Did your student always sell the most Girl Scout cookies, or did they somehow always capture the attention of those driving by their intricate lemonade stand? If so, a career in entrepreneurship may be a great fit. Many teens today want to work for themselves and start their own businesses. However, starting a business in high school is not easy. Building a successful business takes leadership, determination, creativity, and a lot of hard work. Through business-oriented, career readiness education, high school students can prepare themselves to become successful entrepreneurs before graduation.
Job Profile: Entrepreneur
What does an entrepreneur do exactly? Ask 1,000 entrepreneurs, and you'll get 1,000 different answers. Many entrepreneurs take the title of chief executive officer, president, or founder of their businesses. As unique as their ventures, entrepreneurs tend to pave their own way into business. Some are profit-driven and seek the next great business plan. Some are inventors and want to share their products with the world. But all entrepreneurs must lead the charge for their business.
For entrepreneurs starting a business, the work can be vast. From business plans to finding investors and creating a product, entrepreneurs have their work cut out for them—whether that's solo or with a team. To achieve their business goals, entrepreneurs may be responsible for:
- Business planning and strategizing to grow business
- Sales and investor relations to gain funding and revenue for the business
- Accounting to manage finances, including payroll, expenses, taxes, and revenue
- Marketing to establish a unique brand and attract customers
- Project management to carry out operations
Students who dream of being entrepreneurs may be on the fence about college. Many famous and lucrative entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, have set the precedent that success does not require a college degree. According to a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, more than half of small business owners today do not have a college degree. While anyone can start a business, an education in business administration can help lay a strong foundation.
Learning Business with Stride Career Prep
Imagine an entrepreneur's closet, and you're likely not thinking of a row of black suits. Instead, you might imagine Steve Jobs in his turtle neck or Mark Zuckerberg in a hoodie. Entrepreneurs break the mold of business at every level.
The Stride Career Prep program modernizes career readiness education. Students learn in virtual classrooms, choose pathways that interest them, and gain real-world experience.
Your student's path to becoming an entrepreneur will be unique. By exploring their options in high school, your student can understand how to pursue entrepreneurship leading with their strengths. For instance, students who enjoy art or writing may dive deeper into marketing. Math-whizzes may focus more on finance or accounting. This can shape their approach to starting a business.
To start any Business pathway, all students take Business and Marketing Explorations, a project-based learning course. With so many approaches to entrepreneurship, this class is the perfect way to uncover which might be a good fit. Through long-term group projects, students gain a hands-on perspective on different pathways. From finance to marketing, this course helps students understand their strengths and decide what they'd like to focus on. After completing this course, students can choose a Business pathway, such as:
- Administrative Support
- Business Finance
- General Management
- Hospitality: Food and Beverage
- Marketing Communication
Technical Skills for Entrepreneurs
An entrepreneur without an actual business isn't much of an entrepreneur. Learning some technical skills will be necessary to transform an idea into a business. There are a number of technical skills that make a business successful—from creating a business plan to balancing a budget.
The Stride Career Prep Entrepreneurship pathway includes the course Entrepreneurship 1, which teaches technical basics like:
- Developing new business ideas
- Attracting investors
- Understanding economic principles
- Marketing their business
- Managing expenses
Professional Skills for Entrepreneurs
While students may already have some aptitude for crunching numbers or marketing a product, some skills come through experience. Professional skills help entrepreneurs maintain relationships with investors, coworkers, and their customers so that their business can thrive.
But how can students learn these skills in a classroom or textbook? Through project-based learning, classes simulate real-world problems so students can learn real-world solutions. This gives them experience most students don't earn until their first job. Through long-term, collaborative projects, Business pathway students learn:
- Strong leadership to motivate team members
- Clear communication to keep projects moving forward
- Productive collaboration to accomplish a shared goal
- Critical thinking to solve complex problems
These skills become even more valuable when done virtually. It's commonplace for every business to have a website and social media. With this new digital "storefront," where businesses must communicate with customers, having experience in digital communication is a must. Behind the scenes, companies are conducting business virtually as well. Video conferences, email threads, and sharing digital documents is everyday work for modern business. While most people must learn these skills on the job, students learn them by simply attending class.
Extracurriculars for Business Students
Clubs don't end after high school. From networking groups to business associations, getting involved in the community is a part of doing business. Students in a Business pathway can make this involvement part of their routine with career clubs and Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). Through organizations like DECA or Future Business Leaders of America, students get into the habit of connecting with other entrepreneurs. Together, students work to grow their skills through community service projects and competitions.
With Stride Career Prep, students gain work-based experiences both in and out of the classroom. Project-based learning gives students a chance to learn skills through hands-on assignments. Students can take a peek at how industry experts handle these projects. Through platforms like Nepris, real-world entrepreneurs join class sessions to share their insights with students. Students ready to get to work can apply for internships, apprenticeships, or even job shadow. These experiences help bring classroom lessons to life, so students gain a deeper understanding.
Exploring Entrepreneurship with Stride Career Prep
Whoever coined the term "time is money" must have been an entrepreneur. The path to creating a successful business is long. By starting your student early on their career path, they can reach their goals sooner. The Stride Career Prep program embraces entrepreneurial spirits and nurtures their skills. Through the Entrepreneurship pathway, your high school student can gain real-world business experience and feel empowered in the next step in their ventures.
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