Anyone can learn how to run or operate a business. Anyone can work within a business or in any facet of a business of their choice, whether this is through accounting, tech services, customer service, or data entry. Fifty years ago, any high school graduate could get a job as a mail boy or girl in an office, and work their way up to receptionist, take some classes, and then become a full-time secretary, an accountant, or take another position within that business.

What we need to start teaching kids is how to become entrepreneurs. Yes, there is a difference between these two positions, and yes, America, we need to find a different way to teach and further educating our young people.

Entrepreneurship v. Business

An entrepreneur does more than just run the business—often, the entrepreneur is the business, and all it entails—the founder, the CEO, the creative director, and sometimes they are the first producer of a product. An entrepreneur takes an idea and runs with it—they want to see the idea go from a thought in their head to a finished product, and then they want to see what that product can do for other people, and help those who may even experience problems with the product itself. An entrepreneur is a creative, vibrant individual who see potential and learning where others see barriers and problems. Though it is highly encouraged in business to play by the rules, an entrepreneur often makes their own, and encourages others to do the same.

Why Business Education Needs an Upgrade

High school students used to be able to sign up and take courses in basic business education such as accounting, typing (keyboarding), business law, and a bare-bones, basic marketing class.

Now, in some districts, kids can take courses in web design, computer coding such as C+, Java, or Python, or take courses in graphic communications and graphic arts programs such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign.

We need to teach kids how to go from running a business and working for someone to starting their own businesses, marketing their skills, and being entrepreneurs. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs barely squeaked by in high school, and some of them actually dropped out when they were enrolled in college. Why? What they needed to learn and actually know was something they had to do on their own, and in this instance, Mark Twain’s words really did ring true, and school got in the way of their education. They had to learn on their own, from the ground up, on their own terms and in their own time. Was it difficult? Yes! Would they do it all again if they had to? Sure! Would they have been thrilled if someone had actually taught them what to do? Absolutely!

Instead of throwing out all the business classes, what the American education system needs to do is start nurturing its future entrepreneurs and innovators. They need classes in how to legally own, operate, and help a business thrive, but they also need courses on entrepreneurship. They need courses on good product design, self-marketing and product marketing strategies, and a majority of them need courses in proper use of social media. These types of courses may not have a teaching credential attached to them, but this is where a school system may want to look to its local business partners and discuss opportunities for educational seminars, after-school tutoring sessions, and other ways they can provide community outreach while also fostering learning with their local students.

Why just run a business, when you can be your own boss? That’s what we need for our young entrepreneurs!

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