Nov 9 '12
Entrepreneurs have to start somewhere. Some have the lightbulb moment walking down the street, others shout Eureka in the bath, but for others it relies on some education. How are we teaching entrepreneurship and are we doing it right?
How are we currently incorporating entrepreneurship into education?
Many colleges and universities offer additional classes, lectures and courses that ask students to consider entrepreneurship and help them design and develop their own business ideas. Typically these are part of a Business Studies degree or qualification and not often advertised to other students. In younger, less traditional, universities and colleges, societies and career guides run their own entrepreneurial classes that are open to all. Higher Education and Business Schools are the key leaders when it comes to ‘teaching’ entrepreneurship.
What are the downfalls of current entrepreneurial education?
Rather than help students develop a more creative and innovative way of thinking form the beginning, entrepreneurship is something that is taught as a subject within ‘relevant’ courses. Advice may be readily available to those who already have the ideas but not necessarily for those who need a little help getting there. Creative thinking can occur at any age but by Higher Education level, many students have already been typecast. Those that have chosen to study a more traditional academic subject or the arts, are often not actively encouraged to consider an entrepreneurial route. Entrepreneurship is still often seen as a Business Studies subject only but, in reality, it covers far more ground.
When should we start teaching entrepreneurship?
An entrepreneur usually begins with creative thinking and our imaginations are at their best at a young age. Encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit at school, whether Infant, Primary or Secondary, could be the key to showing all young minds that they can be the boss. Entrepreneurship isn’t always an easy road and first-timers will often get knocked back by rejections, failures and taking risks. However, by instilling a positive attitude towards these aspects from an early age and by giving children a sense of independence and empowerment through interactive and innovative play, we could begin to build a new generation of creative, business thinkers.
Creating more student entrepreneurs now could have long term benefits for the economic structure of our future. Teaching children from a young age about creative and innovative thinking encourages them to incorporate an entrepreneurial spirit into their Higher Education and the beginnings of their career.
Author’s Comment: Personally, as a freelancer, I do not feel as though my college or university encouraged me to think about my career creatively. I studied an academic subject at a reasonably traditional university and was only recommended textbook careers or further education. Entrepreneurship courses were available at my university but you had to search for them and they were advertised for ‘budding businessmen’ or for those that had that ‘great idea’. I know art students that were encouraged to freelance when they graduated but never given any advice within their course about how. There’s a wealth of young graduates with the potential to be great entrepreneurs, they need to be taught that being an entrepreneur isn’t all about suits and conference calls, it can be creative too.