Entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action and is, therefore, a KEY COMPETENCE FOR EVERYONE, helping students to be more creative and self- confident.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship is not just about starting your own business. It is certainly that, but it is also much more. Entrepreneurship influences student competency and employability and has implications across society and the economy.

In order to be an entrepreneur one must think like an entrepreneur. What does that mean? It means understanding how to recognize opportunity, how to properly assess the opportunity and to know when to act on it – or not. It also means understanding risk mitigation, managing one’s own creativity, using and managing social networks, finding and leveraging resources, and managing people and money. Skills like these can be used in any work environment be it corporate, family business, government, startups, developed or developing cities, states, or countries. These are skills every student should learn now. These are the skills in demand at almost every company in the world, and these are the skills all of us will need to be economically successful in the 21st-century.

This is why the goal of making the entrepreneurial mindset a key competency for every student can and should become a reality at TCU. The good news is there are already 29 non-business professors at TCU (the TCU Coleman Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellows) integrating the entrepreneurial mindset into their courses through the lens of their respective disciplines. Research on the impact of this program, conducted here at TCU by doctoral students in education, clearly shows an overwhelming majority of TCU students are interested in some form of entrepreneurial education. Let me share a few of the study’s results.

To the research statement, “I would like to take courses in my program leading to a certificate in entrepreneurial thinking and practice as an addition to my degree.” Seventy-eight percent (78%) “strongly agreed” or “agreed.”

To the research statement, “I believe entrepreneurial thinking will be more important to my success than at least one of the courses I’m currently required to take in my degree plan” Ninety percent (90%) “strongly agreed” or “agreed.”

Finally, to the research statement, “It is important that students learn to think entrepreneurially for success after graduation.” Ninety percent (90%) “strongly agreed” or “agreed.”

In the researchers’ final “Recommendations” they stated: “Given the emerging and evolved concept of entrepreneurship in today’s society, it is imperative that we prepare our university students to enter the workforce with the skills needed to be successful in a changing business world. A more ephemeral idea of ‘work’ is continuing to rise in prominence and thus, our university graduates need to be flexible, creative, and generally self-reliant and self-sufficient to maintain a consistent level of success in the current work environment.”

We can expand this program to every TCU student if we embark on a strategy designed to 1) combine formal and experiential learning, 2) develop more flexible curricula and payment structures to accommodate student and staff mobility, multi/inter-disciplinary and co-teaching, and 3) enhance university-student-employer collaboration in innovation, interdisciplinary and knowledge transfer (in many forms – university to faculty, faculty to university, faculty to students, students to faculty, faculty to business and business to faculty, etc.).

These strategic objectives are needed because entrepreneurship is not sufficiently integrated in higher education curricula. Available data shows the majority
of entrepreneurship courses are offered in business and economic studies. Moreover, it is questionable whether Business Schools are the most appropriate place to teach entrepreneurship: innovative and viable business ideas are more likely to arise from technical, scientific and creative studies (European Commission). So the real challenges
are to build inter-disciplinary approaches, to make entrepreneurship education accessible to all students, to create teams for the development and exploitation of business ideas, and to mix students from economic and business studies with students from other disciplines.

Based on the findings from our study and the changing global reality that our students face, there is real need to embed creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and entrepreneurship into education. Competencies in these areas will be crucial to economic survival in the 21st-century. There is a need to stimulate the entrepreneurial mindsets
of students and to create a more favorable societal climate for entrepreneurial thinking and for the values of transparency, authenticity, diversity, and inclusiveness, all of which are in complete alignment with TCU’s Global objectives.

Work Cited

Gibcus, Petra et al. Effects and Impact of Entrepreneurship Programmes In Higher Education. Brussels: European Commission. 2012. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/promoting-entrepreneurship/files/education/effects_impact_high_edu_final_report_en.pdf


Michael SherrodThis article was written by Michael Sherrod, Department of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership, for the Fall 2015 Issue of Insights.