Teaching Entrepreneurship

There has been a rush to embrace entrepreneurship over the past ten years, especially since 2008. Every college, every university now offers courses in a discipline once perceived by the public as reserved for misfits, gamblers and tech high rollers. Of course that’s one of the many myths and misconceptions about entrepreneurship. Those mystical entrepreneurs so far removed from the average life have always been but a small percentage of those who take control over their lives and pursue opportunities at any level

Another of these misconceptions is that you can only become a true entrepreneur through trial and error gaining experience along the way. You could just as well say that about any group or profession. None of us are totally happy if our lawyer is conducting his first case. How many of us would enjoy the prospect of surgery if we found out that our surgeon was a novice. Of course like any other endeavour we entrepreneurs gain insight and judgement from as Nike says just doing it. However there is something to be said for better preparation through shared experiences. We need far more mentors teaching and sharing ideas with would be entrepreneurs.

My series The Entrepreneurial Edge is focused on doing that. You see I tell stories with characters that are making important life decisions that centre around being entrepreneurs. Would be entrepreneurs at any age and at any level of education relate well to these stories full of real life anecdotes from a forty five year career as a serial entrepreneur. Having run workshops on the book I find it works well with high school students right up to PHD graduates and from business novices up to people that have been in business for years. If you are an academic teaching or a business coach mentoring, the first book Everyday Entrepreneur will enhance your efforts.

In a world dominated by rapid change, still dealing with economic uncertainty, where job stability has vanished in the face of multiple jobs over the course of one’s work life, entrepreneurial thinking is critical whether within your own business, working within a large organization or most critical in managing your career. In the face of government gridlock and inefficiency social entrepreneurship is becoming essential for solving societal problems My goal in writing the series is to encourage as many people as possible to consider entrepreneurship and put aside the myths and misconceptions preventing them from making the leap of faith in their ability to solve problems and make things happen. In the process I hope to better prepare them by sharing experiences and potential problems in advance. Most of all I hope to help them understand the philosophy of being an entrepreneur – success is much more about the mindset than the skillset.

Fred Dawkins is an author and serial entrepreneur, currently writing a series on entrepreneurship for Dundurn Press. He is also a partner at the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto

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