My good friends and colleagues at the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education have released an interesting new report that assesses the state of entrepreneurship education here in the US. The report summarizes surveys and interviews with state directors of Career and Technical Education programs, who were asked for their assessments of where entrepreneurship fit in their state’s formal education and training curricula.
Nearly all of the respondents agreed that entrepreneurship education was of growing importance, but their responses also indicated that the infrastructure to support entrepreneurship education remains quite weak. For example, 80% of respondents noted that they had no teacher training or certification programs related to entrepreneurship education. When asked how entrepreneurship was taught, the top response was via writing a business plan. The use of expereiential learning, entrepreneurship experiences, or other approaches, were rarely cited. If youth entrepreneurship training is going to be confined to “how to write a business plan,” we can expect two outcomes: 1) Lots of bored students, and 2) Lots of poorly prepared entrepreneurs. While a business plan can be helpful, it is not the silver bullet for creating a successful venture.
This study suggests that educators are beginning to “talk the talk” about entrepreneurship. Now it’s time to “walk the walk” and build capacity to actually provide the training and tools that students want and need.