NIU to host entrepreneurship seminars

By Elizabeth M. Behland and Stephanie Bradley

NIU will host one of several entrepreneurship seminars that will be held nationwide to introduce the development and operation process of small businesses.

James Thomson, U.S. Small Business Administration’s regional administrator, said NIU will conduct a Young Entrepreneur Seminar “to share information with young people or people that are young at heart, as far as opportunities in operations or running a small business.”

He said about 130 seminars will take place simultaneously across the country.

Edward Harris, NIU marketing and entrepreneurship education professor and coordinator for the Illinois Institute of Entrepeneur Education, said, “Illinois has the only entrepreneurship institution in the nation.” He said Illinois will host 15 of the 130 national entrepreneurship seminars while most states will have one or two seminar locations.

Thomson said the seminar is a “good marriage” between federal and state sponsorship, including the SBA and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

The seminar will be held Oct. 22 in the Holmes Student Center’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 3:30 p.m.

Students interested must register with Harris by Oct. 7. There is a $15 registration fee.

Harris said the registration fee will be used to pay for lunch and “for entrepreneur education. It will all go back for the youth, plus a lot more.”

Scholarships will be donated by local businesses for students who are unable to pay the registration fee, he said.

Thomson said the seminar will consist of workshops conducted by local business people such as bankers and lawyers. He said the workshops will include “The Ingredients of Personal/Business Success” and “Knowing How to Develop a Sound Business Plan.”

Thomson said about three young entrepreneurs also will be present to discuss how they began in small business. “At the end of the seminar, people will have gained a personal approach from people who are out there,” he said.

Harris said, “I think what young people are searching for is independence. This (seminar) ia an opportunity to see if this (entreprneurship) is what you want to do in life.”

Thomson said independent small business is the way of the future. He indicated many students leave school wanting to work in large firms but find themselves in smaller companies. Others work in large firms but become disillusioned, or find it is not what they really want. These people also end up working in small firms or becoming entrepreneurs, he said.

Thomson said although it might be difficult, there are ways young people can find financing for their projects. He said he would like to involve local bankers by giving them the advantages of financing a young entrepreneur.