Your students crave an education that promotes real-world application. Teaching entrepreneurship is an easy way to do this. Bringing an entrepreneurship curriculum to your classroom doesn’t have to be a challenge. We know it can feel overwhelming to introduce something new into your lesson plans, but we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be!
What will you learn throughout this blog?
Table of Contents
How is Teaching Entrepreneurship Curriculum Different from Traditional Learning?
Entrepreneurship curriculum is hands-on. It’s not about memorization or learning a bunch of new concepts to later be tested on; it’s about taking action. Students are given complete autonomy over their work and are expected to be creative in their approaches to the project assignments. As a teacher, you are responsible for guiding your students through the fundamental business concepts and eventually taking a hands-off approach, serving in a mentor role for your students as they explore their ideas.
This can feel strange to both teachers and students who are used to a strict rubric and a right or wrong answer. When teaching entrepreneurship, there is rarely a right or wrong answer. Students might make mistakes, but that allows for room to grow and likely have greater success later.
This type of curriculum is flexible and adaptable to so many different subjects and interests...
Regardless of their interests, entrepreneurship allows students to explore all kinds of ideas and passions, and gain skills that will help them no matter what they are hoping to pursue. Teaching entrepreneurship facilitates collaboration, confidence, leadership, real-world perspective and application, problem-solving, creativity, and so much more!
Want to learn a little more about this? Check out this article: “Here's 3 Reasons Why Youth Entrepreneurship is Important”
What is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?
(+ What are the Benefits?)
An entrepreneurial mindset shifts perspectives to recognize problems in one’s life and be solution-oriented. This approach to thinking and learning promotes a growth mindset that allows students to be open, flexible, and adaptable to change.
Having an entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t necessarily make a person an entrepreneur either. You don’t have to start a business, this kind of skill can create various job opportunities and even help students resolve issues in their personal life. Put simply, an entrepreneurial mindset provides the mental drive and capacity to create change where we see a need for it.
Teaching entrepreneurship in the classroom provides your students with opportunities to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, creative, and collaborative. These kinds of skills are invaluable and relevant to every person’s life, both personally and professionally.
Our article “4 Ways to Grow Your Entrepreneurial Mindset” discusses the important tenets of developing this mindset. There are 4 qualities that are fundamental:
You must be able to recognize problems in your life so that you can begin to think of innovative ways to tackle them!
It’s important to open your mind to be able to think more expansively so you can make new ideas come to life!
When building your entrepreneurial mindset, being relentless in your pursuit of opportunity is essential. Choose ideas that motivate you and inspire passion so that you are excited to pursue them and take action.
Knowing you will face setbacks throughout your entrepreneurial journey, is essential to acknowledge, but should not stop you from pursuing your dreams. Perseverance means not letting the setbacks keep you down and remembering to lift yourself back up.
Check out the article to discover even more ways to put these ideas into practice!
Entrepreneurship Curriculum Benefits
There are many aspects of entrepreneurship that empower students to be leaders, challenge them to think outside the box, and create opportunities to discover skillsets that they may not have recognized before. Two students, Sandra and Siima who participated in Mindset & Milestones' curriculum explain that entrepreneurship taught them about tenacity and grit, it made them better decision-makers and planners and pushed them to take risks. They also expressed that being able to learn about marketing, management, and finance created profound learning experiences that they wouldn't normally receive in a traditional classroom. You can read more about Sandra and Siima'a experience below.
Vy and Pauline explained that "Entrepreneurship can teach so many skills, but the most important ones are related to efficient time management, networking, decision-making, and risk-taking." They recognize these skills as being essential for their futures regardless of if they start their own business or not. As young people they expressed feeling undermined in many areas of their lives and that developing an entrepreneurial mindset gave them the confidence to take charge of their ideas and bring them to life.
Check out some of the tangible projects students have produced through the Mindset & Milestones curriculum. From creating slide decks to pitch their idea, websites to drive customer engagement, and live presentations to share their ideas with the world, these students have created inspiring projects with real-world impacts:
Here is a slide deck from Pauline, who developed her business idea throughout her junior and senior years of high school! Remind 2 Unwind solves the problem of excess screen time and a lack of awareness about effective breaks that increase productivity. As a Chrome extension, it provides users with healthy, timed break options to help relieve and refresh their minds... These are just a few slides from her presentation but check out the rest of it here!
This is another example of a pitch deck by Sanya. She created Carelp, a company that sends cards to elderly individuals living alone in order to help them combat social isolation. By receiving artwork from youth and partnering with community organizations, Carelp turns hope into meaning. Check it out!
Below you will find 3 different websites that were designed by students, to help put their ideas into action.
- Ribbonery was created by Vy. She built a student-led initiative that makes handmade hair accessories, with 100% of profits donated to Girls Inc.
- Eunice is the creator of Heads Up Buttercup, a nonprofit organization that strives to educate, provide real-world experiences, and empower teenagers to make a change in their community by hosting webinars, inviting guest speakers, and sharing volunteer opportunities.
- Sandra, during her freshman and sophomore year of high school, created Dear Global Girls, an international and youth-led organization and digital magazine dedicated to inspiring, educating, and empowering girls around the globe. Through articles highlighting current issues, spotlighting incredible youth change-makers, and more, their mission is to encourage young girls around the globe to amplify their voices, demand equal rights, and embrace the power hidden among them.
Look what your students could be building in YOUR classroom! As you can see, these projects show the potential for your students to create something real that aligns with each of their varying passions. It's never too early to become an entrepreneur or to learn the ropes of working with a startup. Entrepreneurship curriculum not only empowers students to dream big but to take action!
Entrepreneurship Curriculum in the Classroom
Middle School Entrepreneurship Curriculum
Teaching entrepreneurship won’t look the same across the board. It’s important to distinguish how this kind of curriculum can evolve between different age groups. In middle school, this means teaching the basic concepts of entrepreneurship, focusing on creativity and the ideation process.
At this time of life, students often see a world full of opportunity. They are more imaginative, excited, and naturally think outside the box. It’s important to take advantage of this youthful energy and allow students to do something with it!
- Start by sharing videos and stories about different kinds of entrepreneurs and business ideas so that students gain exposure to the endless world of opportunities for their innovations. Check out our free presentation downloads and Youtube videos that feature various entrepreneurs and their businesses, to get this started in your classroom.
- The ideation process is also a perfect place to introduce entrepreneurship and help students develop their entrepreneurial mindset. Giving students projects that allow them to (1) think through an idea they have, big or small, (2) come up with who their audience is, (3) Identify their competitors, and (4) develop a mission and vision statement is an excellent starting place.
- Bringing in guest speakers is also a great way to show students the ways in which entrepreneurship takes so many different forms. Allow these speakers to inspire and engage with your students while broadening their scope of possibility for their own lives.
Entrepreneurship Curriculum in High School
As students enter high school they are likely more focused on their future: deciding if they want to go to college, and thinking about what they are interested in pursuing for a career. Students start to become more realistic and less imaginative at this time, but teaching entrepreneurship might just help you keep your students' dreams alive!
At this point, students are likely more aware of the problems they face in their own lives as well as on a national and global scale. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is essential to help your students avoid becoming disheartened by the world. They are the future generation of leaders and change-makers, so it’s important that we equip them with the skills and confidence to do just that!
With an entrepreneurial mindset, your high schoolers will feel optimistic about the problems they face and naturally look at the world through a solution-oriented lens. Similar to middle school the creative process is still important, but at this point, your students are probably ready to go more in-depth. Teaching entrepreneurship allows students to bring their ideas to life and feel motivated by the work they are doing, knowing it has relevant implications for their future.
So what does teaching entrepreneurship look like at this age?:
- Hands-on projects:
- writing up a business plan, developing a tangible model of the product or service idea, participating in pitch competitions, building a website for their business idea, creating a marketing campaign... the list goes on!
- Financial literacy:
- learning how to make a budget, figuring out how to price a product or service, learning about the funding stages of a business, understanding loans and investments... once again, the list goes on!
- Actually starting a business:
- not all of your students will be entrepreneurs, but some will be naturally motivated to take their ideas to the next level and bring it to fruition. How cool is it, that your student can say they created a successful business in your classroom?!
Why a Comprehensive Entrepreneurship Curriculum is the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Students
A comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum covers all kinds of topics from...
- Ideation and creative planning process
- Business plan development
- Marketing strategy
- Brand building
- Financial planning and budgeting
Piecing this kind of learning together daily can be difficult to come up with ideas on your own, especially if there are topics you may feel less comfortable teaching. We also know how overwhelming it can feel to constantly come up with hands-on projects that will actually keep your students engaged.
For your students, jumping around to different topics without receiving a start-to-finish understanding of developing a business, can be confusing and unhelpful. The entrepreneurial process and tools that come with it are relatively streamlined nowadays. Even though the actual business creation process looks different for everyone, there are specific steps every person should learn when bringing their idea to life!
At Mindset & Milestones, we believe all students should be given the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, that is why we created comprehensive lesson plans, resources, and classroom activities that enhance student learning. By providing students with projects and skills that have real-world applications, they feel empowered to take ownership of their work and engagement in the classroom and beyond. Mindset Essentials for Teachers was created to help educators like you facilitate meaningful discussions and collaboration that ultimately shift students’ mindsets around what’s possible.
You don’t have to do this on your own! Mindset & Milestones has everything you need to make the process easy, exciting, and engaging for you and your students. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset in your classroom is made simple with our curriculum – work with Mindset & Milestones to start teaching entrepreneurship curriculum in a way that enhances the content you're already presenting!
We’ve designed this entrepreneurial education curriculum at the intersection of life skills, college preparation, and classroom integration. It’s been reviewed and refined through the lens of students, their ideas, and the teachers that are willing to step into the mentor roles to guide students on their entrepreneurial journeys. Are you ready to join us in our mission to empower youth through entrepreneurship?