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Don Kuratko

(L-R): College of Business Dean Hugh Sherman, Don Kuratko, Lynn Gellermann, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship

Photographer: Kelly Krivicich

Don Kuratko

Don Kuratko speaking to audience in Athens

Photographer: Kelly Krivicich

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Top entrepreneurship scholar encourages innovative thinking

Donald Kuratko stresses entrepreneurship study

Donald F. Kuratko, Indiana University professor of entrepreneurship, told the large crowd at the Ohio University Inn on Tuesday evening to think innovatively and not be afraid to share new ideas.
More than 180 students, faculty, staff and local community members attended ' the free lecture titled, "The Entrepreneurial Imperative of the 21st Century." The event was sponsored by the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship as part of its guest lecture series.

Kuratko is the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship, executive director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

"In the field of entrepreneurship, you have to understand what it really is – it's deep inside of us. It's something we believe in, that we have to get behind," Kuratko said.

A clip of the popular animated TV series "South Park" was used to illustrate business concepts and quotes were showcased by significant figures such as Socrates, Bernard Shaw, Machiavelli, Maynard Keynes and Ben & Jerry,  to name a few. 

"It's all about having vision, creation and change. Creation is innate in humans. Somewhere, sometime in our life, each and every one of us has wanted to create something," Kuratko said.

Through a chronicled history of entrepreneurship, Kuratko explained key moments in the nation's economic past – from stagflation to the dot-com boom to excessive spending that led to financial disaster.

Using encouraging dialogue, Kuratko shared examples of prominent entrepreneurs who were rejected because their ideas were thought to be too far-fetched, including Steve Jobs of Apple Computers and Fred Smith of Federal Express. He said they faced much adversity before succeeding in their business ventures, but were rewarded for their perseverance.

Kuratko also spoke about the great challenges in the entrepreneurial field today and how to seize new opportunities as they present themselves.

"As a generation, like it or not, you're being looked at as an entrepreneurial innovated generation," he said, emphasizing the importance of studying entrepreneurship. "We're looking to young people for answers, and for you it's a great opportunity. Don't fear it, embrace it."

OHIO freshman Emma Wright said she enjoyed Kuratko's presentation. 

"His lively attitude and active engagement of the audience made the lecture really interesting and kept me listening the entire time," Wright said.

Kuratko concluded his presentation by cautioning listeners about the danger in blocking new ideas, stating that oftentimes the biggest roadblock to new ideas is the attachment to old ways of thinking.

"Create the world you'd like to live in," he said, "Turbulence forces change and change breeds innovative ideas."

Kuratko will remain in Athens for a few more days, speaking to classes and select audiences.