Entrepreneurship Training is Different Than Business Training
Youth entrepreneurship education has been largely ignored by our high schools, and most of our colleges are just starting to figure out that this is an ever-widening chasm in this area of education that needs to be addressed. Few schools across the country embrace this economic driver, and those that do usually have the curriculum taught by academia instructors who have not experienced business ownership. But even when part of the curriculum, it’s traditional business education that gets taught.
I helped develop the Entrepreneurial curriculum at the University of Utah and taught the concepts for 10 years. Aside from the curriculum taught, we also developed competitions for the students to bring out the inner-competitor in them. We also picked up many sponsors for our events who in turn also sponsored other events for the university. And, we reached out to the local business leaders and built up a nice mentoring program. All of these things were then turned over to the student council that we help form to bring more productivity and ownership to the program. What I learned from that decade long experience is that Entrepreneurship education is different from traditional business education. Entrepreneurship education pretty much has no right or wrong answers. It is education that dives into many areas that need to be taught by entrepreneurs who have been there…done that. This is a critical characteristic that can shape kids into either employers or employees.
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of job creation, innovation and wealth. Early innovators such as Ford, Edison and Franklin were able to not only develop new inventions, but they took a risk to create them into usable products suitable for the marketplace. The foundation of entrepreneurship was to seek opportunity by solving problems and to invent products that made societies better.
Entrepreneurship Versus Business Curriculum
There is a substantial difference between entrepreneurship and business curriculum, Entrepreneurship training is based on hands-on experience, while while traditional business training is based on theory and corporate case studies.
Here are few things Entrepreneurship education provides:
- Education with an opportunity to learn and hone real skills.
- The tools to innovate new products and services that solve consumer needs.
- Ownership over decisions and ability to take calculated risks.
- Allowing students to actually start a workable business, to become involved in the intricacies of a business start-up and to realize a profit.
- An understanding that creativity and hard work are imperative drivers.
- Students with ability to seek opportunities, create self-employment and provide employment to others.
- Students a valuable education with an opportunity to learn innovation, risk, and fast business operations that can also be used in a corporate setting, even if they decide entrepreneurship is not for them
Traditional business curriculum provides:
- Theory based stories and case studies on past corporate experience.
- How to use other people’s money in making decisions.
- No real-world application to test what really works in the marketplace.
- A lack of profit realization.
- Project-based curriculum, such as fundraisers, rather than long-term business growth and reinvestment
- Prepares students to become dependent upon employment by corporate businesses.
Early entrepreneurship preparation is so important. One thing that used to drive me crazy was MBA students who did not have any basic clue about running a small business. Young companies, those less than five years old, are responsible for the majority of new innovations and net new jobs. Studies show that GenY students are far more entrepreneurial in their thinking than past generations; however, entrepreneurial activity amongst 6 to 19 year olds has declined by 40 percent. This generation encompasses 25 percent of the total US population and without long-term entrepreneurial growth, US global competitiveness, competency and employment will suffer.
Furthermore, studies show that entrepreneurship education improves academic performance, attainment and attendance while preparing them to be team players and leaders in a competitive workplace.
The bottom line is that we need to start embracing Entrepreneurship Training in our public schools more than ever before. This educational experience will be a huge benefit to generations to come as they roll up their sleeves and stake their claim on independence and innovation.
To learn more about how you can bring true entrepreneurship education to the classroom or to find out about integrating science and innovation with entrepreneurship, contact Brian Hazelgren at (480) 499-5392 or visit www.e3factor.com.