I recently blogged about how entrepreneurship is a hot topic these days and that an innovative educational institution can cash in on this trend. Here is my piece on what the problems with entrepreneurship programs/courses are and what to do about them. (Note: I do not claim to be an expert at it; just putting my thought out.)
Entrepreneurship classes are focused on learning from the instructor. That is the first wrong step! The dynamics of each business, no matter how simple it is, is going to be very different on a case by case basis. The only way to learn that is by being involved in a real entrepreneurial project. It is true that entrepreneurship classes do have real projects that get students involved in getting real experience. However, the focus on doing all that in a classroom will only hold back students from learning more. There is so much more potential that is not being tapped.
The best way to come up with a new entrepreneurship program is by incorporating the new elements popular with startups. Entrepreneurship programs should be modeled like incubators. Students should be allowed to take classes to build some of the skills that they feel is lacking. Other than that, classroom instructions should be kept limited. They should be handed out a reading list to get them started, since there is already a host of great resources for wannabe entrepreneurs out there in the internet. Unless they are a self-starter, they are not going to be successful in being an entrepreneur and those who feel lost by such an approach would weed out those less suited for entrepreneurship. I suggest Lean Startup methodologies too should be taught. The students can be tested based on what they learn – either through success or failures. The four years undergrads spend at such programs would also be the best time for them to fail and learn from their mistakes – also potentially decreasing the failure rate of full-time entrepreneurs. I mean, the money spent on an undergraduate degree these days is so big that if it was invested as seed-money for any startup, the lessons learnt from failure would teach that person much more than any entrepreneur programs currently do!