Perhaps one of the most notable young entrepreneurs of our time is Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg has gained much fame, wealth, and success and has been named one of the most influential people of the world by Time magazine, all this by the age of 28. This wonderful success story has many young people asking themselves, "What can I do to become a successful entrepreneur?"
School of Management associate professor of management, Mahesh Joshi, has done much research in the field of entrepreneurship and notes there are almost no high schools in the United States that spend time on innovation and entrepreneurship as a dedicated subject. There are, however, other outlets available to help high school students learn about business.
TiE DC, an entrepreneurial focused networking organization comprising business executives across the Washington, D.C., metro region, offers a program that introduces students to the world of business and entrepreneurship. TiE DC is the local chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, and education. TiE currently has 13,000 members in 61 chapters across 17 countries.
TiE-DC Young Entrepreneurs (TyE) consists of a ten day boot camp spread over ten weeks which include guest lecturers and speakers discussing a number of key business areas. Throughout the program, students are guided in creating a business plan. At the end of the ten weeks, students participate in a business plan competition where they pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Winners from the competition go on to compete against the winners from other chapters around the world in a global competition.
Professor Joshi became involved with TyE in 2011, as a guest speaker. He enjoyed working with the organization so much he brought the program to the attention of the School of Management's Dean Haddock and proposed that the school host the 2012 business plan competition. With Dean Haddock's support, Joshi facilitated the business plan competition at Mason's Fairfax campus.
This year, the School of Management continued to support TyE by hosting 40 of the 80 students in the program for the boot camp. The other 40 students were hosted by the University of Maryland. Joshi also took on a larger role with the project by becoming the lead faculty member for the program.
"I have a passion for promoting entrepreneurship," says Joshi. "I want to teach these students that the success of Facebook is the final outcome. The journey is very hard but those that are truly dedicated can succeed. Who knows which student out of this program is the next success story?"
Joshi also wants to impart to students the importance of not only being dedicated, but also innovative. He says, "At their level students don't need to understand theory, but if they take anything away, it is that entrepreneurs solve problems and you solve problems when you think differently."
The 2013 TiE Global Business Competition for young entrepreneurs also will be held at George Mason University in June. The president of the TiE DC chapter, Dolly Oberoi, also serves on George Mason University's Board of Trustees.