Don’t say “ I begin,” but “l take part” when you want to achieve something. A responsible market economy needs self-confident entrepreneurs and mature citizens who help shape their own and their society’s future offensively. Without the dreams of visionaries and people who put ideas actively into practice, we would live in another world nowadays. There would be no fine arts and no schools, no cars and no medication, no state of law and also no consumer protection if people did not take a stand for ideas and did not change social rules with civil courage.
The economy and how to be economical has to be learned and studied – in fact from generation to generation anew. It is wrong to believe that economy and democracy can be inherited. Each generation is once again challenged to develop these competences, ideas and values which are important for people‘s lives and society.
I am strongly convinced that education within the family and educational training play a decisive role for a responsible market economy. All future entrepreneurs and employees are at school now. The way they are currently educated and trained will leave a mark on their social and economic understanding. Mature citizens don’t fall into a society’s lap, they need fundamental competences to reflect the execution of their ideas. Education is, therefore, never neutral, it is either an instrument of liberation or it is an instrument of adaptation. As a consequence we should promote entrepreneurship education which connects and fosters creativity, self-responsibility, decision-making ability, knowledge acquisition and independence.
We need entrepreneurial thinking everywhere, the more there is within a society, the more spirited and sustainable it will be. Entrepreneurship is a mental mindset, where people participate actively in society in such a way that they firstly identify what has to be done to be able to work out a solution afterwards.
Youth Entrepreneurship Education stands for challenge-based learning and for a dialogical form of communication between the teacher and the student, which is characterized by respect and encouragement. Therefore, school is a place of personal development. Entrepreneurial thinking and acting must be developed in a longer-term process starting in primary education or kindergarten. Offers have to be systematically implemented during the whole school time so that young people can grow with their “YouthStart entrepreneurial challenges.” An implementation which should be successful in the long run combines innovation in the learning process with an establishment of Entrepreneurship Education in the curriculum, with innovative teacher training and motivating further education as well as with school development and inspiring learning documents.
Your interest in Entrepreneurship Education for kids and young people should be aroused by (at least) four of the considerations given below:
First, Entrepreneurship Education offers a social-pedagogic perspective. It is an approach which can open opportunities for socialy underprivileged groups. Through entrepreneurship, one can learn how to participate in society – it reveals life perspectives.
Secondly, Entrepreneurship Education links “learning” to “willing.” By working on one’s own ideas knowledge is developed together with the teachers. The teacher’s role varies between being an coach and a trainer.
In addition, as a classic aim of pedagogic practice is fostering responsibility and self-determination. Emanuel Kant’s claim (1784) could also be the motto of education and training across all subject, “Sapere aude! Have the courage to use your own reason.”
Lastly, today’s students as the future workforce will face different employment patterns. Therefore, it is very important to prepare them. Whether there will be sustainable economic development in the future will also be decided at school, as all future employees and entrepreneurs are at school today.
Johannes Lindner, the contributor of this article, is Head of the Department Entrepreneurship Education and the Center for Value-based Business Education at the University Teacher College Vienna/Krems, Head of the eesi-Entrepreneurship Education Center of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and the Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Details: www.youthstart.eu