Can entrepreneurship be taught? St Agatha’s Catholic Primary School thinks so and is introducing a new entrepreneurship class at the Clayfield school.
The class teaches kids as young as Grade 4 about the mindset and skills required to be the next Melanie Perkins or Elon Musk.
Children from grade four, five and six are participating and more than 70 per cent of St Agatha’s students taking part are girls. Through hands on activities and challenges, the entrepreneurship class focuses on how to embrace the mindset of an entrepreneur and the essential skill set, which includes teamwork, idea generation, opportunity analysis, market research, prototyping and pitching/public speaking. External coaches from First Pivot run the class.
Principal of St Agatha’s Anne-Marie Maw said was thrilled to be introducing an entrepreneurship class and providing students with the opportunity to learn about business, financial literacy, growth mindset and collaboration through fun and thought-provoking activities.
“I have been so impressed with the program and the students’ engagement each week. Using hands on learning has developed each student’s persistence, resilience and reflective thinking skills as they have a go, try again and debrief on what worked and what didn’t.
“The skills students are learning through entrepreneurship are skills for life. Students are also inspired by their peers and the stories of entrepreneurs from around the globe to be brave, create, go out and change in our world.
“Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to dream, create, build confidence, work collaboratively and see the possibilities. We are schooling the next generation of engineers, business owners, doctors, inventors, bankers and teachers.”
First Pivot CEO Jim Schuman said successful entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting companies; it is a set of skills and a way of thinking.
“Entrepreneurs see opportunity everywhere – a problem or challenge is an opportunity to help people - and the fundamental mindset and skills can most certainly be taught,” said Jim.
“Children have a massive advantage too. In adulthood, we often tend to over plan our way towards a solution – whereas children just start doing straight away when presented with a challenge or problem, and this is really the ideal approach because the best entrepreneurs start making as soon as possible.”
“It’s this unique combination of mindset and skills which makes this class unlike anything else we’ve seen yet in Aussie schools. You can develop the mindset – aspects like curiosity, courage, persistence, opportunity and adaptability – but without the skills the mindset won’t take you far.”
Jim said Australia is lucky as the entrepreneurial spirit in the country is strong, ranking it sixth in the world for start-up business rates.
“This is certainly something we want to continue to see in the next generation and why we’re working so hard with schools like St Agatha’s to ensure we don’t leave it to chance.
“Australia’s entrepreneurship culture has powered our economy and will be needed to help us through the economic and social challenges that the global pandemic has introduced. The government has invested heavily to support business ideas for adults. We believe it is equally as important for us to support and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth. Planting the seeds and nurturing this next generation of entrepreneurs supports both their future and ours.
“We get students to keep an Ideas Journal, which is powerful tool for them to express themselves and their creativity. It will be very interesting to see what sort of ideas are captured throughout the term – who knows what sort of things these mini entrepreneurs might come up with!”