Entrepreneurship Competition

The annual Harlamert Foundation Entrepreneurship Competition, sponsored by OSF and generously underwritten by Irvin Harlamert, OHS ‘48, lets students imagine themselves as future business owners, inventors or philanthropists.

Mr. Harlamert’s vision for the initiative was to help students see the importance that the entrepreneurial spirit has on the success of American society. His hope was that this competition would encourage students to explore and understand the experience of entrepreneurs, and see the diversity, creativity and passion that entrepreneurship allows for.  

Students spend at least a half a day shadowing an entrepreneur, and then write an essay on his or her personal reflections of the experience. Students’ entries describe what they learned about how the entrepreneur created his or her enterprise, the nature of the challenges and rewards involved, and how this experience might influence the student’s desire to follow an entrepreneurial path. Creativity and originality are encouraged.

The stereotypical profile of an entrepreneur—a male businessman who started his own company and has become extraordinarily wealthy—no longer applies. Entrepreneurs are male and female, young and old, involved in both vocations and avocations. Success is no longer defined largely by an accumulation of wealth, but can be measured in many ways.

Loosely translated, the French word “entrepreneur” could mean “entering into an undertaking to accomplish something.” A far broader definition generally includes anyone who undertakes to create something. So, an entrepreneur could be the lady from Dayton who teaches piano lessons in her home, or a person seeking public office through election by the people, or even a person of the clergy. It could include the art major who became a portrait painter or opened an art shop, an actor or a musician, or a mother who started a business from home (now known as ‘mompreneurs.’). It could include lawyers, doctors, dentists, and other professionals. It could, of course, include persons who enter into an enterprise whether or not they meet with financial success.