Entrepreneurship Education: From Tots to Teens

Article excerpt

Entrepreneurship Education: A Definition

BY LORI CRANSON

Entrepreneurship Education: A Definition

Entrepreneurship education offers students the opportunity to develop a set of personal characteristics and skills that will assist them in achieving their personal goals, accomplishing something they find meaningful and contributing to the community in which they live. These include the abilities to reason, to imagine, to think laterally, to take initiative, to manage risk, to lead, to be self - reliant, to be self - motivated, to self - direct, to have self - confidence, to set goals and to communicate effectively.

Furthermore, students participating in entrepreneurship programs have opportunities to connect to people and issues in their community, their province, their country and the world. This interaction encourages students to develop a global perspective and fosters a keen sense of citizenship. The results will be students who enhance their own well - being and make a positive contribution to the well - being of others. A school with an entrepreneurial culture will be a catalyst motivating students to assume ownership for their own learning, to be responsible for their own destiny and to add value to their community.

The key to developing entrepreneurial students is balancing a core education with integrated opportunities to develop the characteristics, skills and attitudes required to thrive in the new economy. Teaching entrepreneurially is about developing the entrepreneurial spirit in individuals and the skills and attitudes inherent in that. It is not training on the mechanics of starting a small business.

Why is Entrepreneurship Education Important?

The world is changing in quantum leaps. Children entering kindergarten in 1997, will graduate in 2010, in a world that is significantly different from anything we can even imagine today. What we do know is that entrepreneurship is increasingly becoming a vital component of Canada's economic development.

In the last decade, the growth in self - employment rose by 34%. There are over 2 million Canadian households with home - based businesses. By the year 2005, half of the working population will be doing work which doesn't even exist today. Preparing students to accept change, to respond to change and to lead change in a global marketplace can be achieved through the integration of entrepreneurship education across the curriculum at all levels.

The words "job" and "work" are no longer synonyms. Although, the number of jobs is decreasing, there is no lack of work. In fact, there is all kinds of work. Work opportunities are different and require a different skill set. The factors that contribute to success at work are new and the meaning of the word "successful" is being redefined. Young people need to learn to take charge of their work life and navigate a path that will allow them to actualize their potential.

In his book, Post Capitalist Society, Peter Drucker compares the worker of the next millennium to the Renaissance worker. During the Renaissance, the workers owned the tools of their trade. The blacksmith, the farmer, the merchant owned their tools and took them wherever they worked. With the advent of the industrial revolution, the tools of work became the steam engines and printing presses that were too large and too expensive to be owned by individuals, thus organizations came to own the tools of work. In the 21st century, the tools of work will be knowledge and the ability to connect it in new and innovative ways. This means that the workers will once again have their own tools of work; those tools will be between their ears, in their hearts and in their hands. Reduced job structure will give them the opportunity to respond to change quickly. It will be the ability to access, create, communicate and disseminate information, processes and products in new and innovative ways that will be their core strength. …