With Brad Dennis
In today’s ever-changing world, fostering entrepreneurship throughout your child’s education is vital. While an entrepreneurial education builds valuable skills — such as collaboration, data analysis and presentation skills — it also gives students an even more valuable tool for the future: Resilience.
As a Battle Ground Academy (BGA) graduate and a long-time faculty member, I’ve seen the value of an entrepreneurship-based curriculum firsthand. Entrepreneurship and inquiry-based learning are the foundation of the BGA experience. Since 2015, we’ve offered the Entrepreneurial Leadership (EL) Program, the nation’s first four-year, secondary school entrepreneurship program, as a concentration. As the new director of the EL program, I’ve seen students develop core competencies such as problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and other valuable skills that will serve them well in the future.
But the value goes deeper than that.
Through the hands-on, experiential opportunities that an entrepreneurship-based curriculum provides, students learn that they can find creative solutions to real-world problems. There are no right or wrong answers, and when students are set free from those constraints, they find the freedom to be resilient, creative and innovative — skills they’ll need to make our world a better place.
Experiential learning gives students confidence and empowers them. At BGA, our students come into the classroom knowing that they have a task at hand, such as real-life critical questions they’re seeking to answer with a local entrepreneur or projects that allow them to create content or ideas our corporate partners may use in real-world campaigns. By fostering entrepreneurship principles throughout our curriculum, our students get the opportunity to dive into the subject matter and engage with it on a deeper level—in a way they never could through case studies or examples alone.
In addition, an entrepreneurial approach to education also produces innovators and leaders who are well prepared to face the future, whatever it may hold. You can find numerous articles about the jobs of the future, but we don’t really know what those jobs are going to look like. While helping students build skills they’ll undoubtedly need in the future, an entrepreneurship-based education also provides students with a framework with which to view their work.
To become valuable contributors in our ever-evolving community, students need to develop entrepreneurial approaches they can apply no matter what problem they’re trying to solve. These include:
Idea Creation: Developing an idea or finding a solution that answers a need, question or a better way of doing something. This value also exposes students to the design process.
Value Creation: Creating something that benefits society. The benefit to society can be emotional, social or physical and may range across a variety of fields, from ecology to mental health and anything in between. This value helps students to recognize that a problem society is facing can also be an opportunity.
Venture Creation: The process of turning your idea into a business. BGA really excels in this area through our capstone course, during which students design and pitch an idea for their own company.
More than anything, an educational approach that fosters entrepreneurship creates a safe environment for students to take risks and find innovative solutions that will make a difference in the future. While we may not know exactly what life will look like in the future or the problems our society will face, we know it’s in good hands with the young entrepreneurs we’re shaping at BGA.
BGA’s EL program will be hosting the next event in the BGA Ignite series (previously called symposiums) on November 17th from 9:45-11:15am. Focused on the impact of venture capital in Nashville, the event will feature a panel of well-known Nashville venture capitalists and is open to the public. For more information or to register, visit battlegroundacademy.org/EL.