Putting Design Tools in the Hands of Next Generation Entrepreneurs

More and more businesses are investing in education for today’s youth who will quickly grow to be tomorrow’s next generation of entrepreneurs…and it’s the “outside-the-classroom” education that businesses are increasingly focused on. Within a society where business and innovation skills are starting to become ubiquitous within our youngest generation, moving them beyond basic education is imperative. We need to be providing real-world experience and giving them the tools to match it.

So what’s the state of young entrepreneurship? According to the Wall Street Journal:

The proportion of young adults who start a business each month dropped in 2013 to its lowest level in at least 17 years, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit that focuses on entrepreneurship. People ages 20 to 34 accounted for 22.7% of new entrepreneurs in 2013, down from 26.4% in 2003, it found.”

This raises the question, “What has changed over the years? What has slowly influenced individuals to have less of a drive to be innovative?” One answer for consideration: perhaps the technology tools that power modern business aren’t as accessible to startups as they could be?

With the adoption of technology driving innovation in nearly every industry, it’s more important than ever before to invest in entrepreneurs. Technology has made it possible to rapidly innovate and bypass the traditional barriers of entry like production time and upfront development costs…but only if our entrepreneurs are able to access and effectively use new technologies to accomplish this feat. Tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need to have the knowledge-base, and more importantly experience, to break through these barriers – this is where 3D design comes into play. The next generation of America’s entrepreneurs will be led by inventors and product design experts who need to be equipped with the tools that will let them do so.

However, these tools don’t come cheap. Today, major multi-billion dollar enterprises have a responsibility to help foster innovation amongst small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Dassault Systèmes is looking to blend both education and hands-on experience that will give early stage businesses access to the technology tools they need for success through its SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs and Incubators program. The program will charge a nominal $200 application fee for access to its flagship software, of which 90 percent goes to support the Rwanda High School Girls Scholarship Program that funds educational initiatives for female students at the ETO Gitarama/Nyanza Technical School.

By using SOLIDWORKS for their industrial design and manufacturing processes, entrepreneurs and incubators now have access to the most complete 3D solution, enabling them to innovate quickly. Dassault Systèmes has a rich tradition of aiding the next generation of engineers and designers through the support of STEM curriculums and educational access to its SOLIDWORKS software, but now, hands-on experience will be offered to the entrepreneur community for relatively no cost, further empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs to design and develop their products and bring their ideas to life. In addition to providing access to this type of software, the use of SOLIDWORKS will allow these industrialists to accelerate production time by furthering concept to prototype, giving them better access to direct 3D printing – an essential part of any product development process and a critical phase of manufacturing.

It’s an exciting time for today’s budding entrepreneurs and it’s a great opportunity for major corporations to help shape the next generation. We believe that when creative, innovative, driven individuals are given the tools to bring their ideas to life, we all benefit as a society. We want to foster these ideas and help them grow.

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard is Director of the Education Portfolio, SOLIDWORKS. She is responsible for global content and social outreach for the SOLIDWORKS products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship. Marie is an advocate for engineering education and women in STEM.
Marie Planchard