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Can entrepreneurship be taught?

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Can entrepreneurship be taught?

In our latest blog post, Dr Shumaila Yousafzai argues for a new approach to teaching entrepreneurship, which calls for action, practice and experimentation.

The American Professor of Entrepreneurship, Jeff Timmons, once said: “[Entrepreneurship] is not just about new companies, capital, and job formation, nor innovation, nor creativity, nor breakthroughs. It is also about fostering an ingenious human spirit and improving humankind.”

Over the last two decades, the universal emphasis on the significance and potential impact of entrepreneurship as a powerful economic force has radically increased. And yet, the response in entrepreneurship education, that’s to say, how we teach people to pursue their own business ideas, has been somewhat lackluster. Instead, researchers and practitioners around the world continue to ponder whether or not entrepreneurship can be taught.

Mystery and magic In place of this philosophising, I think we’d do well to remember American management consultant, educator, and author, Peter Drucker’s declaration on the subject. He said:

“Entrepreneurship is not magic, it is not mysterious and it has nothing to do with genes. It is a discipline. And, like any discipline, it can be taught.”

As educators, we’re lagging, and our role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to address the global challenges should not be undervalued. Our classrooms are the perfect incubators for budding entrepreneurs. And as for education, I maintain that it’s the perfect vehicle to redefine and amplify purposeful study and action that might lead to a better life and a better world. Content is becoming a commodity, business management education, in general, and our role and teaching approaches as educators, our classroom interactions, are being questioned. Make no mistake, we are being scrutinized. And the way we deliver entrepreneurship education is no exception.

Learning through action

Peter Drucker also said: “Entrepreneurship is neither a science, nor art. It is a practice.”