Both schooling and entrepreneurship may seem contradictory. One requires you to be in line, and one forces you to stand out. One benefits those who are slow, and one helps those who are faster. One can look back at the past and envision what is possible.
Is it possible to teach entrepreneurship in college?
Many successful entrepreneurs failed at school or dropped out. They were not suited for the education system, or they didn’t know how it worked. Many college graduates immediately go into a graduate position and remain there until their seventies. They do not consider entrepreneurship. They will follow the standard, accept what is expected, and continue to work until they are retired.
The best of both
Imagine if college students and business owners could have the best of both worlds, rather than being in separate fields with little crossover? TeachingEntrepreneurship.org is co-founded in 2017 by entrepreneurship teachers Justin Wilcox, Doan Winkel, and Federico Mammano. His focus is helping students in higher education develop entrepreneurial skills through its Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC). Students can develop entrepreneurial skills through the company’s Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC). More than 130 colleges have used this 15-week program, and over 10,000 students have completed it.
These founders know why their classes have been so successful. Wilcox stated that while not all students want to be entrepreneurs, they can all benefit from the entrepreneurial skills of others. “Regardless of where a student finishes their career, no matter if they start a business or join an existing one; entrepreneurs can serve others by serving themselves first.”
According to the Kauffman Foundation (a non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship and education), research has shown that there has been a twentyfold hike in the number and quality of entrepreneurial courses on college campuses between 1985 and 2008. More than 5,000 entrepreneurship classes are available, with more than 400,000 students per year. This is in addition to the 9,000 faculty positions.
Arizona State University was one of the schools that required students to attend classes on entrepreneurship. One-third of the 1,250 American business incubators are located in colleges and universities. While universities are certainly getting into the entrepreneurial game, is it making a difference in the lives of their students?
Key skills for entrepreneurship
Wilcox views the critical attributes of entrepreneurship as empathy and experimentation, financial management, creative problem solving, financial planning, effective communication, and financial management. Teaching these skills without real-world context is futile. “No one get learns how to ride a bike or play an instrument from a book. The same goes for entrepreneurial skills. They are learned by doing it.” he stated. ExEC allows students to practice skills such as the 60 minute MVP. This is where students create a website and test their ideas.
The purpose of entrepreneurship in education, including programs like TeachingEntrepreneurship.org, is to develop the entrepreneurial mindset in general. It is becoming increasingly clear that graduates will reap the benefits of this, whether they are working in a traditional job or joining the gig economy. Winkel explained that no matter their career path, graduates can take advantage of these skills and thinking. The Kauffman foundation stated that “entrepreneurship plays a critical role in understanding and succeeding within the current global economy.”
Critical entrepreneurship skills are essential for anyone’s career, regardless of whether they decide to start their own business. They may be able to get more from their college course through context. Kauffman Foundation stated, “To neglect entrepreneurship, or relegate to the educational sidelines, makes undergraduate learning orthogonal the world it is supposed students learn to understand.” College entrepreneurship skills give real-world relevance to degree courses.
The study of entrepreneurship has many benefits. It is not just beneficial for students, regardless of major, but also for the broader economy. Charney and Libecap have found that entrepreneurs are three times more likely to start their own business regardless of their major. They also have 32% more annual incomes, 62% more assets, are happier with their jobs, and are more entrepreneurial.
Entrepreneurship and education are crucial drivers for sustainable economic development. The more entrepreneurial-minded people employed at regional, national and international firms, the more economic goals are achieved.
Learn entrepreneurship while starting your own business
But what about those who set up their businesses? Students focus on finding great ideas, testing them in the marketplace, creating an audience, and preparing to launch their business. Is it possible to study entrepreneurship while starting your own business?
The theory of entrepreneurship can be applied in real life by students interested in starting their own business. Students can use the model they have learned to start their own business. You don’t need to look at examples from past companies, fictional entities, or news stories for inspiration. They are not of any practical value. Students must do entrepreneurship to understand what it is all about.
Startups are successful because they have the right environment: peer support, resources, and inspiration. Silicon Valley has been the technology startup capital for many years because it concentrated on these factors. It’s not hard to see that great entrepreneurs are focused and open to learning. Entrepreneurial studies help startup founders become proficient in planning, processing information, and assessing. If they encounter inevitable stumbling blocks, they can seek guidance and coaching.
Give entrepreneurs an edge.
Early-stage entrepreneurs can benefit from studying entrepreneurship if they take their learning beyond the classroom. Entrepreneurship is not something they expect to be given the same treatment as other school subjects if their goal is to learn and apply themselves and are motivated. Suppose they view the course as an additional tool in their toolbox.
A startup founder who relies on teacher advice to run their business will end up wasting their time, park problems until the next class, and not expanding their mind beyond what is required to work within the mark scheme. This will only make entrepreneurship an exercise in tick-boxes unrelated to a business’s natural world. The company has little regard for neat lists or everything going according to plan. The Kauffman Foundation explained that entrepreneurship is not like sociology, history, or anthropology.
Although you don’t have to go to university to start a successful company, you should still be open-minded, willing to learn, and ready to take advantage of the opportunities available to you. You can read books, join masterminds or accountability groups of entrepreneurs, or hire a coach and mentor. While university entrepreneurship programs can be a valuable addition to any person’s skill set, many ways to gain these skills.