Until a couple of weeks ago, my perception of entrepreneurship was somewhat limited. In my mind, entrepreneurship is innovation related to creating and adapting businesses, providing value in the form of goods and services. Entrepreneurs tend to be creative problem solvers who are driven and who recognize opportunities. They don’t always succeed the first time, but they learn, adapt, and persist as they pursue their goals. What I had not previously considered is how this mindset might contribute to success outside of a business model, in the context of studies, work, and life.
At the recent NISOD conference I had the opportunity to attend a session presented by Bree Langemo, President of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) and Rebecca Corbin, President & CEO of National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) entitled An Entrepreneurial Mindset: Advancing Student Success in the Classroom and onCampus. The presenters compared the skills and characteristics of entrepreneurs with 21st century skills essential to success in the workplace. Some of these aptitudes include problem-solving, creativity, curiosity, persistence, adaptability, and awareness. In our own consultation with employers, there is consistent expression that these aptitudes are expected as graduates enter the workplace.
The experience that ELI has had in cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset has not only prepared students for the workplace, but has increased student achievement by instilling confidence, efficacy, and determination by providing tools for problem solving to overcome challenges (Schoeniger & Langemo, 2016). I am particularly inspired by the potential of empowering students to not only reach for their goals, but to actively pursue them with confidence and determination.
In further researching an entrepreneurial mindset, I came across the term motivated tactician. This term resonates with me as it implies action and describes an engaged thinker who considers strategies and takes action based on goals, motives, and needs (Haynie, Shepard, Mosakowski, & Early, 2010). Of course this applies to the context of business, but in a broader sense applies to the context of life.
In the business context of entrepreneurship, we have all benefited from the value that various entrepreneurs have provided through goods and services. Entrepreneurship has been around me, however I haven't always considered it as a part of me. As I now reflect on the entrepreneurial mindset as a way of discovering opportunities with curiosity and determination, while connecting with others, it is clearly a means to contribute value to life and the lives around us. I am inspired to further explore the entrepreneurial mindset and it’s potential to contribute to student success within college and beyond. Afterall, it's not just about business....it's about life.
Haynie, J. M., Shepherd, D., Mosakowski, E., & Earley, P. C. (2010). A situated metacognitive model of the entrepreneurial mindset. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(2), 217–229. doi:10.1016/j.jbusvent.2008.10.001
Schoeniger, G, Langemo, B.(2016, May), An entrepreneurial mindset for student success. The NISOD Papers, 3, 1-4.