“Entrepreneurship is like a religion for you, or a cult”, I was recently told. And since it is really a bit of my religion I wasn’t sure if this was meant as a complement or an insult. I decided it’s a complement and I am all for missionary activities.
One of my favorite missionary activities is The Global Entrepreneurship Week, referred to as GEW and titled “Unleashing Ideas”. The next one is happening in just less than 6 months, November 12, 2012.
I intend to be ready for it with my contribution titled “The Entrepreneurship Challenge for High Schools”.
The GEW was started in 2007, by 37 countries, of which only 18 were hosts to entrepreneurship activities. A year later about 3 million people took part in the GEW events at 77 countries. It’s been growing ever since. Activities are directed at promoting entrepreneurship and bringing it to all populations, including rural, remote and to those sectors which do not excel in daring like, embarrassed to say, women.
At about the same time the GEW has started, I began working on an idea to establish an elementary school for entrepreneurship. I started with thinking of our neighborhood school. The idea was not to replace the curriculum, which is not really possible, but rather to access the curriculum through the entrepreneurship way of life, this mode of thinking. Unfortunately the idea could not take off here, despite real enthusiasm by the city’s education department, due to frequent management changes at the school. In the years that have passed my youngest left this school in favor of our city’s Waldorf Education School. My older son is now graduating this elementary school, and will be going to the Thelma Yellin National Arts High School next year. And as my first born is now graduating high school I began looking at high schools as another good target for my missionary activities. And so the High Schools Entrepreneurship Challenge is born.
During the coming Global Entrepreneurship Week I will present diversified challenges that can only be solved using entrepreneurial thinking and doing to high school students. Those students will have to build teams to take on the challenge of their choice. Each challenge will have a mentor or advisor to guide the young entrepreneurial team through. They will have 3 months to work out their solution and by February 2013 will present their suggested solution, demo, and prototype or business plan.
Don’t you think it’s a better method to appreciate learning than PISA???
To make it happen, I need your help. I need people who are willing to join me and start by collecting problems, wishes, hopes, dreams and, well – challenges, from all sectors – private and public, government (local\national\global), health, arts, sports, hi tech, low tech, agriculture, environment and social, transportation, security, education, games and entertainment – in short – all sectors that can contribute ideas or challenges. Better collect those challenges with mentors, but I will need volunteer mentors as well. So if you are a developer, business men, investor, lecturer, researcher, activist – a person who is a doer – you can become a mentor.
I intend to introduce the challenges to participating high schools in November 2012. If you are connected to any high school, anywhere in the world, that wants to demonstrate its students’ abilities and achievements – make sure they are listed as a participating high school and that the school representative contacts me.
Students will be able to browse the challenges online and teams can apply to take on a challenge independent of their high schools too. But I much rather have schools and lots of students participating. The bigger the networking around it is – the better.
By February 2013 all suggested solutions will be presented (even if they’re half baked). Any team with a feasible solution is a winner. Well, as a religious fanatic I can say, every participant really is a winner.
I am still unsure about what to do after that. Some solutions might be interesting enough for the industry to choose to continue working on, in collaboration with the students. Some would be pursued by the student teams themselves. I am pretty sure I don’t want to announce “winners”. Though “outstanding” would probably be evident. The real world would know which solutions are winning. I would like, however, to announce winning schools – those will be chosen based on number of participants in the challenge and demonstrating original thought and application abilities.
What do you think? I’m open to suggestions.