In an education system where the emphasis on standardized testing and rigorous standards can stifle creativity, entrepreneurship can help foster the skills students need to become the doers, makers and innovators the world needs.
And while many children are urged to grow up and become lawyers and doctors, some people believe more educators should encourage entrepreneurship as a viable career option. In his TED Talk, Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs, Cameron Herold called on both parents and educators to recognize entrepreneurial traits in children early on and provide them with games, tools, activities and other opportunities to nurture those traits.
But entrepreneurship doesn’t only allow these students to create a career that best fits their passions and skills. It also benefits society by creating opportunity, ensuring social justice, instilling confidence and stimulating the economy, according to Entrepreneur.com.
Benefits of Entrepreneurship Education
Whether they go on to start their own business or pursue a traditional role, entrepreneurial skills are also good life skills that will help students be successful in both their personal and professional lives.
- Resilience. The entrepreneurial journey is full of setbacks, and it teaches business owners to be resilient in the face of adversity. Similarly, entrepreneurship can help students develop a thick skin and remain persistent when challenges arise.
- Innovation and creativity. Entrepreneurship thrives on creativity and drives innovation. It compels people to think outside the box in order to come up with ideas that solve problems, change people’s lives and possibly change the world.
- Leadership. Entrepreneurs are natural leaders: they’re doers, they have vision, they communicate well, they have a positive attitude and they can manage people and tasks effectively. These are valuable qualities that are useful in the classroom, in the workplace, in social settings and beyond.
- Resourcefulness. Starting out, entrepreneurs may face a number of challenges like limited resources or small teams. As a result, entrepreneurs learn to be flexible and find quick and clever ways to achieve their goals despite their obstacles.
- Industriousness. Entrepreneurship teaches the value of hard work. By involving students in the day-to-day grind of running a business, they will develop a strong work ethic that will benefit them in all areas of life.
- Self-confidence. Entrepreneurship pushes people to believe in themselves and their abilities. In return, they trust themselves to take risks and make decisions that will help them be successful.
Resources to Foster Entrepreneurial Thinking in Students
After school programs have a unique opportunity to promote entrepreneurship through enriching learning experiences. Forward Thinking Initiatives in Tampa, FL, provides after school and summer programs that teach entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and creative thinking to teens. Participants learn the principles of entrepreneurship and how to start their own company through a unique curriculum that uses games and simulations to teach practical skills in financial literacy, marketing, business planning and more.
Regardless of focus, curriculum or size, program leaders can promote entrepreneurship in their program, too. Check out the following games, activities and lesson plans to promote entrepreneurial thinking in your students:
- PBL: Economics and Entrepreneurship: This paid resource from Teachers Pay Teachers teaches students about local businesses and how they create business plans and advertise. It includes a business plan template, a spreadsheet activity to teach students about profit and loss, student samples and more.
- RollerCoaster Tycoon: This series of video games tasks players with creating, operating and managing their own theme parks. Some goals include improving the park’s value, attracting more guests or getting a higher park rating. No matter the scenario, players must wisely invest the limited amount of money provided to successfully run their park.
- EntreEd: Find a variety of activities from an organization that advocates for entrepreneurship education. These activities introduce elementary students to entrepreneurship while incorporating geography, language arts and communication and research skills.
- Monopoly: This old favorite focuses on wealth creation as players take turns to gain property and build their own “wealth.” The game also promotes various entrepreneurial skills, like risk-taking, negotiation and persuasion skills, saving and understanding return-on-investment (ROI).
- Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum: Education World compiled a list of web-based lessons and activities that integrate virtual business experiences into academic subjects across grade levels. The resources reinforce science, social studies, language arts and math as students learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.
- StartUP: This business board game challenges players to compete as they guide their startup company from launch to the completion of a corporate headquarters. It teaches business and math skills as students explore concepts like IPO, price wars and trade-offs.
Entrepreneurship instills valuable traits and skills that students can use throughout their life. Use the above games, lessons and activities to promote entrepreneurship in your program. For more tips, strategies and advice for fostering entrepreneurial thinking in students, check out the following resources: