Can Schools Teach Entrepreneurship?

17-year-old author and innovator Nikhil Goyal says it's possible if schools change their 'do as you're told' mentality.

Entrepreneurs are never born, only created. If you really think about it, entrepreneurship is a mindset and that mindset has to be a lifestyle—when you "own" it, you can run with any idea. So can schools actually teach entrepreneurship? Yes and no.

As a TIME Business article explains, "In the ’90s, a Kauffman Foundation study found that two-thirds of high school students wanted to become entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the same study discovered that more than 80 percent felt they had not learned anything about entrepreneurship in school. Given our current industrial model of education that has produced compliant employees, the results are no surprise. Entrepreneurship can’t be taught in the traditional sense with textbooks, lectures, and worksheets. What schools need to do is abandon the status quo and cultivate this mindset.

Entrepreneur Gulay Ozkan may have found the solution. In her class "The Courage to Create a Business" at Bilgi University in Istanbul, Ozkan pinpoints three dimensions: ecosystem, entrepreneur, and idea.

To determine the ecosystem, Ozkan asks students, where are you? "Being an entrepreneur in an emerging market and an advanced market are two very different things. I ask my students the question, 'Are you aware of your ecosystem?'" says Ozkan. "We need to break people's blindness when they have been stuck in an industry for a long time." Tunnel vision kills innovation.

To help students define what entrepreneurship means for them, Ozkan has them answer the question, who are you? Can you live with your work 24 hours in a day? That directly echoes advice from LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. He'd put his tech career above almost everything else in his life, even his own health.

Third is defining the idea. Ozkan helps students figure out what they want to do. Using design-driven methodologies, the class develops ideas through exercises that let them express the challenges they are facing and their personal dreams.

Ozkan also sprinkles in guest lectures from people like journalist Simran Sethi and former Irish deputy prime minister Dick Spring, exposing the students to some brilliant thinkers who can serve as role models.

At the end of the day, however, entrepreneurship all comes down to execution. Anyone can have a good idea, but execution separates the winners from the losers. When Ozkan’s students actually have to apply the lessons from her class in real life—two of them have even launched an internet insurance startup—that’s what makes everything click.

Although she’s running her class at a university, high schools can easily teach these same lessons. Students need schools to figure this out now. Ending schools' "do as you are told" mindset and letting kids be spontaneous and take leaps of faith would certainly help. I'm only 17-years-old but I can see how as you get older, the ability to unlearn and recover from one’s education gets much more difficult.

If schools look at innovation and entrepreneurship as students’ path forward they'll be able to help young people do what Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sramana Mitra once told India's best and brightest: "Build products. Build companies. And finally, build fortunes."

Photo via (cc) Flickr user stevendepolo


The global climate change strikes on Friday are said to have been the largest protest for climate change in history. An estimated four million people participated in 2,500 events across 163 countries on all seven continents. That included an estimated 300,000 Australians, but a total of zero were in Hyde Park in Sydney, despite a viral photo that claims otherwise.

Australian Youth Coal Coalition, a pro-coal Facebook page, posted a photo showing trash strewn across a park after what appears to have been a large event. "Look at the mess today's climate protesters left behind in beautiful Hyde Park," the photo was captioned. "So much plastic. So much landfill. So sad." The only problem is, the photo wasn't taken after a climate change protest. It wasn't even taken in Australia.

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via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

As world leaders meet to discuss new ways to tackle climate change at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, they might miss one very big part of healing nature – nature. In a new short film, youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot, a writer for the Guardian, talked about how we need to use nature as a solution to climate change.

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Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

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Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

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