Encouraging entrepreneurship in young adults

Jody VenkatesanThis week the University hosted nearly 200 high school delegates at the 60th annual National Leadership Forum. The event featured several lectures regarding topics such as leadership, attitude, economy, and issues related to environment and agriculture.

Among the speakers was Jody Venkatesan, a 1996 Harding alumnus. Venkatesan, owner of a professional consulting firm, spoke to students about the American economy and its opportunities for entrepreneurship.

“You don’t find a sense of entrepreneurship like you do in Silicon Valley anywhere else,” Venkatesan said in his presentation Tuesday morning.

Venkatesan spoke about how his early career experiences in internal and external auditing provided him with knowledge to develop his own company. He shared concrete steps to take when starting a business, such as incorporating and obtaining a tax ID. For many students, this was the first time someone had detailed how to go about being an entrepreneur.

“We ought to be teaching young people to become entrepreneurs, not telling them that they can’t,” Venkatesan said in his presentation. “You learn by going out and doing things, not by doing nothing.”

Venkatesan delved into several economic topics during his presentation, touching on national debt, national budget deficit, free market and the global economy. The basic overview aimed to inform students of where their ideas might fit in the broader picture of the nation’s economy.

In closing, Venkatesan shared student ideas for products, services or businesses. He said there is value in ideas, especially ones that improve upon existing processes. He encouraged them not to undersell themselves and to pursue their ideas.

“Economic growth is constantly being driven by innovation, research and development,” Venkatesan said. “It will continue to be driven by this generation of innovators.”

Shelby Dias, director of news services

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