The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) reignited the “Spark the Dream” presentation at Southwest Tennessee Community College (Southwest) Feb. 22, 2022, to allow students to learn from real-world startup business owners what it takes to launch a small business.
This year’s speaker was Taiwo Stanback, co-founder of Youdle, a “shop local” community mobile app launched during the pandemic that crowdsources merchandise data so shoppers can shop local and efficiently find what they need. The native Memphian and product of Yale shared the valuable lessons she learned creating the startup. “We learned that it really does take a village to make an idea come to life,” Stanback said.
“From our mentors and advisors to our interns at TSBDC to our partners in the Memphis community, we could not have done this alone. As an entrepreneur, you have to be humble about your strengths and weaknesses,” Stanback added. “The TSBDC filled in gaps to bring our company to the point where people wanted to invest in us and help us grow. We are truly grateful.”
Stanback is a prime example of a growing trend in small business startups. Entrepreneurs are getting younger. More college students than ever are crafting their academic journeys to prepare them for business ownership. According to a 2021 Guidant Financial study that surveyed more than 2,400 current and aspiring small business owners, baby boomers make up 41percent of small business owners. Interestingly, 13 percent of entrepreneurs were millennials, followed by Generation Z or “Zoomers” at 1 percent.
Although younger entrepreneurs remain in the minority, their numbers continue to grow. Since 2018, the rate of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. in the age group 20-34 it was 0.24 percent, or 240 new entrepreneurs age 20 to 34 for every 100,000 adults. Thanks, in part, to the infusion of real-world business training into the college experience, that rate has increased steadily each month.
The upcoming ImagineU Summer Internship Program is a shining example of the TSBDC’s impact on this shift in entrepreneurship and how it is turning its focus to millennials. ImagineU is a unique, immersive and intensive 12-week entrepreneurial experience in which students learn and live the early-stage entrepreneurship journey. The lessons learned from mistakes can have a high cost in time, money, opportunity, and business relationships. A good business education can inform decisions in such key areas as identifying target customers, selecting the best business structure, understanding fundamental accounting and inventory methods, and intellectual property protection.
During the program, students will identify problems at the intersections of their passion, experience, and knowledge. They then will establish a company together based on the most compelling and feasible opportunities they identified in the early stages of the program.
In addition to offering the program to Southwest students, the TSBDC will sponsor two University of Memphis students this summer. ImagineU participants will receive a $3,000 stipend and training in:
Southwest Tennessee Community College and University of Memphis students must apply for ImagineU 2022 by March 4. For more information about ImagineU, visit ImagineU Summer Accelerator – Crews Center – The University of Memphis at www.memphis.edu/crews or call 901-678-4070.
Southwest offers credentials in entrepreneurship and small business management. The TSBDC network provides financial and technical resources to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals with business ideas. Visit southwest.tn.edu and tsbdc.org for more information.
NaShawn Branch, DBA, is the executive director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. Passionate about helping small business owners succeed, he has advised more than 500 small-to-medium-sized businesses, including 54 startups, and has raised more than $4.5 million in capital infusion over the past 10 years.
Guidant Financial 2022. 2021 Small Business Trends & Statistics. https://www.guidantfinancial.com/small-business-trends
Statista. 2022. Rate of new entrepreneurs, by age U.S. 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/693467/rate-of-new-entrepreneurs-by-age-us/
Want to stay ahead of who & what is next? The national Inno newsletter is your definitive first-look at the people, companies & ideas shaping and driving the U.S. innovation economy.
You may have the excitement of moving. You are going to be part of your dream home or job. You can stay nearer to your family and friends....Read more