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New Free Think University Course Asks Students the Question: “Are You Entrepreneurial?”

Industry: Education

Growing popularity for entrepreneurship inspires new Free Think University course that defines and discusses various motives for entrepreneurship

Washington D.C. (PRUnderground) April 4th, 2014

The buzz about entrepreneurship is everywhere nowadays–from magazine covers to conferences, and hotel lobbies to university seminars. The French word entrepreneur first appeared in the French dictionary in 1723 to describe a person who organizes and operates a business by taking a financial risk. Since then the word entrepreneur has completely changed.

In 1975, Harvard professor Howard Stevenson defined entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” “Resources currently controlled” can be interpreted as limited resources. From that point of view, almost all of us have some level of entrepreneurial challenges.

The new Free Think University course experience presents several motives for social entrepreneurship. Each motive not only aims the business venture toward a differing destination, but it will inevitably employ different means as well.  The course encourages students to consider each motive or viewpoint and then decide not only if they are entrepreneurial, but which of these road maps will lead them to the success they desire.

Is the best motivation for entrepreneurship the motive of getting rich; of greed? Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko said in the 1987 film Wall Street, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” Adam Smith even argued that the invisible hand of market forces would ensure that the efforts of individuals acting in pursuit of their own self-interest made society as a whole better off. 

Ayn Rand’s view of “self” before “the collective” is presented as well. The famous American novelist and philosopher wrote about a specific form of entrepreneurism called “objectivism,” which the course further discusses through an article by David Kelley, the founder of the Atlas Society. He writes, “Personal responsibility cannot be taught in the form of duty. By its very nature, it cannot be taught as a set of rules to be obeyed, or as a sacrifice to be made for the sake of a later reward. It can only be taught in the form of principles—moral principles—that recognize the individual’s own life and happiness as his highest values, and his own mind as his only guide to action. That lesson, the essence of the Objectivist ethics, is just as important for America and other Western nations as it is for the victims of communism.”

Free Think University also presents another motive for entrepreneurial work: the one of compassion. The example given is of PovertyCure, an international network of organizations and individuals seeking to ground the common battle against global poverty in a proper understanding of the human person and society, and to encourage solutions that foster opportunity and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that already fills the developing world.

The conservative view of “let freedom prosper” is also presented. Entrepreneurship is a collaborative process, Integrating one’s own ideas and business with others. The case of the entrepreneur as “value creator” and actor for the common good is presented by Jim Van Eerden, a serial entrepreneur, private equity partner and entrepreneur-in-residence at Grove City College. 

“Many if not most of us have entrepreneurial qualities,” notes Free Think University co-founder Richard Henry, “Perhaps the best question might then be: Are you willing to develop your talents, passions, and abilities into successful paths of entrepreneurial endeavor?”

To access the full course, click here. For additional media information, please contact media@freethinku.com.

About Free Think University

Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to ideas@freethinku.com. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.

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About Free Think University

Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to ideas@freethinku.com. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.

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