Teaching Entrepreneurship


Last week dozens of educators, entrepreneurs and civic leaders gathered for brainstorming session hosted by NOCHE to explore how the region could do more to develop and educate entrepreneurs. I meant to write about the conversation last week, but got distracted by other matters. Jack Ricchiuto led the conversation and emphasized the need to start some small experiments. As he noted, every big deal started out as a small experiment.

Participants identified several small experiments that could get rolling, including:

  • Introducing more entrepreneurship curriculum into middle school and high schools as is being done at E-Prep.
  • Creating internships for faculty at early stage companies.
  • Offer field trips to the Youngstown Business Incubator and other NEOinc incubators.

NOCHE will be highlighting some of these ideas and many others in the future and I will provide a link to a more detailed report on this effort as soon as it’s available.

What do you think needs to be done for the region to do a better job of teaching entrepreneurship?

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# Submitted by Carole Cohen (not verified) on Wed, 10/31/2007 – 14:44.

Your post sounds forward thinking, and the link to ePREP school sent me to their site. I have a few questions. (And yes I love the idea of inserting entreprenuerial curriculum ideas into a young student’s daily life).

They have a page on their site that indicates they have improved efficiencies in Math and Reading. Can someone interpret? Did they go from 7% to 75% in Reading? Here is what they say:

An incredible feat: E PREP, in its very first year, has attained a Continuous Improvement Rating from the State of OHIO. Long hours, hard work, high expectations, and a relentless belief that all children can learn and go to college…

Has yielded exceptional results:

7% to 75% proficient in Reading
12% to 62% proficient in Math
And Continuous Improvement.

Improvement is wonderful and if it’s that kind of incredible improvement it’s wonderful indeed.

# Submitted by Mike Shafarenko on Sun, 11/04/2007 – 14:24.

1. Teach students how to think critically, not merely regurgitate known information. Present them with problems that do not have exact answers.
2. Emphasize statistical analysis, through the means of proper data collection and data analysis. For example, when it gets cold in Northeast Ohio, more people stay indoors. Would a business focused on home-dwellers succeed? What kind of business would it be? A proper study of home-dwellers spending habits from the months of November – May, and the statistical correlations therein, would be a good start. I bet some local eateries would really appreciate it too. I wonder what Mitchell’s Ice Cream does in the winter . . .
3. To that effect, have local businesses present regional students with their business problems. My idea would be to have an RFP process, wherein businesses would type up a problem and the student team that provides the best synopsis and plan for a solution would have the opportunity to work on it (maybe for some cash? It would be cheaper than a McKinsey plan!). A local company has the right idea, though it’s not specific to students: http://www.ninesigma.com/ – – – **Side note: I remember talking to this company’s owner, Paul Stiros, and he said it was very difficult to get companies from Northeast Ohio on board with NineSigma’s offerings. Hmm . . . .
4. Entrepreneurship starts with the definition of a “need” or a growing trend. Encourage students to look for needs and trends in their own lives. See www.trendwatching.com
5. Give students hope that their passions can be achieved and give them the tools to achieve those passions. The moment someone kills a young person’s passion, is the moment an entrepreneurial spirit dies. If you’ve ever met John Zitzner, co-founder of E-Prep, you know what it means to give support, encouragement, and hope.

Ideas 6 – 1000 to come later.

# Submitted by William Holdipp Jr (not verified) on Thu, 11/08/2007 – 11:37.

I was fortunate to be a participant at the NOCHE event. I enjoyed meeting representatives from some of the many college/universities that are working on putting together an entrepreneurship strategy. I learn a lot from the attendees and I was able to share some information with the attendees concerning entrepreneurship in the minority communities.

One thing I would like to see is more experienced entrepreneurs heading up these entrepreneurial initiatives. It is hard to understand what is going on in the minds of entrepreneurs if you have never been in their shoes.


# Submitted by Greg Malkin (not verified) on Thu, 11/08/2007 – 11:44.

I wholeheartedly support the importance of teaching entrepreneurship. And the younger we start, the more impact we can have. Here at University School, a private boys school on the East side of Cleveland, we have started an Entrepreneur Institute. Our activities include:
– Full-year elective class in entrepreneurship
– Business plan competition
– Joint summer BizCamp with ECity
– Guest Speaker Series
– Summer Internship program
– Junior Achievement’s Titan business simulation competition
– Scholarship for Entrepreneurial Engagement (SEE) business plan competition

The response from the students has been overwhelming. Entrepreneurship seems more “real” to the students. It helps answer the perennial question – When will I ever use this in real life?

I would love to connect our business program with other programs in Cleveland-area high schools. I believe that the more we can connect teenagers to other teenagers interested in business, the more engagement we will be able to generate.

Greg Malkin
Entrepreneurship Teacher
University School

# Submitted by Halley (not verified) on Fri, 11/09/2007 – 17:48.

Anyone who would like to join the conversation or see details from the event can do so online at:

password: noche07

Author: advance759