Blog: Jane Sydlowski

Jane Sydlowski is the President of AMI Strategies --recognized by Deloitte in 2003 as a "Fast 500 public and private technology company." Jane lectures students in Wayne State University's entrepreneurial program and serves on the Michigan Council of Women in Technology and Greenpath, Inc.

Jane writes about Michigan's need for a "Entrepreneurial Experience Engine."

Post No. 2

Can Michigan raise Entrepreneurs?

Well, you may say, we will raise our kids to be entrepreneurs and the keys will be given to them. We could start teaching these skills in our colleges and universities. My experience with this is interesting, as I have had the privilege to teach a class or two in an entrepreneurial program at Wayne State University. The program is excellent. However, if the product at the end of the day is a student bound for owning his/her own business, it is short sighted. Professors (and this would be everywhere) are judged and evaluated by their students.

To teach entrepreneurship you would have to "beat the heck" out of the students so that they developed the stomach for all the things they were about to go through; from law suits, to severe debt, to dealing with politics in a sale, and on and on. It would have to be like "conditioning" for football. Brutal. This is completely "anti administration" for colleges and universities. Do our school systems have the emotional, financial, creative and skill strength to teach quality Entrepreneurship Programs?

Unfortunately, our educational institutions have too many constraints (ie. tenure, etc.) and are simply too "stuck in their ways" to move this initiative forward. Couple this with the fact that the parents of these kids are from the entitlement era (given things based upon where you are versus who you are) and you have a situation that is not exactly conducive to creating personal accountability and entrepreneurial behavior.

Could we raise our children to have entrepreneurial skills? The "Entrepreneurial Experience Engine" should be taught in grade school and followed up in high schools, by specific certified business owners. It should be a pre-requisite for getting into a college or university. Even if a student out of college begins his/her career working for corporate America (or any other profession), these skills will prepare him or her to: 1- think for themselves, 2- think outside the box and 3- be a self starter! How valuable is that?

Why do we care about this? Michigan's future!