The Impact of Teaching Entrepreneurship to the Youth

The Impact of Teaching Entrepreneurship to the YouthInnovation is an attribute largely commended as the biggest influencer of where our world is headed. Unfortunately, despite this fact, innovation is also a characteristic that education systems undervalues. Though still very important, schools seem to be putting almost all of their focus on traditional subjects. What is missing in many elementary and secondary curriculum’s are courses that will teach students to solve future problems, collaborate with others, take calculated risk and learn from failure (not just get penalized for it). The Quebec Government has seen the value of entrepreneurship education. The Secretariat a la Jeunesse has even added a division focused primarily on supporting entrepreneurial initiatives amongst the Quebec youth. Unfortunately, not all schools have developed, or even considered this approach.

There is a common misconception that teaching about entrepreneurship is synonymous to teaching about sales. In actuality, by participating in entrepreneurship activities kids can gain skills such as, autonomy, leadership, creativity, initiative, perseverance, self-confidence, sense of responsibility and solidarity. Most importantly, all of these are transferable skills that will give them necessary tools to excel whether they aim to be entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs. Often times educational institutions are criticized for not giving students the necessary tools to cope in the real world. Just think about it. How many things have you learned in elementary and high school that you’ve either forgotten or have never used outside of the classroom? What entrepreneurship-based learning does from the get-go, is that it teaches students how to recognize opportunities and how to act on them. This is not a skill easily forgotten when properly implemented into different facets of an educational curriculum.

Implementing entrepreneurship-based learning into an existing school curriculum can seem daunting, but lucky for schools there are existing programs like Junior Achievement and The Incubator that can help make the process easier. These resources offer easily understandable step-by-step guides and computer-friendly activities that will teach students about entrepreneurship. Schools should also consider the benefits of teaching traditional subjects with an entrepreneurial approach. For instance, sensitizing students to writing by having them write stories and read them to others. Such activities permit students to make decisions on their own. With teachers acting as guides, students can learn from trial-and-error and that learning from failure is important.

The goal here is not to teach students to become entrepreneurs or ways to grow the economy. If a student winds up starting a business and creating jobs, that’s just a bonus. The objective is to have them gain skills that are applicable to all of their future endeavours. What entrepreneurship-based learning does is that it instills confidence within students early on. They are thus able to see that they can accomplish whatever they set up to do. When a young person realizes that they hold the key to their futures, this equals to limitless possibilities.

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