The importance of promoting entrepreneurship in education
Encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit, at all levels of education, is, in my opinion, vital. In fact, I believe that the earlier we start talking to youth about entrepreneurship, the more inclined they will be to undertake their own projects in the future.
What do such initiatives look like in the educational context? Entrepreneurship can be developed in a multitude of ways: company visits based on students’ areas of interest, seminars given by successful entrepreneurs who started from scratch, participation in entrepreneurship events, teaming up with experienced entrepreneurs, or even encouraging students to take part in networking events.
The positive spinoffs of being introduced to entrepreneurship while in school cannot be overstated. First and foremost, these experiences contribute to our future society. In fact, I’m convinced that encouraging young students to be entrepreneurial increases their academic motivation and inspires them to start their own projects. Take, for example, the first company I launched one year before I began CEGEP. Being profoundly deaf in both ears, I sometimes found school challenging. I quickly discovered that I learned faster through experiences, trial and error. During my school years, I was also fortunate enough to have a mentor, thanks to Academos. These extracurricular experiences enabled me to complete my college studies. I am certain that without them, I would have been less motivated to graduate.
Of course, these initiatives do not necessarily guarantee that the students will become entrepreneurs or even intrapreneurs. However, they will make youth aware of the importance of their actions and choices, and empower them to make the best career choice for them. On the practical side, the kids will also have been exposed to different examples they can refer to in advancing their own future projects.
Today, a number of these types of programs and projects exist at all educational levels, including notably:
- La grande journée des petits entrepreneurs, a one-day entrepreneurship experience for children ages 5 to 12;
- The Camp Entrepreneurs en Devenir de l’École d’entrepreneurship de Beauce, summer camp for youth ages 15 to 18;
- The Valoris project, whose mission is to encourage entrepreneurial projects in Québec’s elementary and secondary schools in disadvantaged areas;
- Glambition Québec and Montréal, an entrepreneurship convention for young women ages 15 to 17;
- l’Association des clubs entrepreneurs étudiants du Québec (ACEE), the Québec association of student entrepreneur clubs;
- Junior Achievement Quebec (JAQ);
- The Entrepreneuriat-études program offered at Cégep Limoilou.
- Entrepreneuriat Laval, which supports budding entrepreneurs at Université Laval.
The key is not to force our youth to become entrepreneurs but to expose them to all possible options, so that they can decide their futures for themselves.
Now it’s your turn to have your say. Did you ever participate in any programs during your school years that helped you develop as an entrepreneur? What did you learn from these programs?