Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft are just a few of the businesses started by more than 31 million entrepreneurs in the United States (2018). Entrepreneurs are at the leading edge of the economy—generating half of all private-sector jobs, payroll, and output. Often referred to as the US’s economic engine, small businesses accounted for 1.9 million net new jobs in 2018. Today’s startup is tomorrow’s Apple or Amazon.
Entrepreneurship offers a vehicle for economic self-sufficiency, personal and community development, and a promising pathway out of poverty for underserved areas. This is not to say that the road to success as an entrepreneur is always smooth. Most entrepreneurs work long hours and deal with many challenges along the way.
Equipping young entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools to manage those challenges better makes sense. Entrepreneurship youth programs help students from all socioeconomic backgrounds think outside the box and nurture unique talents and skills. It may also provide an alternative way to teach and engage young people with different abilities, talents, goals, life experiences and motivations who don’t necessarily flourish in traditional learning environments.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t just provide innovators’ career opportunities; it also creates opportunities, ensures social justice, instills confidence, and stimulates the economy.
An entrepreneurship-focused program can help middle and high-school-age students develop crucial life skills that will serve them well beyond the classroom walls in a rapidly changing world. There are multiple benefits:
We live in an age of unprecedented global and technological transformation. Today’s youth face an uncertain future full of complex global, social, and environmental issues. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs survey, half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055, creating entirely new roles, responsibilities and challenges for the future workforce.
Even if they don’t start a business, they will need to think like entrepreneurs to thrive in a changing world. They will have to invent and reinvent their jobs to stay relevant. In other words, they’ll need to be agile and adaptive. Entrepreneurship-focused programs teach students crucial life skills that will help them navigate this uncertain future. These skills include problem-solving, teamwork, empathy and learning to accept failure as a part of the growth process.
As standardized testing has become more prevalent in public schools, students’ opportunities to innovate and collaborate with others have become more scarce. Entrepreneurship education encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration—colleges and the business world value these attributes.
Students need to learn how to identify problems before they learn how to solve them. Problem-solving has been taught in schools for decades—not how to identify problems. In the real world, problems can only be solved when they have been identified and described. Entrepreneurship education teaches children to identify problems they have never encountered before—a skill that will be very useful in tomorrow’s world.
In her bestselling book Grit, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, Angela Duckworth, states that “grit” may be the single most important factor in a person’s long-term success. Her research shows that grades, intelligence, and socioeconomic status do not stack up to the characteristic she defines as “grit.” According to Duckworth, grit consists of passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement. The demanding and uncertain entrepreneurship journey requires more passion and sustained persistence than most other activities. This makes an entrepreneurship-focused program ideal for developing grit in your students.
Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers who work to meet needs and ease pain points with their products and services. They are hard-wired to make a difference and make the world a better place. By participating in entrepreneurship programs, young people don’t just become ready to create their futures—they become prepared to change the world.
Introducing young kids to entrepreneurship develops their initiative and helps them be more creative and self-confident in whatever they undertake and act in a socially responsible way. If you’re a student in grades 6 to 12, submit your application to participate in this exciting experience by November 22, 2020. Find out more about YEP and REAP designed to ignite, elevate and engage the next wave of leaders.