Why Teaching Entrepreneurship Matters Beyond Business Ownership

May 5, 2024

As educators, we’re tasked with preparing our students for the future—a future that is constantly evolving, often in ways that we can’t predict. The question then arises: If my students don’t want to own businesses, why should I teach entrepreneurship? The answer lies not just in the creation of businesses but in fostering a mindset and skillset that are becoming increasingly crucial in current and future job markets.

Seeing Beyond the Business Plan

Entrepreneurship education often conjures images of students pitching their startup ideas, a la Shark Tank. However, it’s essential to look beyond this narrow perspective and understand the broader scope of skills that entrepreneurship education imparts. The essence of teaching entrepreneurship is about showing students what they can become and providing them with real-world skills, ideally in two ways:

  1. By exposing students to real professionals and their experiences. This exposure is critical in helping students see the vast array of possibilities their futures could hold.
  2. By giving students opportunities for real-world experiences. This ‘doing’— practical, hands-on learning—nurtures what were once termed ‘soft skills’ but are now recognized as essential skills for all. Problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and adaptability are all facets of the entrepreneurial mindset that are vital in virtually every career path.

The Changing Landscape of Work

The future of work is rapidly changing, with a significant shift towards freelance and contract-based employment. Reports indicate that by the end of this decade, nearly half of the workforce will be engaged in some form of freelance or contract work. This shift isn’t limited to traditional ‘freelance’ roles but extends across professions, including nursing and other careers traditionally viewed as stable, full-time positions. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset is becoming indispensable for everyone, especially our young people.

The reality is that the workforce is undergoing a transformation, driven by automation, the gig economy, and a surge in entrepreneurship. The United States witnessed a remarkable boom in new businesses in 2020, with the number of startups doubling. Small businesses now account for 44% of the U.S. economy’s total activity. Furthermore, it’s projected that 44% of the skills workers will need in the next five years will change, underscoring the importance of adaptability and continuous learning—core components of the entrepreneurial spirit.

In Demand Skills – What Employers Want

Of the top 10 skills on the rise for workers in the next 5 years (meaning skills increasingly important for workers across industries) five are directly aligned with entrepreneurial learning (creative thinking, analytical thinking, curiosity, resilience, and self-awareness). It could not be clearer – entrepreneurship education is not just about teaching students to start businesses; it’s about equipping them with the skills to thrive in an ever-changing world. Ultimately, the question isn’t why teach entrepreneurship to students who don’t want to open businesses; it’s how can we afford not to?

Bring EntrepreNew Pathways into Your Classroom!

Interested in bringing impactful, experiential entrepreneurship learning to your classroom? We’ve got good news - EntrepreNew Pathways is now available and ready to help students near you build their entrepreneurial mindset today! Simply fill out the form here to receive access to this FREE program today.

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