of the College's Student Advisory Board. It is always encouraging and uplifting to be around the best and brightest young people.

I told them that recently the Greenville Chamber had gone to Austin, TX, where we were told that Austin was entrepreneurial in large part because of the large concentration of students. The point was made that several large companies in Austin had been founded by people 19 to 24 years old.

I asked the Clemson students how many of them anticipated starting their own company versus getting a job right out of school. That led to a very interesting discussion.

Several said they were very interested in starting their own company, but weren't sure how. They very much wanted to get plugged into the business community, but didn't know how. They didn't feel the culture at Clemson, and the Upstate in general, encouraged and fostered entrepreneurial risk taking.

That should be a wake up call for us. We all know that is critical we retain the best and brightest young talent, and we are concerned that we lose too many to other more supportive regions. Students are interested in building relationships with the business community, but don't know how.

That is a problem the business community needs to solve. My guess is that it is not much different in other regions of the southeast. Retaining the best and brightest talent already at our strong universities is low hanging fruit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a 51 year old entrepreneur. I think that by focusing only on young entreprenuers, ignores the fact that they do not have practical business experience. A better idea is to match more seasoned and creative business experts with young college grads to develop next generation ideas that will allow South Carolina to compete globally.

William J. Duckett
Charleston, SC