Trying to Redefine Entrepreneurship

by John A. Byrne on

What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?

That’s the question Babson College has been asking people for the past six months, and the school has gotten plenty of answers.

“Inventing new ways of improving people’s lives,” is how Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino defines the popular word.

“Entrepreneurship is innovation mixed with hard work and the passion to make your dreams come true,” says iconic footwear designer Ruthie Davis.

The school says that more than 100,000 people around the world have engaged in its crowd-sourcing effort to extend the dictionary definition of the word ‘entrepreneurship.’ Through Babson College’s ‘redefining entrepreneurship’ campaign, visitors from all 50 states and 147 countries have engaged with Babson’s recently launched digital hub, define.babson.edu.

The effort was launched in January to reinforce Babson’s identity as the top business school in entrepreneurship at a time when many rivals have now jumped on that popular bandwagon. Babson has long been ranked first by U.S. News for entrepreneurship.

More than 2,000 text and multimedia definitions of the word entrepreneurship have been posted and shared through the hub, including those submitted by Apple evangelist and Garage.com founder, Guy Kawasaki, President and CEO of the Nike Foundation, Maria Eitel, and former U.S. Department of State advisor Steven Koltai. Outside of the U.S., the countries with the greatest visitors include India, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Mexico, Canada, Bulgaria, Brazil, Germany, Chile and China.

The school says the campaign is helping to extend the definition of entrepreneurship in order to help shape how the world views and values entrepreneurs of all kinds. Through the campaign, the community-at-large can post and share their definitions and access information about the entrepreneurial experience.

With more than 2,000 definitions posted to date, it’s clear there is no limit to the ways entrepreneurship can be defined,” said Babson Chief Marketing Officer Sarah L. Sykora in a statement. “The word ‘entrepreneurship’ means much more than just starting a business. ‘Entrepreneurial Thought and Action’ is being applied in many contexts, from large corporations to social causes, and by people of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. As the recognized global leader in entrepreneurship education, we are incredibly excited about the early interest and energy this campaign has generated. The overwhelming response signals to us that, regardless of the words they use to define it, people recognize entrepreneurship as a powerful force for solving the economic, social and environmental issues confronting our world.”

As Babson continues to crowd-source definitions, the College also will begin incorporating select definitions into its fully integrated branding campaign, which includes print, digital, outdoor and radio components. The campaign was conceptualized and executed in partnership with Connelly Partners, a leading full service advertising agency in Boston.

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