Teaching Entrepreneurial Thinking to Students
By Kyle Bylin
When I saw the job posting for Nice Corps, I applied because I wanted to teach entrepreneurship to high school students.
I had no idea what a typical day would look like or what the lesson plans might include. Nice Corps was a brand new program.
I only knew that I believed in the mission of teaching entrepreneurial thinking and creative ideation to high school students.
As a Nice Corps Fellow, part of my role involves onboarding schools to Nice Idea and supporting them throughout the program.
What excites me about Nice Idea is that any high school counselor or teacher can bring the entrepreneurship program to their students. It’s not limited to people who live in major cities or attend large schools.
Anyone can take the initiative and teach the material to their students.
Nice Idea is free, flexible, and functional.
Teachers can implement the program in whatever manner meets their needs. They can teach the four one-hour lessons daily or weekly.
Schools can also invite a Nice Corps Fellow to facilitate the lessons in person or remotely. We’ll visit your class and teach your students!
The Startup Mindset
I also love that Nice Idea doesn’t conform to Silicon Valley’s narrow view of technology entrepreneurship. It’s easy to buy into the myth that every great idea needs to be a website or an app and that you need to learn software programming skills or raise venture capital.
Starting up is both a mindset and a process.
You may be opening a coffee shop, creating a TikTok page, or ensuring that your classmates have school supplies. You don’t need to dream up the next Facebook, Tesla, or Snapchat to call yourself an entrepreneur.
All you need to do is develop the right mindset.
Find an opportunity that excites you, break it down into the smallest possible tasks, and start accomplishing them one by one.
Figure out who you’re building for, ask them for feedback, and iterate based on what they say. Entrepreneurial thinking and creative ideation empower students to learn by doing and to persist despite setbacks.
One Hundred Percent
In the classroom, you’re assigned homework and graded based on whether you gave the correct answer or appropriate response.
When you build an idea from scratch, you must give a hundred percent without knowing if you’re getting a hundred percent for a grade.
You must hold yourself to a standard and keep raising the bar higher and higher until you can barely achieve the desired outcome.
Perfect might be the enemy of good, but good isn’t always enough.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said: “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”
You never know what exposing students to new ways of thinking and doing can do for them. Maybe they will realize that they can solve wicked problems and become a force for change in the world, too.