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Is there such a thing as a natural entrepreneur? Someone who is destined for success, with all the right entrepreneurial instincts, and an eye for spotting business opportunities years in advance, striking gold with every venture?
Ask any well-established entrepreneur this, and they’ll tell you what we are describing is a unicorn. They’ll also tell you that entrepreneurship is part science and part art, with basic knowledge you need to learn, and skills that must be honed over time. From our perspective, and within the context of educating children about entrepreneurship, we at BizWorld UAE approach this subject with the belief that everyone is born an entrepreneur- they just need to develop certain practical and emotional skills to bring out that entrepreneurial spirit.
We also believe that the earlier this education takes place, the more effective it will be in not only shaping future entrepreneurs and leaders, but its overall impact on our economy and greater society. Entrepreneurship education is important for so many reasons, and when it is done right at an early age, its impact can be tremendous:
1. Learning basic business knowledge
This may sound obvious, but it is often overlooked. Not everyone graduates from schools and universities with basic business knowledge. Developing a business plan, keeping track of finances and marketing are all vital for any would-be entrepreneur, but they are not always mandatory in school and university curriculums. The earlier students pick up this basic knowledge, the less they will have to struggle with managing budgets or creating viability studies when they start their own business.
2. Sparking innovation and creativity
One hallmark of successful entrepreneurs is their ability to adapt, innovate and come up with creative solutions to age-old problems. These aren’t nascent traits in people, so true entrepreneurship education builds critical-thinking skills and the ability to think creativity, the foundations of innovation. Curiosity is also an important trait that entrepreneurship education develops, because without a sense of curiosity, there won’t be a drive to experiment and learn new things. These are all aspects that need to be developed at an early age and continuously nurtured to make a meaningful impact.
3. Getting emotionally prepared
Let’s say that in theory you know the technical aspects of starting a business, but are you ready for the emotional and psychological toll that it takes to manage it? What if things aren’t going your way, are you ready to deal with failure? The psychology of an entrepreneurial lifestyle is another vital part that may be overlooked in the current ecosystem. True entrepreneurship education works on building up resilience and in parallel, developing a sense of optimism. These traits will help future entrepreneurs and leaders deal with adversity, and if they ever get knocked down, get back up and try again.
4. Tapping into the economy
Governments in the Middle East are looking toward entrepreneurs to create future jobs for their growing populations. Entrepreneurs are also being tapped as generators of sustainable economic growth. Building the capabilities of future entrepreneurs is the foundation of these plans since investors consider the abilities of an entrepreneur as closely as they consider their business model. More capable and empowered entrepreneurs create a more productive and efficient ecosystem.
5. Building a stronger education system
Education reform and development tops the agenda for countries across the region as a means to address the root cause of social, economic and political challenges. In addition to the public sector, in the highly competitive private sector, critical thinking and practical applications are becoming more and more important for parents when it comes to choosing a school. Entrepreneurship education not only creates richer curriculums, but it provides real world and practical applications that will make students more competitive when they graduate.
6. Giving back to the community
Being successful in business alone does not necessarily mean you are a well-rounded individual. Being involved in the community, supporting those around you, and a deeper sense of responsibility, are all examples of how entrepreneurs can create a true and meaningful impact.
Entrepreneurship education emphasizes the importance of citizenship and lifting up your community as an integral part of being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship education also imparts this important idea to students: life is not about just getting a job, their future has options, and entrepreneurship is one of them. Equally important, this kind of education also shows students that they are never too young to be an entrepreneur, and that the qualities of entrepreneurship and leadership are already within them.