Nurturing Entrepreneurial Spirit
As we move forward into the 21st Century it is important to reflect on the great contributions that entrepreneurs have made to the wellbeing of our people and the wealth of our economy. Where would we be without the persistence and creativity of such notable entrepreneurs as Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Joe Dudley?
For the past 22 years the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (the Consortium) has provided leadership to those who teach our youth and adults about their country, their career opportunities, and the skills needed to be successful. Educators have created a wide variety of programs and activities to provide students with the experiences that nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship everywhere.
“Entrepreneurs are not ‘born’….rather they ‘become’ through the experiences of their lives.” — Professor Albert Shapiro, Ohio State University
The Consortium has seen our special role in sharing interesting entrepreneur-building activities and innovative programs from elementary schools through secondary and post-secondary education. Through our national conference, our newsletter, and our website, we have encouraged the replication of these innovative educational ideas. We have supported our members – leaders in the field at local, state, and national levels. And we have built bridges between the Consortium and other organizations that are part of the potential delivery system that enables youth and adults to explore their entrepreneurial opportunities.
Based on the vision of our original mentor, Professor Albert Shapiro at The Ohio State University (deceased in 1985) the Consortium created the Lifelong Learning Model to demonstrate that entrepreneurship is a developmental process. We recognize the importance of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit from early ages, and continuing it right through all educational levels. In most cases entrepreneurship is infused in classes where it provides the context for learning other basic skills and motivating students to want to learn. In the more advanced grades it also has become a separate course supporting the outcomes of the higher levels of the lifelong learning model.
Entrepreneurship education means many different things to educators – from primary schools to university, from vocational education to a university MBA. At each level of education, it is reasonable to expect different outcomes as students mature and build on previous knowledge. But the overall purpose remains to develop expertise as an entrepreneur.