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Entrepreneurship Education

entrepreneurship education

Should schools teach entrepreneurship education?  It’s a question many educators and parents alike have probably asked themselves.  While I can’t say I have a definitive answer that would satisfy every hesitant educator and parent out there, I can confidently say that I have found many strong and compelling reasons as to why we should.  I’ve found that the answer to this question becomes more straightforward once a deeper understanding of what entrepreneurship actually represents is discovered.  Learning how entrepreneurship directly applies to a student’s achievement helps too.

Once educators and parents obtain a clear picture about entrepreneurship as it can be applied to learning real world skills; the acknowledging of the many benefits of teaching entrepreneurship to our youth becomes much easier to come by.  As such, I will venture to provide what I’ve found to be both a broad and realistic expression of what entrepreneurship represents.

So what does entrepreneurship represent? Entrepreneurship at its best represents a set of creative methods for thinking, acting, and identifying opportunities.  As such, entrepreneurship can teach students how to approach challenges using methods that can empower them to manage change, adapt to new conditions, and to take control of their personal goals and aspirations. One could say that entrepreneurship is the perfect vehicle for honing key life-skills, such as creative thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership; necessary skills that every student should be given an opportunity to develop.   Entrepreneurship also enables students to distinguish themselves in a variety of work and life paths, because it gives students the creative latitude to tap into what really interests them, and forces them to draw on their own unique strengths to compete in the market-place.  Most importantly, entrepreneurship can be used as a catalyst to teach students how to be resourceful, self-reliant, and capable of creating their own opportunities, and thus their own future.

Naturally, in describing what entrepreneurship truly represents, a handful (not all) of  the benefits to students are made obvious.  Fortunately for those who are interested in having entrepreneurship taught/learned in class, a huge list of benefits exists for our benefit.  A Think Tank consisting of educators across a variety of educational levels, and subjects, from across the country, were sponsored by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education to formulate this list of benefits regarding the diverse outcomes for entrepreneurship programs at various levels of education.  The list of benefits is comprised of the following:

Benefits to Elementary Students

  • Increased attendance
  • Higher academic achievement
    • Standardized Tests
    • Pre & Post Tests
    • Portfolio
  • Fewer discipline referrals
  • Increased sense of “locus of control”
  • Awareness of career and entrepreneurial options
  • Acquire basic economic understanding
  • Acquire basic financial concepts
  • Define entrepreneurs’ contribution to society
  • Use opportunity recognition/ problem solving skills
  • Explore ethics issues
  • Consider steps in business startup

Benefits to Middle School Students

  • Continue on to high school
  • Improved academic skills – 4 Rs
  • Experience entrepreneurship across the curriculum
  • Increased self-esteem and respect
  • Increased number of students identifying entrepreneurship as a career choice
  • Heightened awareness of the role of entrepreneurs
  • Encourage risk-taking & learning from failure
  • Learn to identify and recognize opportunities
  • Decrease in teen pregnancies and substance abuse
  • Improved economic literacy and understanding of capitalism
  • Improved financial literacy
  • Develop workplace literacy
  • Understand entrepreneurship process/ business plan
  • Become an educated, empowered consumer
  • Learn about opportunity cost
  • Embrace diversity/ socialization skills
  • Demonstrate conflict resolution/ negotiation/ sales-marketing/ persuasion skills
  • Learn how entrepreneurs give back
  • Learn how to make money
  • Recognize the contributions of entrepreneurs (they started small)
  • Foster and value idea generation

Benefits to High School Students

  • Creation of entrepreneurial thinkers who also have the skills and tools to start their own businesses.
  • Write a business plan
  • Apply economic principles
  • Determine individual entrepreneurial interests
  • Apply basic marketing skills
  • Use strategies for idea generation
  • Assess feasibility of ideas
  • Manage risk
  • Identify legitimate sources of capital
  • Evaluate ownership structures
  • Translate problems into opportunities
  • Apply principles of human relations management
  • Speak “business” & “entrepreneurship”
  • Apply basic accounting principles
  • Engage in ethical business practices
  • Demonstrate financial management

Benefits to Post-Secondary and Adult Students

  • Demonstrate skills in business startup
  • Demonstrate skills in maintaining business longevity
  • Demonstrate knowledge of business closings versus failure
  • Ability to find next level of training or access other resources and services
  • Demonstrate business management/ operation skills
  • Use components of a business plan
  • Determine impact on unemployment
  • Changed attitude toward entrepreneurship as a means of making a living
  • Changes in personal and career attitudes including
    • Self-worth
    • Ability to control one’s own life
    • Self-awareness
    • Self-management/ personality responsibility
    • Transfer of learning
    • Motivation
    • Teamwork
    • Interpersonal communications
    • Problem solving
    • Creativity

Hopefully, after reviewing this list, it has become evident to you, how beneficial entrepreneurship education can be for students at every grade level and across a variety of contexts.  Hopefully, after reading this, you are convinced that entrepreneurship education is something that has true merit to be taught in all schools across the country.

To be sure, there are already a number of educators that have realized the potential for using entrepreneurship as a vehicle to teach students many other vital life-skills that they just aren’t learning from their traditional curriculum.  These educators are actively involved in incorporating entrepreneurship education lessons in their classroom, and I take my hat off to them.  Why? Because, they are doing more than what is asked of them to prepare students for an uncertain future.   Our future generation will consist of both employees and entrepreneurs; regardless of what path each student chooses.  The skills and ideas that students acquire from entrepreneurship education have the potential to become the future actions and innovations that can one day lead towards the creation of a thriving future economy, and an empowered society.

 

Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (2004) Benefits of Entrepreneurship.  www.entre-ed.org/Standards_Toolkit/benefits.htm

by Nathan Lee Morales

Nathan holds an MBA, has blogged on entrepreneurship, leadership, and business for the past decade, has served in a leadership role for one of the largest Non-Profit Organizations within the Financial Education Industry, and has a sincere passion for education and inspiring potential.

3 comments… add one
  1. Entrepreneurship education has a lot of benefits as mentioned, and the sooner you start with it, the higher impact you get. In Israel, which is known as a start-up nation, we start in elementary schools.

    Reply
    1. Hi Galit, apologize for the delayed response..and thanks for commenting! Yes, the earlier the better. Thanks is so terrific, that they start so early in Israel. We need to get our policy makers on board here in the U.S so we can start reaping the benefits that come along with teaching kids entrepreneurship early!

      Cheers,

      Nate

      Reply
  2. Great stuff, thanks for the info!

    Reply

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