While many schools offer business studies as a subject, it is rare to see entrepreneurship specifically taught. Business studies tends to teach about existing companies whereas entrepreneurship focuses on developing the skills and qualities needed to take the risk of starting a business from the ground up.
These qualities are surely more valuable, and pupils of all ages would benefit from gaining them as soon as possible. So, why is teaching entrepreneurial skills important, and how could this be better integrated into education systems?
What skills do entrepreneurs need?
Becoming an entrepreneur requires more than just hard skills such as financial literacy, mathematics and sector knowledge. These are, of course, vitally important, but to make the best use of these types of skills, an entrepreneur needs a strong base to encourage them to be used in the best possible way.
This begins with self-confidence and initiative – having the belief that their ideas are good as well as the motivation to follow them through. Also, the critical thinking ability to spot when something is going wrong and solve this is vital. All of this goes hand-in-hand with communication and being able to clearly express these ideas.
These could be encouraged in young children with fun classroom activities, whereas hard skills are likely to be taught at a higher level.
Why are these skills important?
The soft skills outlined above are vitally important because these are the skills that will set up a pupil for life. Even if they decide entrepreneurship is not for them, encouraging them to build these means they are better equipped to succeed academically and navigate the job market, no matter the industry.
Hard skill knowledge and application means that they have the confidence and ability to go into their first start-up with a base set of skills ready to use, rather than trying to learn as they go and relying on others for help, or spending too much time learning the hard way.
This could result in a higher chance of success. Having all of these skills will encourage more people to see entrepreneurship as a viable career option.
How could this benefit the economy?
If more people were trained from a young age to be risk-taking entrepreneurs, we may begin to see more successful start-ups. In the UK, 20% of businesses don’t see past their first year and a further 60% only last three years. Better knowledge of how to run a business and manage finances could see these numbers improve.
This is important because entrepreneurship stimulates the economy in more ways than one. Entrepreneurs bring more competition to a market which in turn drives innovation, thus providing better services and goods. Startups add to the national income and create jobs. This is more important than ever in today’s economic climate that is still suffering the effects of the pandemic.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index, growing numbers of entrepreneurs and startups could add up to $7 trillion to global GDP.
The skills associated with entrepreneurship are skills for life. By fostering them from a young age, we can make entrepreneurship more accessible for more people which will, in turn, benefit the economy.