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Supporter of entrepreneurship: Dr. Donald F. Kuratko.


Dr. Donald F. Kuratko

Ball State University


Behind his back, his students might call Donald F. Kuratko "Mr. Goader." For seven years he has prodded, pushed, pressured and, yes, goaded students in his small business management/entrepreneurship program to get a vision of the "real world," where you succeed or fail. In his hard-breathing classes at Ball State University you get an "A," or you flunk. Not much difference. In a "risk it all, do or die" atmosphere Kuratko says his students are "challenged to teach themselves, so they can enter the business world with the confidence to do things they never believed they could. With theory plus practice they are more prepared to take on the challenges of the corporate environment." Well more than 100 of his students have taken their Kuratkogained entrepreneurial knowledge into indiana business enterprises. Some, which had their origins in his classes, now are making a contribution to the Hoosier economy.

Class members are required to research every facet of a new business venture and to explain in detail how it would operate. Their 50- to 200-page proposals are evaluated by a board of indianapolis businessmen and businesswomen that includes accountants, investment bankers, venture capitalists and management consultants. Later, students find out whether their business plans did or died. if the latter, they have to go around again a year later, because the top grade is required for graduation.

Beyond developing, coordinating and teaching in the program, Kuratko makes presentations all over the country and abroad, has written more than 80 articles and five books on his subject, and consults with GTE, BlueCross/ Blue Shield, Forbes, Inc., and Union Carbide Corp., among others.

He has received "The George Washington Medal of Honor" for entrepreneurship and "The Leavey Foundation Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise." Equally noteworthy is his selection by Ball State students as "Professor of the Year" for five straight years.

Asked by the university to create a new, original "dream" course, he developed "The Family in Business." The description says it combines entrepreneurial concepts with the cultural, sociological and psychological aspects of family dynamics. As Kuratko explains, family businesses are one of the stronghold of American business today. This course addresses their unique concerns.

"There is a long list of qualities an entrepreneur should have to be successful," says Kuratko, "but the most important is tenacity. You can have the idea, money, marketing, management and everything else, but if you won't stick to the project through time and difficulties, you won't succeed."
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Title Annotation:Indiana's Entrepreneurs of the Year
Author:Johnson, J. Douglas
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 1990
Previous Article:South Bend/Mishawaka.
Next Article:Master entrepreneur: Eugene B. Glick.

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