Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Entrepreneurial Mindset Promotes Academic and Business Success

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Entrepreneurial Mindset Promotes Academic and Business Success

Article excerpt

Spotting an opportunity within a problem is part of an entrepreneur's mindset, and that same ability that serves Latino students, faculty, administration and staff in higher education. Adversity - a common Hispanic experience - presents innumerable chances to develop that mindset.

How do we develop the entrepreneurial problem-solving mindset In Latino students?

Rivera: Hispanic children are naturally resourceful, finding new uses for old toys and using materials and equipment they find to develop new sources of entertainment. If a problem presents a barrier to achieving what a Latino student wants, then the student must decide if he will give in to the problem or conquer it.

When working with groups of Latino students, set the expectation that they are to develop the skill. Develop projects or give assignments that require problem solving, logic and resourcefulness (and accept no less than five possible solutions per problem). Require them to test their proposed solution and monitor results. They can revamp the solution and repeat the process if necessary. Essentially you are teachingthe scientific method in an applied approach but students are also developing the problem-solving entrepreneurial mindset.

Lozano: Latino students respond well and develop the entrepreneurial problem-solving mindset with reallife examples and coaching. Years ago I decided that I wanted to own my own small business. I faced the challenge of limited startup funds and needing to generate an ongoing income for my family while sustaining the business. The solution: buy an existing business. Was there adversity that presented other problems? Yes. Employees not reporting to work, employee theft, income challenges, and unexpected expenses. We persisted, developed new processes and grew the business. Years later I sold it for a profit. Today I am a better teacher of entrepreneurship since I developed and still use that problem-solving mindset. When teaching students business planning and management, I use those real-life examples to support the principles taught. I work with every student as each develops a business plan stepby-step, anticipating market and other challenges, examining options and proposing feasible strategies. In management classes, I engage Latino working students by asking them about problems on the job and inquire about possible solutions. With that approach Latino students can see how they contribute to either the problem or the solution.

How might Latino faculty use the problem-solving mindset to address common challenges at work?

Rivera: In any work setting, mandated meetings that once had a positive purpose but lost their focus or zeal, drag down the workforce's energy. …

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