Entrepreneurial Education for Young Children and Adults
There is a vague but prevalent idea that entrepreneurship and a college education are mutually exclusive concepts. Entrepreneurship is, after all, nearly synonymous with innovation, while a college education is closely associated with established structure. However, these two concepts are not at loggerheads at all.
The entrepreneurial spirit has nothing to do with whether or not you got good grades in school. This is more of a mindset that transcends the rules and regulations of a standard education. On the other hand, structured education provides the focus and discipline to direct the entrepreneurial spirit into productive channels. In a very real sense, an entrepreneurial education for young children and adults is the channel through which a potentially powerful force can be controlled.
There are those who argue that a college education is expensive, and once attained provides no guarantee of success. One could counter argue that the same applies to entrepreneurship. Just because you have a good idea or have exceptional skills does not mean that you will be successful in your business.
Institutions of higher education have been among the first to attempt to marry the two through courses in entrepreneurship. However, according to this article, most of them are getting it wrong. Their most common mistake is to put too much emphasis on the anecdotal approach, where successful entrepreneurs come in and talk about how they achieved their success. It is inspirational, no doubt, but it is usually not a practical approach. Those who finish the course with many brilliant ideas often have no idea how to get their own businesses started.
Another mistake is to concentrate too much on one school of thought, such as the lean start-up model, which encourages entrepreneurs to focus mainly on what the customers want in developing a service or product. While this and all other new approaches to business development are all excellent in their own way, focusing on just one in the teaching process can be counterproductive.
Entrepreneurial education for both young children and adults should be open at all times. After all, the most successful entrepreneurs had the ability to think outside the box. However, while it should nurture the spirit of innovation, it should also give students the tools to manage it. This includes practical, hands-on courses on such topics as psychology, finance, marketing, production, and human resources.
A born entrepreneur may have been born with the tools help them become successful, but this is not true for everyone. There are many examples of gifted innovators that missed the boat on financial and business success because they did not know how to manage the business side of the business.
A good entrepreneurial education will not only benefit those who want to go into business for themselves. Young children who are encouraged to be free thinkers can achieve much more than their more restricted peers. Adults exposed to successful people may also discover their potential for a more fulfilling career and life. A successful entrepreneurial education is not about school; it is about life.