I’m glad to report that overall, our pedagogical approach to teaching entrepreneurship at Sprott School of Business (Carleton University) is working well and bearing fruit. Students are excited and engaged. They are creative, resilient, collaborative and motivated to work hard and succeed. Lots of enthusiasm and energy too!
I have to admit that I was a bit weary of introducing a lot of new business approaches to teaching entrepreneurship but it turned out to be a very good move. We want our students to ‘live’ an entrepreneurship experience, not only ‘learn’ about it. We obviously do not expect all students to start their own company while still in school (but some do and are quite successful at it!). Essentially, the expected end game of our entrepreneurship offering is for students to either own a high-growth startup within three years after completing their bachelor degree, or to work for a startup or an organization that fosters entrepreneurship.
I’ve been teaching three entrepreneurship courses this academic year, all essentially revamped from previous years or new. Within our entrepreneurship programs, we have ensured a logical path and have aligned content across our entrepreneurship offering so that students can progress from ideation to business creation and implementation. We have capitalized on new business thinking and methods – ideation, business model generation, value proposition, early validation – using material from Steve Blank, Bob Dorf, Eric Ries, Osterwalder & Pigneur and many others. We are using a blended learning environment, making learning an individual as well as a collaborative learning experience. Our assignments are part and parcel of the development and implementation of their business opportunities. We have also offered high quality workshops from people in the trenches, and have mobilized our entrepreneurship ecosystem, within and outside of Carleton University, to support our student entrepreneurs. Our brand new Carleton Accelerator is now up and running and we are celebrating successes!
Peer-to-peer learning is an important aspect of our entrepreneurship pedagogy. That last aspect in fact never ceases to amaze me…. students are really willing to help each other out and share their best practices, insights and lessons learned. So on this last note, I’ve asked my students to share their reflection on successes and setbacks in developing their business opportunity. This is not a superficial reflection but rather an in-depth coverage of the challenges and successes in applying what they have learned in this course (and previous entrepreneurship courses) to their business opportunity. Essentially a ‘memoir’ of sort for the next generation of student entrepreneurs.
I am looking forward to reading their reports!
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