SOURCE: Vector Marketing

June 04, 2013 09:57 ET

Today's Youth Favor Entrepreneurism, but Few Have Skills, According to Poll

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK--(Marketwired - Jun 4, 2013) - While today's youth find the prospects of becoming an entrepreneur appealing, very few will have the sales and marketing skills and know-how, unless educational systems change and appropriate mentors are identified. These were among the recent findings of a Gallup Poll survey of middle and high school students.

"These findings aren't necessarily surprising," said Mike Williams, an associate dean and marketing professor at the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. "Those sentiments extend to the college ranks. If you ask seniors if they want to go into business for themselves, the answer is 'yes.' That's their dream."

The survey findings indicate that 43 percent of those surveyed in 2012 plan to start their own business. However, only 7 percent are currently interning with a local business.

When Williams pursues the issue further, he frequently finds many of these students are not able to close the gap between entrepreneurial aspirations and actually implementing a plan.

"Many don't do it," he said, "because they haven't pinned down what they will take to market. And many may not have the skills."

The author of numerous textbooks on sales, Williams is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Vector Marketing, the direct sales division for CUTCO Corporation. The largest kitchen cutlery manufacturer in North America, CUTCO sells its products through a national network of college students who sell through in-home personal demonstrations.

"These students learn the basics of sales, which are really the foundation of entrepreneurism," he said. "They learn, as do all entrepreneurs, that if you don't sell, you don't earn. The college students who have sold Cutco are shortening the learning process on their way to becoming entrepreneurs, whether they stay with Vector or move on to other careers."

Williams said that many major corporations are seeking graduates with entrepreneurial attitudes.

"They want graduates who think creatively," he said, "and are willing to spend time on projects that will benefit the company in the future."

According to Williams, these Vector sales representatives have learned valuable skills and traits, including critical thinking, self confidence, empathy, organization, time management, communications, and enthusiasm.

"When I meet a Cutco sales representative, they make eye contact, they are confident, they communicate effectively," he said. "These young entrepreneurs stand out as leaders with life experiences. They have gained significant professional and life experiences at a young age."

He added that universities are recognizing that sales and entrepreneurship are a growing career path for students, and they are responding with curriculums and mentorship programs that will assist them.

About Cutco Cutlery Corporation and Vector Marketing
Cutco Cutlery is a 64-year-old company with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Olean, New York. Vector Marketing is the company's sales division, coordinating all sales for Cutco Cutlery through a national network of college students who sell products through in-home personal demonstrations. More than 15 million US households have a Cutco product.

Meinders School Of Business
The Meinders School of Business located in the heart of Oklahoma City offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. At MSB, our world-class faculty train future business leaders through innovative teaching methods in a small, urban, private school setting providing students a firm foundation for a lifelong career. 

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