The Value of Entrepreneurship Education
Whether or not you are an owner or other stakeholder of a benefit corporation, you can fulfill one of a benefit corporation’s missions by becoming involved in your community. Since you are probably an entrepreneur yourself, one of the important ways you can do this is to volunteer to assist in entrepreneurship education in one of your local schools, whether at the high school, college or technical school level.
There is no better way to inspire young people to create the companies that will provide long-lasting employment for the future than through entrepreneurship education. It helps students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to graduate high school with the critical-thinking, communication and collaboration skills that will create opportunity, ensure social justice, instill confidence and stimulate the economy.
First, some current statistics:
37% of minority youth in the US are currently unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
65% of students now in school will fill job categories that don’t exist today (World Economic Forum)
33% of US employers say that they look for entrepreneurial experience and new hires (Millennial Branding)
100% of new job creation in the US comes from new business startups (Kauffman Foundation)
One example of a nonprofit leader in entrepreneurship education is the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), with entrepreneurship education programs offered through 11 program offices in the United States in high schools where at least 50% of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch and in nine countries worldwide. NFTE provides many opportunities for you to volunteer with high school students and NFTE graduates. You can be a guest expert and give a class, be part of a panel discussion and talk about your professional journey or teach a lesson about key business concepts; you can volunteer as a mentor to students, helping them with their business plans and assisting them with their presentation skills; you can host a group of students to your own business; and you can act as a judge in one of NFTE’s business plan competitions.
As inspiring as this is to the students, it will surely help you to better understand your own community and its challenges and inspire you to get involved with others to help make positive changes and make a difference. I can tell you from personal experience that programs like this work at all levels and you will change the trajectory of many students’ lives.
One of the things that I found in my experience is that as valuable as it is for a student to find out that he or she loves entrepreneurship and all that it involves, it is just as valuable for a student to learn that he or she does not like or is not enchanted by being an entrepreneur. High school is a good time to learn this before the student invests more time and resources in this type of education or even establishes a business.
Stewart A. Merkin