3 reasons why schools need to teach entrepreneurship
Why teach entrepreneurship?
The short answer is because entrepreneurial skills are skills everyone should have, not just entrepreneurs.
Younger generations are observed to have changed jobs more frequently than their predecessors. In fact, the children of today can expect to hold 40 different jobs in 10 completely different career paths in one lifetime. Every decade, we see that new jobs are created which didn’t exist previously. This dynamic, fast-paced environment demands that students develop a whole new set of skills in order to cope with our ever-changing society.
Entrepreneurship-focused education involves fostering these critical skills which are crucial for young people to succeed in today’s world.
The ability to recognize problems, seize opportunities, think outside the box, overcome challenges (and more) are skills that not only make for a good founder, but are also skills often sought after by everyone from university admissions officers to hiring managers and employers.
Simply put, entrepreneurial traits are not exclusive to achieving success as an entrepreneur. In fact, these traits can help you become successful in any area, industry, or discipline!
Let’s dive into the ingredients that make a successful entrepreneur, and why you should add these ingredients to your classroom:
1. They are good problem-solvers
Entrepreneurs are quick to recognize problems. Not only that, but they are able to empathize with the needs of others. They are able to get out and meet people, and understand their pain points.
Problem-solving skills do not come from completing a billion math problems on a worksheet. Good problem-solvers are those who can apply a combination of soft and hard skills to a challenge at hand.Starting off, you first need to understand the problem. Sounds simple enough! A soft skill that good problem-solvers use here is self-reflection and empathy. Being able to empathize with the needs of others, or to look inward and understand your own need, is critical. Knowing the ‘why’ behind every problem helps you focus on the solution instead of the problem.
To do this in the classroom, we need to break out of traditional rote learning. Problem-solving should be taught in context with real life examples and scenarios. Giving students a real problem that they can observe around them taps into their intrinsic motivation to figure out a solution.
When students come to you for help, perhaps try asking questions back to them instead of just giving out hints; getting students to reflect on solutions or strategies they’re using is one way to get them thinking deductively. For example, you may ask them to explain their thought process, their ‘why’, or get them to think how else they can tackle the same problem.
2. They are creative
Entrepreneurs need to use their imagination when coming up with novel ideas or solutions. This ability to innovate requires creativity, which is another area often left behind in traditional schooling. Although we try to foster creativity in art class, we want to foster creative ability for the long-term.
For entrepreneurs, thinking outside the box is crucial to innovate the next ‘big idea’. These visionaries are able to imagine the future world, predict the next biggest problems, and invent solutions for them.
However, students often lack the space to be creative in the classroom. Outside of an art class, being creative means potentially being wrong, and students don’t want to be wrong. One way we can change that is to foster a good relationship with creativity in the classroom. Make sure students feel welcomed to use their creativity and encourage them to take the risks. Using words like “imagine” or “create” in assignments or in class can facilitate more imaginative thinking and promote individuality amongst students.
3. They are resilient
The start-up journey is often a long one, with ups and downs. Entrepreneurs are strong-minded, able to stick to their ideas and stand up for their beliefs. This whole process is not easy, and many fail when things get tough. To gain the trust from investors and clients, you need to show sustained perseverance and believe in your solution. Resilience is a trait of successful entrepreneurs, because they are able to stick through the tough times and accept failure to move forward.
In the classroom, students are often faced with academic challenges and sometimes outright failure. Being able to cope with failing and bouncing back is a demonstration of resilience and is critical for success.
But let’s also look at the bigger picture: life, like a start-up, is full of ups and downs. Developing resilience from a young age can help an individual process and overcome the hardships of life, with not just the ability to withstand adversity but also know when and where to find help.
Entrepreneurship-focused education involves developing real-world skills that can propel any learner to become more competitive, serving them long after they have graduated from school. Seeing how the job market has drastically changed over the past 100 years, it is no longer enough to develop a narrow set of skills in a single profession. Therefore, it is up to us to empower the thinkers and innovators of tomorrow by equipping them with these necessary entrepreneurial skills, setting them up for success.