Thursday, October 22, 2009

Part 3 of 3 : The Ohio State University Business Builders Club: An in depth discussion

The Business Builders Club at Ohio State University and Young Entrepreneurship in Columbus, Ohio

Part 3 of a 3 part interview with President Luke Barbara regarding the Business Builders Club and the Entrepreneur community in Columbus.

click here for Part 1 of 3 : The Ohio State University Business Builders Club: An in depth discussion

click here for Part 2 of 3 : The Ohio State University Business Builders Club: An in depth discussion

By Mark Subel
TechLife Columbus
Twitter: @marksubel

TL: Do you believe Columbus is an entrepreneur friendly community and why or why not?

LB: Yes and no, and becoming more yes than no.

Columbus has a low cost of living that is very conducive to bootstrapping a business. It also has a very tight-knit entrepreneurial community that allows an entrepreneur to get plugged-in quickly and get connected with the people and resources they need.

Areas for improvement include more access to investment capital, a greater tolerance for risk (especially in new types of business), and more startups to create a positive "compost pit" of entrepreneurship - that will allow for recycling of talent when inevitably some start ups fail.

TL: What would you like to see improved in the Columbus business community to help foster more entrepreneurship from students and recent graduates?

LB: Many people talk about attract-and-retain, but it doesn't seem that much is done in this respect until people need students to come work for their companies. Business Builders Club focuses on catalyzing entrepreneurship at Ohio State. I would like to see many of the initiatives we are doing expanded throughout the community. IdeaPitch competitions should be a staple at every high school in Columbus. Why wouldn't they be?! It's also a great opportunity for companies to show they support young Columbus entrepreneurs and to identify the next cool thing and brightest people.

I think the fostering of an entrepreneurial culture could start much earlier than it currently does. I'm talking about IdeaPitch competitions for 1st graders. So much energy is directed to youth sports and most of that energy is really positive. But face it, your kid probably isn't going to be a professional athlete - but they could definitely benefit in the long run from entrepreneurial thinking and being innovative.

What if Columbus became known as the entrepreneurial city that had middle-schoolers starting businesses left and right? How's that for an All Star team?

TL: Why should an aspiring entrepreneur join the BBC?

LB: The Business Builders Club is simply the best resource for entrepreneurship at Ohio State. We will connect that entrepreneur will the knowledge, resources, and connections to help them successfully build their businesses. It will also give them a lifelong network of entrepreneurs who are going to do amazing things during their lifetime. That's something you can't even begin to put a value on.

TL: What are your goals for improving the BBC over the coming year?

LB: My goals for this year are to work with my team to institutionalize the knowledge, processes, and relationships of the Business Builders Club. We created a number of cool initiatives last year and throughout the years, now it's time to create systems so those run better, faster, and cheaper.

The event that I'm most excited for this year is the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit 2010, a world-class event focused on market-based solutions to poverty. We are going to put Ohio State on the map as a leader in Social Entrepreneurship.

I envision the Business Builders Club being around forever and continuing to catalyze entrepreneurship at Ohio State and throughout the world.

Persons interested in getting involved with the Business Builder’s Club at OSU, can contact them through a number of outlets: - new site launching soon!
Twitter: @OhioStateBBC


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