How States Can Prioritize Entrepreneurship Education

Educators across the United States work daily to inspire their students to look critically at the world, to find ways to make long-term changes and improvements. Empowering students with entrepreneurial skills is a great first step to help students look around and discover ways to make the world a better place.

A rare bipartisan bill to boost entrepreneurship in the 21st century was recently introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Senator Klobuchar is an avid supporter of entrepreneurial education and co-chair of the Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus. “Entrepreneurship and innovation are key to our economic prosperity and are needed more than ever as we rebuild our economy and put the pandemic behind us,” she said. Senator Tim Scott adds “As we emerge from the pandemic, our job in Congress will be to implement commonsense policies that will allow our nation’s entrepreneurs to rebuild our economy. My bipartisan Enhancing Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century Act is just one of the many tools we can enact to get the American economy back on track.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic dragging on, it’s more important now than ever to empower tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Keep reading for four ways to bring entrepreneurship into your classroom, regardless of the subject you teach.

Focus on State Pride and Economic Development

For educators in underprivileged communities, entrepreneurship education is especially crucial. Students in these areas may see no future opportunities or career paths available to them. Helping students see that they can be their own boss, that they can use their ideas to start a business in their hometown, means that students are more likely to improve their local economies.

James Wilcox, Director at the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education at the University of Southern Mississippi, has seen the power of entrepreneurship education in his state. “The whole goal of our entrepreneurship movement in Mississippi was to show students the opportunities available in our state. This movement allows us to expose students to topics such as lifelong learning and curiosity, while giving them hands-on experiences in business. Discussing entrepreneurship means talking to others, finding out how to add value to an economy, brainstorming how they can use their talents in unique ways. I love Mississippi and I love helping students see that there are jobs they can create here.”

Bring in Entrepreneurs from the Community

Another way to make entrepreneurship come alive is to bring business owners from your community into the classroom. Try connecting students with entrepreneurs in various industries: restaurants, retail, service, etc. Connecting students with entrepreneurs in different career clusters allows students to see how their interests today can become their job tomorrow.

Plus, entrepreneurs can share more about their journey, the pitfalls they overcame, and what advice they’d give to students looking to start their own businesses in the future.

Incorporate Entrepreneurship Principles into Existing Curriculum

While many state’s Departments of Education see the value in entrepreneurship education, courses entirely focused on entrepreneurship are rare. However, you don’t need a specific entrepreneurship course to empower your students with these skills. How about incorporating entrepreneurial principles into your existing coursework?

For example, a marketing educator could talk about how marketing principles can combine with entrepreneurial skills to help students start their own firms. Maybe you teach Microsoft Office skills? Show students how these skills, combined with an entrepreneurial mindset can help them be successful in the early stages of starting a business.

Entrepreneurship is valuable in every industry or career cluster. For example, Alabama just started requiring cosmetology students to earn their Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) certification before graduating. Not only are these students prepared for a successful career in cosmetology, they’re now ready with the business acumen required to open their own salons.

Allocate Funding for Entrepreneurship Education

Ultimately, for entrepreneurial education to be successful, funding must support these efforts. There are multiple funding sources and approaches for successful entrepreneurship programs in your state. Texas and Louisiana have allocated Perkins Funding to be used with classes that culminate in ESB certification. Louisiana also incorporated ESB certification into their JumpStart program.

Florida is also moving forward with placing the ESB certification on their CAPE list. You can see Chancellor Mack’s announcement in our ESB Academy webinar here. Remember, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to funding and entrepreneurship education. See how states across the country are leveraging funding for ESB certification here.

Interested in talking to a Certiport representative about entrepreneurship education and the ESB certification and curriculum? Connect with us here.