Entrepreneurs power the economy by creating businesses that drive innovation, create jobs and lead people to do amazing things. Business Schools over the past 15 years have increased their focus on entrepreneurship offering all kinds of programs to help people learn how to start businesses and this is great but I feel we need to start this education process at a younger age.
Our antiquated public education system doesn’t do enough to create and develop entrepreneurs. All those kids we see starting lemonade stands and lawn mowing businesses in their early teens need to be exposed to entrepreneurship, mentors and the tools to test their ideas.
This post was originally inspired by a tweet I read about Camp Inc, a specialty overnight camp focused on entrepreneurship and business in Boulder Colorado. The idea is relatively simple. Campers live on the University of Colorado campus and have daily interactions with worldly mentors as they learn to build a company in an industry of their choice. How cool is that?
When I was younger I took part in an organization called Junior Achievement and it was a great experience. A bunch of us pre-teens created a company called Beadable that manufactured and sold Xmas ornaments. We learned about the legal structure of a business, created a board, established roles in the company, created a vision and plans and then we executed. It was very similar to the incubator concept we see in the tech startup industry.
Maybe the solution is to create schools with similar models used by tech incubators like TechStars.
The TechStars model provides entrepreneurs with all the tools and assistance they need to build a new business including seed financing. They invest $118K in each company through $18K in seed funding and an optional $100K convertible debt note. They also provide three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, incredible perks that can include; PR, Legal, HR advise, web hosting and eCommerce services and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program.
This model has been proven to create billion dollar companies and thousands of good paying jobs. In a world where economic uncertainty is the norm, entrepreneurship has emerged as a genuine solution to boost and sustain economic recovery.