The Idea: The New Economy will have an explosive need for critical entrepreneurial skills. Universities are not equipped or inclined to provide them. You can’t learn them just by reading a book. We need to create a whole new ‘channel’ for entrepreneurial education. Here’s how it might work.
When I wrote Natural Enterprise my principal goal was to ‘reinvent’ entrepreneurship as a venture that would allow people to make a living, easily, joyously, without significant cost, risk or stress, with people they love. We can feel it in our bones, and in our three million year old DNA, that that is how making a living should be. My secondary purpose was to fill a gap in both high school and university commerce/MBA programs — teaching students how to start and run their own business effectively. The professors and students I have spoken to have confirmed the views of the readers of How to Save the World that there is an acute need for this. Yet publishers tell me, and I respect their judgement, that Natural Enterprise is not sufficiently different from other books on entrepreneurship already out there. I have concluded therefore that the problem isn’t in the books on entrepreneurship, but rather on the way in which entrepreneurship is (and is not) taught.
That’s what I was getting at when I asked the question last week “How could we effectively teach online the critical skills that take a lot of practice and one-on-one coaching?” Your answers suggest the issue of teaching online is just the tip of the iceberg — teaching these skills period is an enormous challenge, and good books and software and online resources only get us part of the way there.
Almost all the successful entrepreneurs I know learned the essential skills on the job. What are the essential entrepreneurial skills? In my experience they are the ones depicted on the mindmap above. So what would be an effective process to impart those skills to the millions of people around the world who would be happier and more effective as entrepreneurs than as cogs in a large corporate machine?
Here’s the process I have suggested to several universities.
It’s at once a radical and a pragmatic approach, one that mimics as much as possible the learning that entrepreneurs get on the job. While the professors I have spoken to love it, the university executives higher up shudder at the thought of a curriculum with no classroom, no instructor and no lecturing. They find the concept threatening, and say it would be impossible to ‘sell’ to curriculum committees, which are, they confess, in the business of filling seats in their expensive real estate and defending the process of tenured experts lecturing as somehow a better way of imparting knowledge than letting students find things out for themselves. Rather than trying to change their minds, I have concluded that, since they have nothing to offer those who need entrepreneurial skills other than the ‘brand’ of the university, we’re better off finding a way to provide entrepreneurial education without them.
So here’s where you come in. Help me create a ‘business model’ for entrepreneurial education that meets these very difficult challenges:
The business model needs to show (ideally graphically) how students would enroll, how facilitators, consultants, coaches, and entrepreneurs would be brought together and compensated for their time, how the educational curriculum and standards for programs, consultants and coaches would be established and upheld, how we would promote the programs and keep them affordable, how the outreach to high schools would work, how we could establish facilities or programs where students could ‘practice’ etc. Any ideas you have on any of these issues would be very welcome. Another critical area where I could use your advice is Where to Start? We need to walk before we run. What would a pilot program look like and who might sponsor it?
Entrepreneurs face a deck stacked against them by large corporations with huge budgets, (in some industries) massive government subsidies, and politicians in their debt and at their beck and call. Large corporations buy cheap because they’re considered low-risk and buy in volume. They are often organized into oligopolies designed to raise entrance barriers to their industries. They are patenting everything in sight, thanks to government collusion in broadening intellectual property laws, and they have the resources to destroy entrepreneurs who even come close to patent infringement. The ‘service’ industries are largely disinterested in them: Banks find them expensive accounts to manage for the amounts involved, good consultants (not quite an oxymoron) are far more interested in the big corporations that can give them 7-figure contracts than mean-and-lean entrepreneurs. Most of the valuable help entrepreneurial CEOs get today comes from other entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs need to improve their critical entrepreneurial skills too, and would benefit as much from the curriculum I describe above as students aspiring to entrepreneurship. And, just to make matters worse, the global economy is teetering, wildly overextended by reckless spending and debt at all levels of the economy, with price bubbles everywhere, dependent on cheap foreign sources of resource supply (natural and human), and utterly unsustainable.
But while this may be enough to discourage most of us from becoming entrepreneurs, and accepting a life of wage slavery instead, the truth is that for almost everyone in the generations up and coming there will be no other choice. Large corporations are shedding jobs, not adding them, even as their profits grow. Governments are shedding jobs too. All of the net private sector employment growth of the past decade in North America has been entrepreneurial. The alternative to biting the entrepreneurial bullet — facing the obstacles in the previous paragraph, acquiring the critical entrepreneurial skills and making your own living — is unemployment.
As a result I think there will be a rapidly growing appetite for quality, practical entrepreneurial education. There’s a need here. Do we have what it takes to fill it?
Other Writers About CollapseAlbert Bates (US)
Andrew Nikiforuk (CA)
Carolyn Baker (US)*
Catherine Ingram (US)
Chris Hedges (US)
Dahr Jamail (US)
David Petraitis (US)
David Wallace-Wells (US)
Dean Spillane-Walker (US)*
Derrick Jensen (US)
Dmitry Orlov (US)
Doing It Ourselves (AU)
Dougald & Paul (UK)*
Gail Tverberg (US)
Guy McPherson (US)
Ilargi & Nicole (CA)*
Jan Wyllie (UK)
Janaia & Robin (US)*
Jem Bendell (US)
Jim Kunstler (US)
John Michael Greer (US)
Jonathan Franzen (US)
Kari McGregor (AU)
Keith Farnish (UK)
NTHE Love (UK)
Paul Chefurka (CA)
Paul Heft (US)*
Post Carbon Inst. (US)
Richard Heinberg (US)
Robert Jensen (US)
Roy Scranton (US)
Sam Mitchell (US)
Sam Rose (US)*
Tim Bennett (US)
Tim Garrett (US)
Umair Haque (US)
William Rees (CA)
Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 100 Posts --
Preparing for Civilization's End:
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
The Boiling Frog
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self:
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
My Other Sites
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.