The Skills of an Entrepreneur are Really Life Skills...
Maybe it was 'Shank Tank®️', but entrepreneurship is a super common theme these days. Entrepreneurs have celebrity status, and it's now a common course or program of study in K12 education.
Why is that?
Entrepreneurs often have big ideas and even bigger goals and most certainly think outside of the box in their journey to meeting those goals.
Skills required to be an entrepreneur include hard work, effective communication, and resilience after disappointment. All great things, right? That's why entrepreneurship can be a great framework for teaching these skills and allowing students to practice these skills in a supportive environment. Putting the goal of being a 'founder' aside, entrepreneurial skills will serve kids well in school and beyond—both in their careers and personal lives.
But really, here is how youth entrepreneurship education can make a difference in the growth and development of young people.
Entrepreneurship Encourages Kids to Think Critically
Critical thinkers look at situations from multiple points of view, analyze facts, and weigh the strengths and weaknesses of something. By definition, they carefully think about a subject or idea without allowing opinions or feelings to affect them.
Creating a business requires entrepreneurs to think critically about problems they see and how to find a solution. In the process, they also explore and may discover personal strengths and areas for development—thinking carefully (and critically) about their interests and where they are great, natural contributors, or where they may need support. This self-awareness can benefit them throughout their careers.
Kids who develop critical thinking skills early in life may be less likely to follow the status quo or be easily influenced by other people’s opinions. Critically thoughtful kids build informed views of their own and learn to trust their ability to work through situations and challenges confidently.
Entrepreneurship Produces Creative Problem-Solving
The National Association of Colleges and Employers conducted a study that found that 91 percent of employers look for problem-solving skills when making hiring decisions. Since creative problem-solving is one of the top sought-after skills in any business environment, cultivating this skill early on is wise.
At the heart of entrepreneurship is the desire to solve a problem. An entrepreneur identifies a need and seeks to create a solution. Successful entrepreneurs contribute to the world by creating innovative and sustained solutions for long-standing problems.
Entrepreneurs would say most business ventures don't pan out as first imagined. However, creative thinking and problem-solving skills drive the iteration of an idea in order to keep moving forward and learning and refining. Also, entrepreneurs often operate with a partner or team, and problem-solving skills can help smooth out disagreements and 'speedbumps'. For example, entrepreneurs may need to resolve disagreements in how to approach consumer feedback or a marketing campaign, or how to craft a more compelling pitch after receiving negative feedback from potential investors.
A solid background in entrepreneurial problem-solving helps kids feel empowered and better equipped to resolve issues that arise in their day-to-day lives, leading to resiliency.
Entrepreneurship Instills a 'Team Player' Attitude in Kids
Few can argue with the importance of skills in teamwork. Listening to others, communicating effectively, collaborating around ideas, and playing to each other's strengths whether, in work, sports, or school is generally better than a 'lone ranger' attitude.
This is why teamwork is another top skill employers seek from their potential hires. Forming the right relationships with others makes a big difference in the growth and productivity of any organization, whether your child is the founder of that company, or working for others.
Entrepreneurs must harness and see the value of the brainpower and contribution of everyone on their team. This is an important attitude in order to work efficiently and effectively to create the best possible venture. Entrepreneurs also collaborate with investors. In the spirit of 'team' and 'we're in this together', entrepreneurs can inspire a loyal base of customers, quality rapport, brand loyalty, and tribe following.
Entrepreneurial Relationship-Building and Happiness
Harvard University conducted a lengthy research study on happiness, concluded that the best determining factor to one's happiness lies in building strong social networks. When kids develop their ability to work with others, seek help from others, and be 'ok' with things not always going as planned, happiness and success can become more accessible. And, since humans are social creatures, contributing to a community—be it a company, neighborhood, or family—is a necessary and rewarding skill.
And while entrepreneurs themselves contribute to the economy by creating businesses and employment opportunities for others, those with an entrepreneurial spirit can create opportunities anywhere while fostering strong social networks.
Effective Communication Boosts a Child’s Inner Confidence
In most jobs, communication is a vital tool for success. Entrepreneurs understand the power of voice and story-telling. Clearly and simply articulating ideas to drive consensus and instill confidence is a great skill! As an entrepreneur, one must convince investors to believe in the potential of a venture and invest. While some are naturals, most need practice. Every opportunity to speak in front of a group builds this skill, and over time, boosts confidence.
The challenge of creating an MVP and a business model with a team, and pitching it to investors in an entrepreneurship class or rotation is a perfect space for this practice (and competency!) of this skill. The importance of this skill stretches beyond business, instills confidence, and supports nearly any potential career path.
Entrepreneurs Require a Growth Mindset
Entrepreneurs have big dreams and are not easily discouraged by failure—there's no room for that! When they encounter a setback, they brainstorm solutions and keep moving forward. They must be agile and resilient.
Entrepreneurship encourages the growth mindset, a belief in one’s own ability to succeed through making and learning from their mistakes. As a result, their abilities are not fixed but malleable through self-effort. An entrepreneur sees failure as a necessary part of their learning process. When kids see failure not as a permanent setback but as an opportunity for growth, there is no limit to what they may accomplish.
Growth-minded children are less likely to give up when faced with failure or adversity. In a world of uncertainty, the ability (and willingness) to face challenges head-on and seek a path forward will be a winning approach.
Encourage Kids' Entrepreneurial Spirit and Skillset
Children are naturally curious and creative, and this is inherent to entrepreneurship. Helping kids develop these skills and retain their innate curiosity and fresh perspective will help them view the world through a lens of possibilities. Greater opportunities arise with an entrepreneurial mindset that will serve them and the world around them.
The INCubatoredu high school entrepreneurship program and its feeder programs, mxINCedu and freshINCedu, guide students through an authentic process of building their own businesses using the practices and methodologies of real entrepreneurs. This immersive curriculum helps prepare children for a strong and prosperous future. Learn more about bringing Uncharted Learning Programs to your school.