For this proposal, a three-step program is being developed to help ensure that the WV Eastern Panhandle can capture and develop the young entrepreneurial gifts in the region to ensure optimum economic development for the region in the future. The three steps include:
1. Developing a valid instrument that will be able to find students in their early years of education so leaders in the region can single out those with potential at an early age and nurture their gift. There are similar instruments available which will be modified to find “clones” of successful entrepreneurs at a young age.
2. Adjusting university level educational offerings to better meet the needs of this professional group and improving the poor retention and boosting graduation rates currently experienced. Other issues involved in the university stage of a new entrepreneurship program would include the possible funding of a scholarship program specifically for the target audience, a mentoring-buddy system between entrepreneurship students and practicing or retired entrepreneurs and a re-scheduling of the traditional course timetable.
3. Establishing a student mentoring-encouragement system in conjunction with a community organization of professionals that will span the years of the potential entrepreneur’s educational experience and the first few years of their new business enterprise. As noted in the points above, research has shown that realistic involvement in the business community and personal ties to a caring entrepreneur is critical.
|Keywords:||Economic Gardening, Economic Development, Small Community Development, Attracting New Businesses, Entrepreneurship|
Associate Professor, Business, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV, USA
MBA Coordinator, Graduate School, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV, USA
Assistant Professor, Psychology, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV, USA
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