Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Mindset

In their article, “Defining and Assessing Entrepreneurial Mindset”,”Dr. Gary Litchstein, PhD. and Dr. Sarah Zapp, PhD. identified the five most commonly mentioned attributes of an entrepreneur. These attributes are:

*risk taking,
*perseverance, and
*independence/limited structure.

How can we nurture middle and high school students to develop these five attributes and inspire them to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset? After spending the last six weeks with the youth in the GENERATION2050 Summer Youth Enrichment Program, I believe I have learned a few things about developing these attributes:

1. Encourage trying something new.

We provided a number of opportunities to take risks and try something new.  One completely new experience our students had was learning about urban beekeeping and working with honeybees.  Over the course of five weeks of classes, fifteen of our students passed a written and practical beekeeping exam.  They were then able to assist Michele and I in our monthly hive inspections.


2. Start a mindfulness practice.

We partnered with Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine NeighborhoodHELP program to provide mindfulness practice training.  Students learned a number of mindfulness practices including mindful eating, the “drop-in” meditation, and how to practice gratitude.  In addition, they learned the basics of brain development in teens. A number of our students noted mindfulness practice as their most important class this summer because they learned how their brain works and how to : 1) focus on the present and 2) focus on the task at hand.


3.  Provide challenging learning opportunities.

Our core curriculum for the summer was the The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s Biz Camp Curriculum. Our students learned how to develop a business idea, conduct market research, identify potential competition, establish a pricing structure for their product or service, describe how their business would be socially responsible, and develop a 30 second elevator speech, as well as other important business concepts.

4.  Engage all the senses.

Listening to a lecture is not always an effective learning style for all students. So, we provided instruction in multiple learning environments, utilizing all of the senses. During Foodie Fridays, students learned to prepare nutritious meals from scratch with Master Chefs, Donna Caudill and Grace Low. Last Friday, the GENERATION2050 Boomers Team created a mediterranean inspired meal of hummus, tzatziki sauce, baba ganoush, Greek salad, chicken shish kebobs, roasted potatoes, and lemon cupcakes.

We worked with our hands in the urban garden, planting new crops of vegetables, identifying insect pests and implementing natural pest control methods, and enriching the soil with nutrients.

Finally, we did not ignore the importance of physical fitness. Three days a week, we participated in diverse exercise styles with certified instructors. The students especially enjoyed Zumba class with Fit Sisters Miami. Take a look at this routine the kids learned at the end of Zumba class last Friday:

I believe this set of diverse activities and experiences provided GENERATION2050 participants with catalysts to ignite development of the attributes of an entrepreneurial mindset.

(Photo credits: Deon Gedeon, Linda Freeman, and video by Dilcia Muñoz, Miami, Florida, July 2017.)

About Linda Freeman

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Linda Pulley Freeman combines her specialized training in environmental and chemical engineering with her deep ministerial commitment as she serves mission fields at home and abroad.

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