“Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune.“ Jim Rohn
Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education are hotter than ever. There are hundreds of thousands of Colleges and Universities engaged in creating and delivering entrepreneurship training programs. It seems that everything one can possibly imagine exists. There are Venture Capitalists getting involved (for example, the Thiel Fellowship) and there are Universities like MIT that wants to “set a firewall to keep those people (Venture Capitalists) away so that these young people have the chance to learn” (citation from BloombergBusinessseek). In my opinion both sides are well-intentioned. They defend what they know very well and feel comfortable with. Also, I am sure there are statistics that can prove both extremes right.
There are also not-for-profits engaged in helping wealth-poor communities to identify entrepreneurs and helping them learn what it takes to start and make a business thrive. This is even more important since the job crunch that started in late 2007. As I read today in a LinkedIn post, when you cannot find a job, create one. This is the right attitude
Current trends also show that this approach resonates well with the Millennial Generation (or Millennials). A press release from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) mention on its latest report highlights that “45% of alumni entrepreneurs from the classes of 2010 – 2013 started business at graduation, compared with just 7% of alumni entrepreneurs before 1990”.
Well, how to approach the entrepreneur education? In my point of view, educating an entrepreneur goes beyond the formal technical courses. An MBA or a business degree can help but they are not the complete solution. An entrepreneur needs to be grown pretty much the same way we grow a child. His or her education needs to encompass the formal technical aspects and include the ever important soft skills. But to be really complete the process has to include some form of mentorship. And, in this aspect, it is important to help create strong ties between the mentor and mentee (once again, the soft skills are essential).
In Canada, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) (now Futurpreneur) is doing a great job connecting the young entrepreneur with an experienced mentor. Also, the Canadian Government have a program (self employment program) that helps people facing unemployment create their own jobs through self employment. There are similar programs in the US and other countries. They are not perfect but are a great start. We should learn from them and evolve, merging the growing desire of the new generations with the necessary support.
Jose Cid is a Business Intelligence Consultant, an Educator and Coach. Throughout his life he has been helping people inside and outside of the work environment. His motto can be translated into a simple equation: Knowledge + Intelligence + Action = Power ©. Please visit www.josecid.ca for other articles and services.