By Dr Ajay Gupta
Entrepreneurship is an important buzzword of the twenty-first century. Its implications for the education sector and the country are a serious concern that the National Education Policy 2020 also seeks to address in all its sincerity. Unprecedented times require unprecedented measures to prepare students for becoming the go-getting leaders of tomorrow. What those measures could be is a question that parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, society, and the government should resolve in close collaboration to get students ready for success in the entrepreneurial world.
The Role of Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship education, as the name suggests, focuses on inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset in students. It incorporates strategies that stimulate one’s creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, smart risk-taking, leadership, financial acumen, and communication skills. Entrepreneurship education ensures that students do not feel hurled into the real world after their carefree years in a traditional classroom setup come to an end, which is generally separate from the practicalities of life. When students get to develop their entrepreneurial skills over a period of time, those skills become deeply entrenched and compelling. The dynamic and demanding world of entrepreneurship becomes their comfort zone, and constantly broadening the horizons of that zone is what leads them to success and ultimately leads the country to socio-economic progress.
Entrepreneurial Skills are for One and All
Entrepreneurial skills play a critical role in not only starting one’s own business but also in creating and seizing the best opportunities in the workplace. These skills concern every professional and not just aspiring entrepreneurs and businessmen. When students know how to be proactive, creative, risk-taking, problem-solving leaders in the workplace, the term “intrapreneurs” accounts for their innovative role. This role is what sets them apart from the herd and opens the door to vast opportunities for making it big in their careers. They are entrusted with new projects and also with bigger responsibilities. Entrepreneurial skills hold the potential to eradicate the issue of unemployment in any country. They can promote self-employment and self-sustenance if the government knows how to channel the tumultuous aspects of entrepreneurship into an organised system.
Best Ways to Encourage Students to Be Entrepreneurial
Entrepreneurship knows no boundaries of age, class, gender, and socio-economic background. Perseverance is the key to successful entrepreneurship, which entails rising above one’s feelings of comfort and contentedness. Instilling a perseverant attitude in students when they are still young is a good way to bridge the gaps. There are numerous ways to do so.
- Teach Students How to Take Initiative
The essence of any business is taking initiative. Making the students problem-solvers does not suffice. Problem-solving implies that students are presented with a problem for which they need to brainstorm innovative solutions. Entrepreneurial skills command this but also go beyond it. Encourage the students to identify a problem on their own account and brainstorm ideas to solve the problem. Assigning them group projects without giving them any blueprint (any point to start) is one such example to accomplish this. But ensure that students do not lose track without a framework.
- Motivate Students to Present Solutions Instead of Complaints
All of us are very capable of finding grounds for complaint. Let us make the students capable of resolving those complaints with their own pioneering efforts. This activity could be carried out in classrooms as well as homes. It’s the skill of bridging the gap that needs to be ingrained in their receptive and creative minds, and this exercise should be continuous. Appreciation and rewards serve as great motivating factors for students to present complaints along with solutions.
- Be Careful of the Company That Students Keep
As it is said, “You got to be careful of the company you keep.” It is hard for students to be entrepreneurial if their surroundings are all about toeing the line. Real entrepreneurs exhibit out-of-the-box thinking, so students need to get exposure in order to think outside the box. There are various ways to provide students with wide exposure. Take, for instance, shows like Shark Tank and platforms like Ted Talks where ideas and inspiration go hand in hand. Students could surround themselves with the best of these. Also, whenever possible, invite entrepreneurs and business people to enthuse students with their fierce spirit.
- Designate Time for Entrepreneurial Thinking
Genius Hour is an ingenious approach carried out by Google for its employees. The same approach could be adopted by teachers and parents to boost entrepreneurial thinking in students. Set some time aside every week wherein students could be left free to be guided by their own interests and passions. However, to ensure this time does not take the shape of a free period, make sure that they have a target to achieve and an entrepreneurial one at that. Let them delve into sub-topics like customer satisfaction or target markets and help them understand financial management and business operations during this designated time.