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Girls Club

Today's college women are gearing up to be tomorrow's entrepreneurs.

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This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you've been paying attention to the state of women's business, you've heard the oft-mentioned fact from the Center for Women's Business Research: Women-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of all privately held firms. But we at Entrepreneur wondered: Is that passion for entrepreneurship hitting women at the college level?

The good news is that, yes, entrepreneurial educators are seeing more interest from young aspiring women entrepreneurs than ever before, says Jill Kickul, the Elizabeth J. McCandless Chair in Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston. "The [number] of women who are looking at entrepreneurship as a career option is increasing," she says. However, notes Kickul, young women are not always confident in their business abilities, according to recent research conducted at Simmons in conjunction with the Committee of 200, a national women's business networking and advocacy nonprofit organization. The women who had the most confidence were the ones who had either a strong entrepreneurial role model or some type of entrepreneurship training. Based on that knowledge, Kickul says, Simmons' entrepreneurship training is built around role models--bringing in successful entrepreneurs, having entrepreneurial labs and the like. "One practicum experience involves working throughout a semester with a woman entrepreneur," says Kickul. "Students help [the entrepreneur] do various things--build a business model or strategy, or a growth, financial or marketing plan."

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