Entrepreneurship Hub Babson Hosts A Week-Long Celebration Of The Power Of Business Creation

At Babson, Entrepreneurship Hub, A Week-Long Celebration Of The Power Of Business Creation

Babson College is hosting Global Entrepreneurship Week events on its Wellesley and Boston campuses through the week of November 13. Babson photo

Babson College has long been among the biggest names in entrepreneurship education. This year, Babson’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business was named No. 1 in Entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report for the 30th year in a row. The school in a small, quiet suburb of Boston is a perennial top-10 finisher in Poets&Quants‘ annual entrepreneurship ranking, this year finishing 8th. Even already-successful entrepreneurs are attracted to the Babson MBA program’s combination of foundational business finance learning and strong focus on innovation and turning ideas into action.

This week, November 13-19, Babson’s entrepreneurial bona fides will be on prominent display as the small school in a quiet Boston suburb hosts Global Entrepreneurship Week activities, with a full schedule of speakers, roundtables, and dinners.

The college didn’t achieve this reputation by accident. “Babson has been focused and dedicated to entrepreneurship education since the 1970s,” says Donna Levin, CEO of Babson’s Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

A co-founder of Care.com, Levin knows a thing or two about the importance of entrepreneurship. She says Babson aims to provide all of its students with the entrepreneurial skills and mindset to help them succeed in whatever path they choose, and that mission is deeply embedded in all areas of the college. “Babson has been a leader in the field of entrepreneurship and attaining an entrepreneur mindset,” Levin says. “The Blank School works with all of Babson’s graduate and undergraduate schools to “amplify the experience that our learners are having in the classroom.”


At Babson, Entrepreneurship Hub, A Week-Long Celebration Of The Power Of Business Creation

Babson’s Donna Levin: “The earlier that we can introduce entrepreneurship into a learner’s life, the better”

Global Entrepreneurship Week starts on Nov. 13, but is already underway at Babson. Unsurprsingly, the entrepreneurship-focused college takes the yearly event seriously, with speakers, competitions, and more. Levin explains that the Blank School works closely with programs at Olin, including the MBA program, to connect students with events and opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Many graduate and undergraduate students will be participating in Rocket Pitch, an annual event where students pitch their business or big idea in the span of just three minutes and three PowerPoint slides and get real-time feedback from students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and investors.

The event gives students the chance to experience the speed and pressure of a real business pitch, and get face to face with investors and leaders in the field. “Babson is all about not just talking, but also on doing,” Levin says, “our MBA students continually have a chance to do what we consider advanced exponential learning.”

This year, Global Entrepreneurship Week at Babson will feature keynote speaker John Jacobs, the co-founder and “Chief Creative Optimist” of the apparel and lifestyle brand Life Is Good. Jacobs and his brother started out selling shirts out of an old van on the streets of Boston and at colleges and street fairs around the East Coast before their brand took off. “He’s truly a leader,” Levin says of Jacobs, “one that shows that you can bootstrap to start something and that you could be a positive force for good as a values based leader in the world.”

Levin says this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week programming is focusing on family businesses like Life Is Good, and their importance in all areas and levels of commerce. Babson is a founding member of the research consortium Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Levin said the research organization recently looked into the impact of family business and found that “70 to 90% of all GDP is supported by some type of family business and these family enterprises need to reinvent themselves all the time.” Babson will host a live case study with one of the co-chairs of the family-owned company, The Gorilla Glue Company. “Students and alums and anyone in the community will have a chance to work in small groups and work with the company on some challenges that they are facing,” Levin says of the event.

For Babson, entrepreneurship education isn’t just about creating a business plan or reaching a profit margin. An entrepreneurial mindset helps people to find ways to solve societal problems and put these ideas into practice to help others, she says.

“Our learners are really encouraged and inspired — regardless of what field they ultimately decide to focus on — to create economic and societal value simultaneously,” Levin says, and explained that Babson recently updated its entire curriculum with a focus on “integrated sustainability.” At Babson, she says, students are encouraged to find ways to positive change at every stage of their professional and personal journey: “They don’t need to wait until they do well to do good.”


Levin believes that entrepreneurship education is of utmost importance for everyon in our world today, whether or not they are trying to make the Forbes list. “At this point and as we look towards the future, entrepreneurship is a core requirement,” she said.

Entrepreneurship is about the ability to recognize where a problem exists, who it affects, and what the most important needs to meet are to solve the problem, then develop a solution that meets these unique needs, Levin explains. It’s also about “getting comfortable with the failure” that comes along with tackling problems head-on and learning how to progress and improve through failing. The Blank School provides entrepreneurship education not just to Babson students, but to learners of all ages. Various centers and institutes within the school run programs for girls in the foster care system, older adults who work in nonprofits, and more. Babson also offers entrepreneurship-teaching training for high school teachers and other higher education institutions.

Levin emphasizes the importance of teaching entrepreneurship early: “The earlier that we can introduce entrepreneurship into a learner’s life, the better,” she says. “There is well-researched data that shows particularly, say, starting in middle school, if entrepreneurship is introduced into a community where those students have struggled that their rates of and approach to resiliency, to continuing their academic studies up and through high school, increase.

“We know in communities where entrepreneurship is introduced into high schools, that the students who participate in those entrepreneurial programs have a higher rate of graduation.”


Part of Babson’s Global Entrepreneurship Week programming is an event called The Blue Economy Effect — “40% of the world’s population lives near coastal areas. More than 3 billion people utilize the oceans for their livelihood, and 80% of the world trade is achieved using the seas. We think it’s an important conversation and thoughts that everyone should be thinking about,” Levin says about the event.

Global Entrepreneurship Week shines a spotlight on the universality of entrepreneurship and the visionaries putting ideas into action around the world, but Levin says that when it comes to entrepreneurship education, its vital to train students to think globally all year round. “You can pick up almost any news story today and realize that we are all interconnected,” she says. “We’ve tried to make sure that we provide opportunities to engage, learn, connect, and to really press our thinking across a broad spectrum of things going on around the globe.”

Many Babson MBA students participate in “abroad and away” electives and travel to locations as distant as Athens or Bangkok or to domestic economic centers like Atlanta to visit company sites, go on cultural excursions, and get hands-on learning experiences. Levin says the Blank School helps connect students with entrepreneurs and companies here and abroad looking to expand to allow students to apply their global learning both in and out of the classroom.

Levin says Babson partners with a variety of academic institutions, companies, and organizations around the world to provide students with opportunities to apply their learning and to make positive societal change. “If we really want to see the impact that we all desire to have in the world,” she says, “that comes from us all working together.”


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