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How to Teach Entrepreneurship to Students

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Attention educators: this article is for you to help serve your students in the best way possible, by preparing them for the personal and professional challenges that lie ahead. One way you can do that is by teaching entrepreneurship. That doesn’t mean teaching them how to start a business, but rather showing them how to think entrepreneurially and to have the ambition and creativity to start and commit to projects.

Read on as we explore the benefits of entrepreneurial education, some ideas for how you can plant the seed, and ways to make your teaching space a more entrepreneur-friendly environment. 

Why Should You Teach Entrepreneurship to Students?

Through entrepreneurship classes, students become more effective collaborators and better problem solvers, feeling confident and intrigued when asked to innovate. Remember that the skills they will learn playing the role of a young entrepreneur will also help them at home, with their peers, and going forward in their studies and careers. Entrepreneurs know that obstacles are opportunities and setbacks are lessons, and this is perhaps the biggest lesson you need to teach - how to find growth in every event. 

The other useful skills that are ripe for development are:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Resilience
  • Problem solving through project-based learning 

Ways to Teach Entrepreneurship to Students

Students who can think creatively and critically are able to solve problems faster and more effectively than their rivals, helping to prepare them for the rigors of life. You can start this process by guiding your students towards a mindset change. Here are some ideas:

  • Standing up and speaking in front of the class shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking experience, but a chance to pitch ideas, do some public speaking, and practice communication skills
  • When putting a group together for a project, encourage them to think of it as a business startup where they all have important roles to play in its success, and the better the grade, the more profitable the project
  • Teach students to look into the tools that entrepreneurs use, like crowdfunding platforms, video meeting software, and website building platforms, as well as YouTube and other awareness and community-building sites. Teach them that growing an audience is very similar to growing a customer base
  • Bring speakers into the classroom, but encourage the students to think of them as business partners, coming to brainstorm in the boardroom and share ideas for success. If the students can successfully understand that the guest is there to give them an opportunity, rather than just to stand there and talk to them, they may be more likely to engage with them

Business Simulations: The BEST Way to Start

Where better a place to begin getting students to think entrepreneurially than in a gamified situation that combines familiar technology with unique scenarios? Students will be asked to make critical decisions, weigh up various data points, and manage the possible consequences of their decisions. 

Business simulations are designed for older students, perhaps at the university level, or for those who are taking professional studies for CPD. Saying that, younger students can also access simulations that test their leadership skills, decision-making skills, and communication skills. 

Contact StratX today to find out which simulations are best to bring into your classroom. Your students will love this sense of competition, the challenges they must overcome, and how they need to work together and fulfil different roles to be successful. We’ve found it to be the singular best way to get students to think entrepreneurially.  

Problems vs Solutions: Build a Platform for Change

People of all ages love to complain, but students are especially good at it. From the tantrums of kindergartners up to the organized rallies of motivated university students, there is a platform for complaints at all levels of education. Is that such a bad thing? Complaints are information about things that are not being done as well as they could be. They’re the first step in making change.

When students feel heard, they’re more likely to innovate and share their ideas. Use this to build a platform for change at your educational facility.

  • Build a Solution Box - students can write and drop complaints into a box and have their feelings heard on a regular basis. Open up a discussion about the complaints and ask the students what their solutions might be. Let them know that they are an important part of making change happen and that it’s not simply the job of educators to drive progress
  • Student Shark Tank - this is a model that many students are familiar with, having watched Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den and perhaps being inspired to create a product or service of their own. Watch some clips with your students so that they understand the format, then give them some weeks to prepare their idea, either alone or in groups, and host a special Shark Tank event. Along the way, teach them about investing, pitching, presenting, and equity, so that they understand the needs and objectives of this exercise
  • TEDx - this has become one of the best storytelling platforms in the world, with people from all different backgrounds sharing their stories and lessons. There are students in your classroom with stories to tell, but they may need some encouragement. Host your own mini TEDx event and nurture the storytelling capabilities of your young would-be entrepreneurs 

Verdict: Education Doesn’t Teach Entrepreneurship by Default

It’s your job as an educator to break the traditional rules of didactic learning, whereby teachers tell students information and it’s their job to remember it or apply it. Traditional education is simply not conducive to entrepreneurial behavior, as it measures all students by the same stick and asks them to learn obediently and think the same as others. By coming here to read this article, you are en route to breaking this pattern that stifles creativity and problem-solving. We admire that. Good luck!