March 21--Passion is the top characteristic business leaders and students must possess to realize their dreams, an entrepreneurial expert said Wednesday.
Dr. Donald Kuratko detailed the "Entrepreneurial Imperative of the 21st Century" during an address before local business owners, health care professionals and students at Missouri Western State University. Dr. Kuratko is the executive and academic director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the The Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana. He is an innovation consultant to numerous Fortune 100 corporations.
His appearance at Western was sponsored by the university's Craig School of Business. Interim Dean Carol Roever said his books are proving popular as texts for the school's use.
"We wanted to bring in an expert to give us some guidance," Ms. Roever told the audience. The reference tied in with the university's goal of creating an entrepreneurial minor degree, along with a center for entrepreneurialism geared for the university and community. Western has developed an entrepreneurial program for graduates that showcases a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
Dr. Kuratko -- known by the student-inspired nickname "Dr. K" -- wrote an entrepreneurial textbook that was first rejected by publishers in the 1980s. It is now in its ninth edition.
"I'm one of the pioneers in entrepreneurial education," he said. "You're going to hear from a bit of a zealot today."
Despite its obscurity just three decades ago, Dr. Kuratko said entrepreneurialism has become vital to everyone and for all parts of society.
"I've been amazed at how many people don't understand entrepreneurialism. People thought it was all about money," he said. "Money's not the answer to everything."
Organizations stifle ideas and creativity, Dr. Kuratko said, by believing that innovations will not be supported by budgets.
"It's about seeing opportunity where others don't," he said. "That's important for all of us in the 21st century. ... Ideas are the key to innovation."
Challenges still persist against developing business innovations.
"We've still got resistance to change," he said. "You've got to be open to ideas."
He cited Facebook, Ben & Jerry's and Amazon.com as examples of a vision that succeeded.
"These guys changed the way we think about business," he said.
It's people rather than institutions that create business innovations, he said.
"It gets back to us as individuals," he said. "It's going to be up to us. Everything is always impossible before it works."
Ray Scherer can be reached at email@example.com.
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