Can Entrepreneurship Education Keep Up with Entrepreneurship?
That was the title of a panel-based session I participated in yesterday at the annual conference of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. Along with my co-panelists – Troy Henikoff of Excelerate Labs, Ameet Mehta of Azadi Pads, and Chris Motley of Better Weekdays – we explored the following questions in a spirited discussion with the audience.
- How relevant are today’s entrepreneurship programs and curricula?
- Has the practice of entrepreneurship sped past the teaching of it?
- As educators and institutions, are we stuck in the past?
- How much do business plans (and competitions) matter today?
- What can “old school” entrepreneurs teach the new generation?
- How will the “tsunami” of education reform affect entrepreneurship?
These are ideas for which I have developed very strong convictions. From my decade-long experience at DePaul University, which has a legacy in entrepreneurship education, I’ve witnessed first-hand the progress and development of an individual program. Along the way, I became keenly aware of (and sometimes obsessed with) seeing how other programs were, or were not, developing.
By mashing up those factors with the innumerable trends and developments impacting startups in recent years (flatter world, social networking, great recession, mobile devices, sharing economy, lean startup, accelerators, etc.), I’ve reached a point where I believe entrepreneurship education has fallen behind the “real world”.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to dive into the questions above through a series of posts. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear what you think given your own experiences as entrepreneurship students, alumni, or faculty, and especially your experiences as entrepreneurs.