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Entrepreneurship to Drive Economic Growth According to Rutgers Business School Panel at the London Olympics
Discussions at the Rutgers Business School’s Thought Leadership program focused on sustainable economic growth and athletic excellence
"Every large company started as a small business,” said Meyer S. (Sandy) Frucher, vice chairman of the NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc., who was part of the Thought Leadership panel organized by Rutgers Business School. “Every company started with a dream, an idea. It’s up to government to create the environment for small businesses to be successful.”
Over 64% of new jobs come from small businesses (companies with fewer than 500 employees) according to Diahann W. Lassus, founder, president and chief investment officer of Lassus Wherley, a wealth management firm, who advises many small business owners. “More and more young people are going the route of entrepreneurship,” she said. “And there is still room for the US to catch up to the amount of new businesses being created in China and Brazil.”
Joining Frucher and Lassus in the discussion on sustainable economic growth was Jean-Michel Six, chief European economist, Standard & Poor's and Edie Lush, executive editor of Hub Culture and former economic and political correspondent for Bloomberg Television, who acted as moderator.
Six brought a detailed prescription to help solve the Euro Zone’s current crisis and achieve economic prosperity by “creating genuine banking union, fiscal union, competitiveness union and eventually political union,” he said. Frucher countered saying that Six’s idea was essentially to make the European Union system like the United States which was having its own difficulties.
Rutgers alumni and friends came to the Royal College of Art on the south side of Hyde Park – sight of the Olympic triathlon – to take part in the hour discussion. The US Olympic Committee built a space there for United States Olympians past and present, sponsors, and guests to watch the Olympics and celebrate US athletes’ successes at the 2012 London Olympics.
“It was thrilling to have Rutgers be part of the Olympic experience,” said Justin Boyson, who earned his MBA from Rutgers in 2010 and lives and works in London. “The panel discussions were great. I learned a lot. And I connected with a lot of other great Rutgers alumni that I hope to stay in touch with,” he said.
Rutgers Dean Glenn Shafer opened the discussion with a video greeting from New Jersey broadcast over the internet. “I am proud that Rutgers is adding new thoughts to the discussion that is on the minds of governments, investors, and citizens all around the globe,” Shafer said.
While many of the Rutgers alumni who attended the event worked in London, some had come from the US for the Olympics and were excited to connect with Rutgers oversees. “I am really happy to be part of this,” said Jeff Klepacki who came to London with his brother Brian, both graduates of Rutgers. Klepacki, who now heads Third Party Distribution at Delaware Investments, was a three-time US Olympic rower.
He joined former Olympians Erin Aldrich (high jump and volleyball), Gene Davis (wrestling), and Wendy Hilliard (rhythmic gymnastics coach), in an earlier discussion on athletic excellence.
“All you can ask for is that window of opportunity,” said Klepacki. “And when it comes, all your preparation gets you through.” Klepacki, who rowed at the Olympics in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, and Sydney 2000 and was elected into the US Rowing Hall of Fame. He is working with other Rutgers alumni to bring rowing back to varsity sports status at Rutgers.
Indeed after the Olympics were over for them, the Olympic panelists had a hard time adjusting to regular daily life. But they never lost that determination. “Once you decide to do something, you have the drive to see it through to the end,” said Hilliard, who was part of the committee to bring the Olympics to New York City and also started a non-profit organization that has provided free gymnastics for over 10,000 inner city youth in New York City.
Media Contact: Daniel Stoll