Entrepreneurship Education: The 14 Skills Entrepreneurs Say You Actually Need to Learn

May 19, 2023

Business planning is important but not very practical or inspiring for young entrepreneurs. There is so much more to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial skills development—not business planning—is vital to meaningful entrepreneurship education. Experienced entrepreneurs agree that these are the skills entrepreneurship education must emphasize.

14 entrepreneurial skills essential to success in both today’s economy and that of the future.

  1. Adaptability
    The only constant is change, especially in business and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs have to be ready for curveballs. And when they come—as they always do—entrepreneurs must adjust quickly and get back on track.
  2. Collaboration
    Business doesn’t happen in a bubble. Successful entrepreneurs work with others to achieve their goals. Collaboration requires open communication, clear expectations, conflict management, and smart use of technology.
  3. Communication
    Entrepreneurs must be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly to diverse groups of people. And we don’t just communicate with our mouths! Body language is just as important. It can express what words can’t. Feedback is an important part of communication, too. Entrepreneurs should welcome it. When a customer offers feedback, they’re giving free business advice!
  4. Creativity
    Creativity isn’t just for artists. Creativity helps entrepreneurs find unique solutions to problems that others haven’t considered. Entrepreneurs who can think creatively are more likely to develop new and innovative products, services, and business models. Creative thinking helps differentiate entrepreneurs from their competitors.
  5. Critical thinking
    Entrepreneurs have to be able to see problems from multiple perspectives, understand them, and then find ways to solve them. Finding the right solution requires entrepreneurs to confront their own biases, acknowledge their mistakes, and adjust their thinking as they discover new information.
  6. Curiosity
    Curious people explore the world with a sense of wonder and a desire to understand. For the curious, not knowing isn’t ignorance—it’s an opportunity to discover. Curious entrepreneurs are more likely to ask good questions, seek answers, learn, grow, take risks, understand their customers, and engage with and learn from new people.
  7. Entrepreneurial initiative
    Hungry entrepreneurs are always looking for opportunities. They’re paying attention to unresolved problems, consumer needs, current trends, and gaps in the marketplace. Opportunities love to hide here. Entrepreneurs also consider the risks and rewards of pursuing opportunities. And, when the time is right, they take the necessary risks.
  8. Goal-focus
    While they can be dreamers and visionaries, entrepreneurs have to be doers. Otherwise, dreams stay dreams. Entrepreneurs set short-term and long-term goals, and they execute them. They know how to divide goals into smaller actionable steps and work through them step-by-step.
  9. Judgment and decision making
    Bad decisions can have devastating effects on a business. So it’s essential that entrepreneurs practice good judgment and decision making, even under challenging circumstances. Good judgment and decision making require thinking critically, consulting mentors, and being able to explain the reasoning behind decisions.
  10. Networking
    The importance of networking cannot be overstated. Networking can lead to meaningful relationships with other business leaders and entrepreneurs. Networking can give you access to valuable resources, open opportunities for collaboration, increase brand awareness, allow for learning and growth, and lead to referrals.
  11. Professionalism
    Entrepreneurs must practice professionalism in various business environments. Professionalism includes proper verbal and non-verbal communication, conduct, and attire. Specific examples include: Introducing yourself confidently, Shaking hands, Maintaining eye contact and good posture, Starting and sustaining conversations with diverse people, Displaying appropriate facial expressions.
  12. Research
    Research can be the difference between a thriving business and a dying one. Successful entrepreneurs are good at asking relevant questions and finding answers. They know how to explore, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize information. This allows them to better understand a topic, question, or problem.
  13. Resilience and persistence
    Entrepreneurs need to be able to face complex challenges, overcome obstacles, and adapt to unexpected changes. When something pops up, entrepreneurs push forward. When they fail, they look for opportunities to learn and grow.
  14. Self-assessment
    Entrepreneurs have to assess themselves honestly—both strengths and weaknesses. If they can’t see them, they won’t be able to capitalize on their strengths or improve their weaknesses.

Remember, soft skills aren’t soft!

These 14 entrepreneurial skills are sometimes called “soft skills.” The name “soft skills” is misleading and undermines these skills’ importance.

So we rebranded them as Global Power Skills (GPS). Why Global Power Skills? Because they empower students. These skills are crucial for succeeding in our rapidly changing, interconnected world, regardless of career path. The Global Power Skills are foundational to EntrepreNew Pathways.


Ms. Kilgore has been a CTE teacher for 17 years. She holds a master’s degree in Career and Technical Administration from Kent State University. Additionally, she is the creator of EntrepreNew Pathways and teaches the program locally for the Six District Educational Compact and Woodridge Local School District.
Ms. Kilgore is the grateful recipient of the 2022 Summit County Teacher of the Year award and was named a 2022 Walt Disney World Top Educator Using Innovation and Creativity.

Learn more about EntrepreNew Pathways

EntrepreNew Pathways will be available in August 2023 for free. If you’re interested in implementing a hands-on approach to teaching entrepreneurship, fill out the form below to be the first to know when the program is available for use!

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