Advances in technologies have generated a new wave of entrepreneurship, and this opportunity has inspired some technologically talented people to become entrepreneurs. While digital literacies and computer science education have attracted the attention and scrutiny from educators and policy makers, teaching youth entrepreneurship has been less frequently considered. A recent mixed-method study on youth entrepreneurship surveyed over a thousand young people across the United States and conducted interviews to provide important insight into this critical area of education for innovation.
The researchers examined how individual characteristics and environmental factors (e.g., entrepreneurial parents or mentors) and the interactions between these factors might shape each student's development in entrepreneurship. In addition, they wanted to gain a better understanding of the personal characteristics and skills that inspire students to become entrepreneurs and the experiences that could motivate them to choose those careers.
Preliminary findings show that intentional self-regulation factors such as selecting novel or challenging goals, being a self-starter, using innovative ways to optimize goal pursuit, and compensating for failure by using alternative means to reach goals are positively correlated with entrepreneurial intent in students.
As to the role of parents or adult mentors in preparing youth entrepreneurs, the qualitative interview findings confirmed the importance of this factor, while the quantitative survey data did not suggest it has an important role in youth entrepreneurship development. More investigation is needed to understand fully the influence of external motivators and mentors in youth entrepreneurship.
For educators and parents without entrepreneurial experience, this is not bad news: there are still ways they can help prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs by encouraging them to cultivate habits of self-regulation.
Geldhof, G. J., Porter, T., Weiner, M. B., Malin, H., Bronk, K. C., Agans, J. P., ... & Lerner, R. M. (2014). Fostering youth entrepreneurship: Preliminary findings from the Young Entrepreneurs Study. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(3), 431-446.
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