Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Nurturing Social Entrepreneurship and Building Social Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy: Focusing on Primary and Secondary Schooling to Develop Future Social Entrepreneurs

Nurturing Social Entrepreneurship and Building Social Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy: Focusing on Primary and Secondary Schooling to Develop Future Social Entrepreneurs

Nareatha Studdard, Alabama A&M University, USA
Maurice Dawson, University of Missouri – St. Louis, USA
Sharon L. Burton, Florida Institute of Technology, USA
Naporshia Jackson, Alabama A&M University, USA
Brian Leonard, Alabama A&M University, USA
William Quisenberry, Swiss Management Center University, Switzerland
Emad Rahim, Bellevue University, USA

For the development of social entrepreneurs it is imperative that educators embrace the concepts and process of social entrepreneurship (Dees, 1998). Exploration of these concepts in education could prove beneficial to the community (Haugh, 2005). This chapter focuses on the positives of introducing social entrepreneurship education at the primary and secondary levels of education. Specifically, its central focus deals with building children’s entrepreneurial self-efficacy at a young age. Several benefits, of increasing self-efficacy at a young age, are outlined. Benefits, such as entrepreneurship training, not only training students, but it helps to prepare them for the new knowledge-based economy. Further, entrepreneurship education should help increase the success and survival rates of women and minority entrepreneurs. Essential to this process, a new curriculum needs to be devised including its means of assessment. Lastly barriers to an entrepreneurship program are discussed; this includes financial, legal, political and negative perceptions of entrepreneurship education.

Entrepreneurship education, exists under ‘social enterprise’; it is often taught and researched at the university level (Studdard, Dawson, & Jackson, 2013). The social entrepreneurship definition utilized in this study is behaviors developed by individuals or groups of people to generate, maintain, dispense and/or disseminate social or environmental worth in ground-breaking ways through enterprise operations in their societies (Granados, Hlupic,Coakes & Mohamed 2011, 198). Social enterprise was forged by the Harvard Business School in 1993 (HBS, n.d., para 1). Most academic and mainstream articles, when discussing entrepreneurship education, approach it from a post secondary education perspective (Bechard & Gregoire, 2005; Vanevenhoven, & Liguori, 2013; Volery, Müller, Oser, Naepflin, & Rey, 2013; Safranski, R. (2004). Limited articles discuss entrepreneurship education with the central focus placed on the primary and secondary levels of education. The articles that do, often examine entrepreneurship programs sponsored outside of the mainstream K-12 school environment. Organizations however, such as the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, have indicated that more instruction in entrepreneurship education needs to occur at the primary and secondary levels of education. The Kourilsky, & Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation,(1995) provided that a 1994 national Gallup poll showed that 7 out of 10 high school students desired a start-up business. Additionally, there is limited research regarding how social entrepreneurship training can be implemented into K-12 education. By implementing social entrepreneurship education programs into primary and secondary curricular, youth can be exposed to this unique form of entrepreneurship that has an increased focus on positive social change and community development.
Central to the purpose that limited research regarding how social entrepreneurship training can be implemented into K-12 education, this chapter explores the benefits of fostering social entrepreneurship at the primary and secondary school levels. Specifically, this chapter examines how entrepreneurship education contributes to a young person’s self-efficacy skills in preparation for future social entrepreneurial and/or other employment opportunities, in view of the changing nature of work in a global society. Finally, this chapter deals with the practical aspects of social entrepreneurial education. This practical perspective recognizes that social entrepreneurship education requires a more non-traditional method of teaching and that there may be financial, political, and/or perceptual barriers to offering entrepreneurship education in the K-12 environment.
Entrepreneurship contributes substantially to the local, national, and global economies. It is also the primary means of fostering economic development. (Gurley-Calvez, Biehl, & Harper, K. (2009). Recent mainstream publications have indicated that young people increasingly see entrepreneurship as a critically important mechanism to operate in today’s economy (Kourilsky, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Education, & 1995). Moreover, young people are looking at engaging in more entrepreneurial training programs and learning as much as possible about the entrepreneurial process (Bru, Thompson, & Marton, 2005; Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, 2013).
Statistics indicate that one-third of new entrepreneurs are younger than age 30 and more than 60% of 18-29 year olds state an interest in pursuing an entrepreneurial career (Kuratko, 2004). However, entrepreneurial training is offered primarily at the university level (Neck & Greene, 2011) and at times the training at the university level is lacking and only found in the business discipline (Neck & Greene, 2011;Kuratko, 2004). Additionally, there is limited emphasis on social entrepreneurship, which is a form of business that is not focused primarily upon profits, but instead on improving communities and impacting positive social change via the avenue enterprise. The data shows that if more entrepreneurship education was available, the education would assist in accelerating the rate of business ownerships, increase firms efficiencies (Edelman, Manolova, & Brush, 2008), support financial self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities (U S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy) and decrease the number of firm failures. By reducing failure rates, creating jobs, and economic growth, entrepreneurship directly impacts communities, decreasing poverty rates, unemployment, which can indirectly impact other aspects of society relating to crime, high school dropout rates, and more. By using this perspective, it is clear that if educators can improve the number of entrepreneurs and their sustainable success rates, these entrepreneurs will in turn have a positive impact on society and underserved communities, which according to (HBS, n.d.) is a distinct form of social enterprise.
Gurley-Calvez, Biehl, and Harper, K. (2009)Timmons and Spinelli (2009) and the U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. have discussed the significant impact of entrepreneurial education on an individual’s life other than its use solely in an entrepreneurial career/environment. The debate centers on whether thinking and acting like an entrepreneur may impact one’s broader work performance and life perspective. This debate could be especially relevant in view of the changing nature and scope of work from an industrial based economy to an economy driven by technology, contingent labor, information, and knowledge (DOL, 1999). With the primary nature of work no longer centered on the industrial revolution, today’s workers are more distinguished by knowledge oriented requirements rather than physical ability. Workers are no longer guaranteed long term employment with one company. Today, they encounter a more contingent workforce compared to past generations who depended on one or two sole employers to provide their main economic security (DOL, 1999). Currently, it is estimated that an individual will remain with their employer only 3-5 years (Bialik, 2010). In this new economy, temporary employment restrictions are profoundly increasing for workers (DOL, 1999). As such, with the changing nature of work, it is essential for individuals to possess entrepreneurial drive, determination, and initiative. Today’s workers must seek opportunities to enhance their creative skills and become more proactive rather than reactive to environmental changes. This proactive thinking can occur through planning proactively regarding future endeavors (Bullington 2012). Business leaders seek workers, in today’s market, with an entrepreneurial sprit; some of these corporations face increasing pressure in embracing an entrepreneurial culture (Kuratko, Ireland, & Hornsby, 2001Morris & Kuratko, 2002Zahra, Kuratko, & Jennings, 1999). Consequently, these business leaders seek to hire entrepreneurially minded employees (Morris & Kuratko, 2002).
Further, the same skill sets valued by entrepreneurs may also begin to assist those who pursue higher education goals. As the changing nature of work evolves and employers begin to insist that college graduates possess prescribed skill sets, higher education requirements will need to change to meet the demands of a changing work force environment. Moreover, the current K-12 system echoes remnants of the industrial revolution (Hess, 2007). However, due to the continuous development of a highly technically oriented workplace, implementation of a new education system will be required at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels (Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, 2013).
Entrepreneurship education involves building a variety of skill sets to include but is not limited to leadership (Vesper & McMullen, 1988), adaptability (Timmons & Spinelli, 2009), creativity (Timmons & Spinelli, 2009), perseverance (Markham, Baron, & Balkin, 2005), and financial literacy (Timmons & Spinelli, 2009). These skill sets are needed not only for entrepreneurs but also by those engaging in the new workforce. Entrepreneurship education has been found to improve student performance by demonstrating the relevance for learning and engaging them in the learning process (Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, 2013). Students perform better in school when engaged in interesting subjects or key subjects that lead to more ambitious careers and educational goals after school according to (Bandura, 1997).
Entrepreneurship programs exist at the secondary level (Frierson, & Lindahl, R. 2009). In addition, entrepreneurship development programs are held outside of the traditional school environment. For example, the Start Up America program, created by the White House focuses on encouraging and producing high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the United States (The Whitehouse; 2013). It involves entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders from the public and private sectors collaborating to create successful entrepreneurs in America (The Whitehouse; 2013). Specifically, one of its initiatives is the expansion of entrepreneurship education (The Whitwhouse; 2013). Programs such as this help to provide insight into how entrepreneurship training and development can contribute to improving the level of start-ups and sustainable entrepreneurial efforts within society. A similar model can be replicated that is geared towards improving the ability for social entrepreneurs to initiate efforts and thrive in today’s complex marketplace. Specifically, this model can be implemented into primary and secondary educational programs to contribute to improving student’s ability to engage in innovative thinking, analysis, and value creation that contributes to social development.
The Kauffman Foundation emphasizes education through its Kauffman Campuses’ initiative. The Foundation’s goal is to transform education by equipping students with essential entrepreneurial skills that will impact the national economy (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2014). Specifically, focus is placed on youth located primarily in urban areas with the foundation’s goal geared toward increasing student involvement in being entrepreneurial in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The programs offer students in urban areas with training and development in entrepreneurship, while encouraging them to focus their business efforts on improving their local communities, instead of contributing to the brain drain deficits that often impacts low-income areas (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2014). These programs contribute to minority youth having more self-confidence and self-efficacy regarding their abilities, due to the opportunities, support network, and resources that are provided through programs such as the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a program that focuses on instituting entrepreneurship education directly into schools (NFTE, 2013). NFTE is a non-profit organization that focuses on entrepreneurship education for at-risk students in low-income communities. Steve Mariotti, founder of NFTE and author of several entrepreneurship textbooks, believes that entrepreneurship is learned best during the early stages of a child’s life because their creativity is at its peak and their curiosity is endless (Mariotti, 2014). A partnership with Ernst & Young, LLP and NFTE sponsor young entrepreneurs to participate at the regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs Of the Year Award galas. The awards are designed to celebrate young entrepreneurs across the nation. NFTE has also helped in incorporating entrepreneurship education into several middle and high schools’ curriculums throughout the world (NFTE, 2013). This programs provides a practical blueprint of how entrepreneurship training, development, and mentorship can be implemented into primary and secondary educational programs. However, there is a need to replicate similar efforts with more of an emphasis on community development and positive social change.
The Mind Trust is an entrepreneurship education fellowship program designed to empower talented individuals to transform K-12 education. This program has demonstrated considerable success in its various approaches to entrepreneurship education. The Trust received over 3,000 applications for fellowships from students throughout 48 states and 36 countries since it began in 2008. Some of its most successful initiatives include: Its 1) Summer Advantage USA, which provides students with rigorous academic and enrichment opportunities; 2) The Expectations Project, which was launched for people of faith to provide students access to high quality pre K-12 education; and, 3) the global Citizen Year, where GCY Fellows virtually share their experiences with K-12 classrooms throughout the nation (The Mind Trust, 2013, Enabling Talented). The Mind Trust program program has successfully been integrated into K-12 curricular and impacted youth’s ability to think innovatively, appreciate the opportunity that can arise from risk-taking and entrepreneurship, while fostering a community of business development. While these programs have contributed to improving student’s perceptions and understanding of entrepreneurship, there are limited programs that focus on impacting positive social change through entrepreneurial activities.
These in-school and out of school programs are just a sampling of organizations attempting to demonstrate the need for entrepreneurship education at the primary and secondary education levels. Here then is a significant starting point in acknowledging the benefits of an entrepreneurial education, not only for university students, but for students at the primary and secondary educational levels. As such, the following proposition is presented.
Proposition: Entrepreneurship education at the primary and secondary levels will not only increase the skill levels of future entrepreneurs but will also increase the skill levels of those pursuing non-entrepreneurial careers in the new economy.
From a legal perspective, the area of Social Entrepreneurship falls in the realm where law and ethics intersect. While ethics and the law are not always synonymous with one another, sometimes ethics and the law require similar results. For example, many of the corporate scandals that occurred during the early to mid 2000s, Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Anderson, involved unethical, and in some cases illegal conduct by corporate fiduciaries (Rice, 2006). However, there are many times when something may not be considered to be ethical, but is nonetheless legal. For instance, a business could copy the design, colors, and/or patterns of a particular product being sold by another company, and then proceed to sell “knockoff” product in competition with the originating company. On its face, this practice would see certainly unethical. However, unless that product's design, etc. was registered for protection or has attained a secondary meaning in consumers' minds, the company may not be violating the law by selling the knockoff product (Walmart Stores, Inc., 2000).
Social entrepreneurship can also be understood in the legal and ethical context in the concept of the social responsibility of business. This concept basically demands that businesses and corporations act and make decisions with the impact that such actions or decisions will have on others in mind (Cheeseman, 2013). There are basically four theories regarding the social responsibility of business, maximizing profits, moral minimum, stakeholder interest, and corporate citizenship (Cheeseman, 2013). Each theory has its proponents and its detractors, especially regarding the extent to which each theory actually advances the cause or achieves social entrepreneurship. For example, the original theory of social responsibility of business, the theory of maximizing profits, is not generally considered to be a form of social entrepreneurship because this theory provides that a business or corporation is organized and exists solely solely to act to increase profits for shareholders and/or investors. However, an alternative view of maximizing profits that could further social entrepreneurship is that the greater profits that the corporation provides to the shareholders, the greater benefit the shareholders can then in turn provide to others, such as by providing more financial investment in the community (Friedman, 1970).
The theory of social responsibility that is third in line when considering social entrepreneurship, is moral minimum. This theory of social responsibility is focused on a business choosing alternatives that turn a profit, but that does so, while reducing or avoiding harm to others (Cheeseman, 2013). The best example of this can be seen in the recent set of consumer protection laws adopted and enforced by this country in the early 2000s. For example, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, was passed to regulate hedge funds and derivatives by requiring that hedge funds register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as to disclose certain information about their practices and actions (Dodd-Frank, 2010). Social entrepreneurship that utilizes the theory of moral minimum takes into account the strategy that will result in the most good done to society, not just the alternative that will result in the greatest profit. This goes to the heart of social entrepreneurship.
The theory of stakeholder interest, is probably second closest to the accepted definition of social responsibility, as it involves consideration of the impact of its actions and decisions on many stakeholders to an organization, not just shareholders, but include customers, suppliers, employees, and the community at large (Cheeseman, 2013). Under this theory, a business would consider its actions in light of the greater impact on virtually any persons that affect or may be affected by the corporation or business (Fallone, et al., 2001).
The last theory of social responsibility of business is corporate citizenship, which is most likely considered to be closest to the accepted definition of social entrepreneurship. This theory focuses on a business as a corporate citizen, and thus, provides that a business or corporation has a responsibility to do good and assist in solving problems in the community (Cheeseman, 2013). One example where the law has recognized the role of businesses and corporations as a corporate citizen is where corporations have been held to have a First Amendment Right to engage in political speech in the form of financial and other support of candidates for public office (Citizens United, 2010). Other examples can include being involved in the community, through partnerships, volunteering, and financial support to community organizations and groups.
In a global business world replete with economically oriented announcements, social entrepreneurs bring another perspective to social trends, highlighting key factors that promote social welfare or launching initiatives that improve living conditions in specific areas. They usually venture into industries unexplored by traditional capitalism, reshaping the way we live, think, consume, and interact at the national and global levels. Just as entrepreneurs influence business trends in the market, social entrepreneurs serve as change agents for the community they serve, seizing opportunities often missed and create new solutions for changing our society for the better good (Ashoka, 2014). Social entrepreneurs improve people’s lives by spearheading essential projects that initially don’t have a profit motive—even if these initiatives later bear economic fruit.
Self-efficacy is the perception an individual has of his/her ability to perform a particular task (Bandura, 19971977a1977b). Bandura (19971977a1977b) stated four sources influencing self-efficacy beliefs: 1) enactive mastery, 2) role modeling and vicarious experience, 3) social persuasion, and 4) an individual’s judgment of his/her psychological state such as anxiety and arousal. Bandura discovered that when an individual’s personal efficacy was low, the individual was less likely to attempt any action. The higher the self-efficacy the more likely the individual would take action. In recent years, the concept of self-efficacy has been examined to be related to more specific task oriented behavior (Bandura, 1997). Based upon these details, it is feasible to conclude that as youth’s knowledge, understanding, and self-efficacy regarding social entrepreneurship improves, their ability to engage, take action, and assume risk will increase.
Moreover, entrepreneurial self-efficacy could be a factor in increasing a K-12 student’s drive to become an entrepreneur or display entrepreneurial skill sets. Bandura (1997) found that self-efficacy, studied in elementary school children, positively influenced their academic achievement, motivation, social development, and the development of interest in certain subjects. Further, the development of self-efficacy in young children influences future goal orientation and their belief in future performance capability. Bandura (1997) also found that for adolescents’ development, certain self-efficacy tasks can begin to influence their future goals in a positive manner. This enhancement of self-efficacy in children and adolescents steadily introduces the concept of lifelong learning, which is ultimately one of the primary goals of education.
One of the primary issues facing social entrepreneurs is their fear and lack of self-confidence, which reduces their ability to assume risks and engage in entrepreneurial activity for the betterment of their community and society as a whole. Improving youth’s level of self-efficacy can vastly improve the rate of entrepreneurial activity. Chen, Greene, and Crick., (1998) specifically examined the concept of entrepreneurial self-efficacy referring to an individual’s perception of their ability to perform entrepreneurial activity. Chen et. al. (1998)examined the differences between managers and entrepreneurs using a MBA population. Individuals with high entrepreneurial self-efficacy were more likely to engage in entrepreneurial behavior (Chen, et al., 1998). DeNoble, Jung, & Ehrlich (1999) studied entrepreneurial self-efficacy but took a divergent pattern from the Chen et. al. (1998) study. DeNoble et al., (1999) sought to examine entrepreneurial self-efficacy from the perspective of the skills an entrepreneur would need to successfully operate the venture compared to Chen et al. (1998) who examined the task related behavior required by an entrepreneur. DeNoble et al.’s contributions adds a critical component to the discussion, because it helps to show that not only is improving self-efficacy among social entrepreneurs necessary to improve engagement, but also developing the skill-sets and practical knowledge of entrepreneurs is also necessary to ensure that practitioners realize a level of success. When social entrepreneurs are introduced to continual failure rates, they are likely to experience a decrease in self-efficacy as their confidence levels decrease.
Research has demonstrated that children of entrepreneurs are often more likely to pursue an entrepreneurial career path rather than working for someone else (Dyer, 1994). Entrepreneurial parents involve their children in the family’s firm to either help the family financially or to provide their children with the skills, values, and confidence that comes from being entrepreneurs (Dyer & Handler, 1994). The parents are role modeling and using social persuasion for the behavior desired to be instill in their children. In essence they are building their children’s entrepreneurial self-efficacy. This helps to build a case regarding the power of capturing children early on, introducing them to social entrepreneurship, and developing their self-efficacy. There are limited amounts of students/youth that receive the opportunity to be personally mentored and trained by entrepreneurial parents, and thus educational programs are required to fill this void.
Lastly, learning various ideas and skills opens a child’s world to something greater than themselves. It allows them to perceive the world from a different perspective. As such, acquiring a variety of entrepreneurial knowledge will allow the individual to view the world differently and begin to recognize new opportunities prior to their existence. This type of insight is one of the many benefits that may occur with an entrepreneurship education. The same contributions can result from social entrepreneurship education in terms of developing the future social entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Therefore, the following propositions are presented.
Proposition: The introduction of an entrepreneurship curriculum, at the primary and secondary education levels, will increase the entrepreneurial self-efficacy of K-12 students.
Proposition: K-12 students will be better prepared for entrepreneurial careers when provided with entrepreneurship education at the primary and secondary levels of schools.
Proposition: Primary and secondary students will become better prepared for jobs in the new economy with an entrepreneurship education.
Entrepreneurship education, in the schools, may increase exposure to the skill sets of entrepreneurs for minorities and other children from non-entrepreneurial backgrounds. The United States is becoming more multi-cultural whereas in the next few years nearly one out of two Americans will be a member of a minority group (U. S. Department of Labor, 1999). Women are increasing in numbers in the workforce (U. S. Department of Labor, 1999). Further, the number of entrepreneurial women (Carter, Williams, & Reynolds, 1997) and minorities (Young, 2002) are increasing at a faster rate than previous years and the numbers are expected to continue to grow. However, minority entrepreneurs’ firms either grow slower or fail at higher rates than those of white men (Carter, Williams, & Reynolds, 1997Robb, 2002). Systematic cultural, and social reasons can be attributed to some of these failures, but not all (Singh, Knox, & Crump, 2008). Women and minorities often have not been provided the same educational opportunities that other non-minority groups have experienced (Bryant, Fabian, Kinnamon, & Wright, 2012). Entrepreneurship education programs may begin to help these under-represented groups in overcoming the obstacles faced in starting and running their own businesses.
Entrepreneurship education greatly contributes to improving practitioners to engage in the discipline. Multiple studies have shown that entrepreneurship education has positively contributed to the rate of entrepreneurial start-ups (Charney & Libecap, 2002Peterman & Kennedy, 2003). Previous research indicated that training resources may contribute to the success rate of black (Mann, 1990) and women entrepreneurs (Birley, Moss & Saunders, 1987). Research indicates education and access to capital (Fairlie & Woodruff, 2010) are barriers reported by minorities (Wilson, Marlino, & Kickul, 2004). Other researchers, in the past, have proposed for minorities (Wilson & Davis, 1973) and women (Scherer, Brodzinski, & Wiebe, 1990Wilson, Kickul, Marlino, Barbosa, & Griffiths, 2009) that entrepreneurship education can begin to remove some of the barriers encountered when becoming an entrepreneur. Further, research byAthayde (2009) found that when young people, between the ages of 15-19, participated in a yearlong company program to encourage entrepreneurship, they were more likely to envision themselves as either self-employed or working for a small business. Moreover, the effect was stronger for black students. Additional research has shown that black and Hispanic youth, at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, often have greater aspirations for entrepreneurial careers compared to white students (Bryant, et al., 2012; Walstad & Kourilsky, 1998). Other research has shown similar findings for young women’s entrepreneurial aspirations (Wilson, Kickul, & Marlino, 2007). All of these results indicate a strong desire for entrepreneurial aspirations for groups often marginalized in the field of entrepreneurship. By providing entrepreneurship training to minorities, the rate of engagement, participation, and sustainable success for minorities can greatly improve. Additionally, if social entrepreneurship programs are introduced to minotiries they can have an increased desire and opportunity to engage in social enterprise within minority communities that often are under-served or marginalized. A void in the engagement in social entrepreneurship is due in part to a lack of knowledge and exposure. On the other hand, introducing social entrepreneurship programs at the primary and secondary level can resolve this problem. This leads to the following proposition.
Proposition: Entrepreneurship education, at the primary and secondary levels, will increase the entrepreneurial self-efficacy of young women and minority students, leading to greater entrepreneurial and overall career success for these groups.The impact study conducted by the Ashoka’s Youth Venture (n.d.), indicated that youth venture play a critical role in growing dealing with social problems from around the world. According to Ashoka’s Youth Venture, early entrepreneurship education has helped to launch over 10,000 youth ventures from around the world (n.d., Impact snapshot). Bill Drayton, Ashoka’s founder and CEO, believes that social entrepreneurship education and support helps to empower youth to realize their own potential to make positive social change and thereby increasing the quality of life for themselves and their community (Shapiro, 2012).
According to a survey conducted by the Ashoka Foundation, a high percentage of youth-lead ventures are having a positive impact on their communities and society (Ashoka’s Youth Venture, 2014):
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    92% of Venturers report a high degree of knowledge and capability in the area of leadership, 93% in the area of planning, and 79% in the area of budgeting;
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    77% of Venturers are more involved in leadership roles in their community;
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    70% are more interested in entrepreneurship;
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    94% of Venturers indicated that their participation in Youth Venture increased their confidence in starting and/or leading a project;
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    91% of Venturers report satisfaction with the accomplishments of their projects;
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    72% of youth reported that their Ventures have benefitted over 100 people in their community including 27% of youth who reported that their Ventures have helped over 1,000 people;
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    89% indicate their participation has affected their motivation and preparedness to pursue higher education; and
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    81% feel better prepared for their future. (Ashoka’s Youth Venture, n.d., Impact Snapshot)
Very little theoretical or empirical research examines instructional methods for entrepreneurship education at the primary or secondary education levels. The majority of research in entrepreneurship education gears its focus to the university level (Neck & Greene, 2011). The research, regarding entrepreneurship education, has elicited scores of negative and positive comments. Commentary suggests that entrepreneurship cannot be taught in a systematic manner. Only through the application of being an entrepreneur can one learn entrepreneurship. However, there is an increasing amount of research indicating that entrepreneurial skills can be taught (DeTienne & Chandeler, 2004; Gibb 1993Gibb, 2000). Further, the creation and expansion of entrepreneurship programs, either established or expanded at the university level, indicates weighted agreement that entrepreneurship can be taught as a subject (Kuratko, 2004Neck & Greene, 2011). Based upon this teaching evidence it is apparent that social entrepreneurship programs can potentially be integrated into primary and secondary programs.
The entrepreneurship curriculum, developed at the university level, can begin to provide indices of how entrepreneurship can be incorporated into the existing primary and/or secondary education curriculum. Students are exposed to the basics at the primary and secondary levels, and exposed to higher concepts built upon basic foundations learned at the primary and secondary levels. Likewise, social entrepreneurship education introduced at the primary and secondary levels can begin to provide basic skills required to succeed within social enterprise. With this advancement, the university should be able to successfully build on the skills learned at the primary and secondary education levels.
Further, entrepreneurship is a multi-disciplinary field pulling from business and non-business academic disciplines. For instance, a class in entrepreneurship can cover business topics such as strategy, finance, law, human resources, leadership, marketing, accounting, and ethics. Additional topics include psychology, sociology, and science based disciplines. However, social entrepreneurship education can also teach skills such as creativity, decision making, opportunity recognition, work life balance, community development, social change, servant leadership, overcoming failure and personal financial literacy (Neck & Greene, 2011). Entrepreneurship educators are beginning to focus on more non-traditional curriculum methods (Neck & Greene, 2011). Entrepreneurship education encompasses more applied instructional mechanisms, using both computer and real-life simulation experiences, guest speakers as role models, and completing business plan projects. These same frameworks can be modified to accommodate training geared towards social entrepreneurship as well. The traditions of primary lecture and rote memorization do not easily fit into an entrepreneurial classroom. Entrepreneurship education encompasses learning how to think and become a lifelong learner. These methods often run counter to the traditional instructional pegogical method currently found in primary and secondary education where, according to Burton (2014) emphasis is placed on lecturing, rote memorization, and taking a variety of tests.
There are several ways to adapt the social entrepreneurship curriculum at the primary and secondary education levels. The same methods utilized at the university level can be employed with relevant modification at the K-12 levels by providing instruction through the use of guest speakers, applied community development projects, applied simulation projects, and business plan competitions that are geared towards social enterprise. By utilizing the framework that is in place at the university level and meticulously working backwards, while integrating necessary foundational principles to less-experienced and aged students, valuable social entrepreneurship programs can be developed at the K-12 level. These k-12 social entrepreneurship programs are not only relevant to professional practice, but also provide foundational principles that will be expanded upon at the university level. In order to implement such programs, it is wise for K-12 curriculum developers to collaborate with university officials to build joint-programs and initiatives that will contribute to improving the social entrepreneurship knowledge-base within youth.
One of the key components of an entrepreneurship curriculum is availability to guest presenters. Through entrepreneurship curriculum being available to guests, students are able to gain substantial knowledge about entrepreneurial firms and face-to-face communication opportunities, designed with accessibility and interaction, with entrepreneurs. This same concept can be modeled with social entrepreneurship programs. This closeness of association allows students an intimate glimpse into the social entrepreneur’s history of business triumphs, successes, and/or failures. These social entrepreneurs are able to share/relate pertinent experiences and information that could impact students’ thinking about their own life strategies or social impact goals. In addition, direct access offers a prime opportunity for students’ exposures to social entrepreneurs’ advice and practical application solutions. Perhaps, through this silver encounter, students may garner a different perspective of social entrepreneurs life experiences for relevant and/or practical application to their own lives. Students, through exposure to social entrepreneurial experiences, are able to peer into the life of an entrepreneur seeking to impact social change; and, students are able to receive advice for self-application. Within this guest speaker assemblage, curriculum developers need to gather a diverse population of speakers with relevant backgrounds that contribute to the social enterprise body of work and discipline as a whole. Students need the valued experience of exposure to diverse personalities. This diversity of speakers would include those of different nationalities, socio/common characteristics, (i.e. race, gender, educational level). It is important to include different types and sizes of businesses, with geographic areas and locations as key considerations.
Social entrepreneurs share the environment in a variety of differences; during curriculum development, this diversity component should be included and explored for maximum benefit. Guest presenters are an important component of social entrepreneurship education because, in addition to a number of other significant benefits, students’ lives are positively impacted by role models. Role modeling is an essential element of the self-efficacy model. Through observation and realization of other individuals’ successful completion of tasks, the probability of a student’s self-efficacy increases. This is especially important for female and minority students to experience social entrepreneurial role models of their own ethnicity or gender.
The other means of entrepreneurship instruction comes from the use of applied projects. Applied projects are increasingly being implemented in university based entrepreneurship curriculums. As such, applied entrepreneurial projects can be introduced at the primary and secondary levels of education and include a greater emphasis on social entrepreneurship. Applied projects do not have to involve complicated tasks, skills, or logistics to teach basic entrepreneurial skills that can be applied to social enterprise. Projects could simply involve students in the process of inventing products and/or services to sell in the marketplace, and actually attempt to engage them in the commercial process. Schools, and other child-centered organizations, often have young people selling products for fundraising projects. However, young people often experience only a partial component of the fundraising economic transaction. In fact, adults often assume the primary fundraising responsibility and the students are left on the sidelines. Instead, with entrepreneurship education students can begin to exercise their own creativity and innovation skills and become directly involved in the entrepreneurial process (Bru, J., Thompson, J., & Martin, G., 2005). Additionally, these students could be exposed to opportunities to understand, analyze, and engage in exercises that emphasize how entrepreneurship can be used to impact positive social change within communities. Students can decide what to sell in the marketplace, how to sell it, and the structure involved in making a profit, while reviewing the impact that the product or service can have on the community. Further, students can begin to directly experience the success or failure that comes from their social entrepreneurial venture. Essentially, social entrepreneurship education can re-invent the fundraising process by allowing the young people themselves to identify opportunities in the environment for participation. Then, there becomes more of an incentive for the students to actually engage in the entrepreneurial process.
Other applied projects that do not involve direct community involvement could utilize computer simulations where students engage in mock entrepreneurial play. Students can often learn vital entrepreneurial skills by engaging in these mock forms of play (Brawer, 1997). Entrepreneurial simulations can expose students to small businesses already in operation or introduce them to new venture creations. Simulations usually provide a basic level of business experience. This experience is essential to learning the entrepreneurial process without students being overwhelmed by the various complexities of the economic environment. As such, entrepreneurial simulations are good for supplementing the learning process and assessing what students are gaining from an overall entrepreneurship education (Brawer, 1997). Further, since entrepreneurial education will start at the primary level, continue through the middle school level, and finally impact at the high school level, various forms of curriculum development can be adapted to each one of these levels. Certainly one of the limitations to business simulation programs, currently on the market, is the lack of emphasis on the social enterprise piece/component. Additional activities, assignments, and projects could be used in conjunction with the business simulation programs to improve students’ abilities to engage in business operations successfully with a social mission.
Another major aspect to training youth to engage in social entrepreneurship pertains to the ability to construct and implement business plans that have an emphasis not only on profit, but also on people, and social initiatives. Business plan projects are often viewed as the domain for adults wanting to pursue venture capital funding (Timmons & Spinelli, 2009). However, business plan projects can also be utilized at the primary and secondary school levels. Currently, business plan competitions for young students are already in existence. For example, in Arkansas, the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) program specifically targets 5th- 8th graders for a statewide business plan competition. Students are encouraged to think up creative and innovative ideas, while applying what they have learned in school to a real world setting by writing a business plan. The program was started and continues to be sponsored by the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF), an affiliate of Arkansas Capital Corporation. This program works directly with educators in the public school system to encourage young students to write business plans and to enter a statewide business plan competition (Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, 2013, Youth Entrepreneur Showcase). Students, as young as 10 years of age, are exposed to the entrepreneurship process by participating in contest and learning skills such as opportunity recognition, marketing, financial literacy and leadership development. Subsequently, this experience boosts their confidence and self-efficacy during the process of developing entrepreneurial skills. Again, programs geared towards basic entrepreneurship are currently being utilized and are producing positive results. The missing piece to this model is the lack of emphasis on social entrepreneurship and enterprise. By adding emphasis on social entrepreneurship and enterprise, into primary and secondary training programs, students will be exposed to this somewhat unique approach to entrepreneurship.
It is acknowledged that the entrepreneurship curriculum will vary according to the age bracket. Moreover, the nature of teaching entrepreneurship does not gear itself to the traditional method of lecture style teaching, rote memorization, and teaching to the test. Innovative instructional methods that include an emphasis on social entrepreneurship will need to be introduced as well as new means of assessment created.
Proposition: The successful primary and secondary social entrepreneurship education curriculums will be more applied and as such will vary from the traditional education system.
Proposition: Social Entrepreneurship education’s curriculum will vary based on grade level.
Barriers will be placed in opposition to secondary entrepreneurship programs. Barriers, such as financial, political, assessment measures, and perception, may impede the development of entrepreneurship programs. Educators who determine that it is costly to implement entrepreneurship education must consider the benefits realized by students and cite how the positives gained outweigh the limiting factors. Individuals may view entrepreneurship education as an addendum to students’ education rather than a part of the core educational foundation. However, to those who mock the idea of entrepreneurship education as a serious discipline, proof lies in significant data to indicate that students achieve a solid educational foundation when studying entrepreneurship (Kuratko, 2004). Although the data supports the post-secondary entrepreneurship curriculum, the data is applicable to K-12 levels of education (Kuratko, 2004). By introducing students to social entrepreneurship programs early, the number of social entrepreneurs within the marketplace and within underserved communities could vastly increase, thus contributing to improved community development, sustainable social enterprises, and heightened awareness regarding how to engage in this unique style of business operation (Bryant, Fabian, Kinnamon, & Wright, 2012).
There should be no one size fits all curriculum for social entrepreneurship education at the primary and secondary education levels, especially during times of limited financial and human capital resources. However, some of the methods proposed can still be implemented with limited resource constraints. In fact, social entrepreneurship education can be implemented using an entrepreneurial mind-set. Entrepreneurs do not always have the resources desired to create and foster new ventures. Schools could begin to use this entrepreneurial mind-set to create not only a curriculum in social entrepreneurship education at the K-12 levels, but develop this entrepreneurial mind-set for implementing reform measures in the entire educational environment (Hess, 2007).
Organizations should also ensure that they are leveraging all of the resources that they have available to launch the social entrepreneurship programs. One means of overcoming resource constraints, without sacrificing educational quality for entrepreneurship education, is through the use of technology (Solomon, Duffy, & Tarabishy, 2002). The educational environment could benefit from the use of technology, especially technology used in educational programs, deemed to be outside the realm of traditional education. For example, through the use of video conferencing, social entrepreneurs could simultaneously share experiences in several classrooms. Students could be taught how to start an e-commerce social enterprise and not just concentrate on the brick and mortar structure. In essence, technology could begin to bridge the gap in promoting entrepreneurship education for students at the primary and secondary levels of education.
Assessment standards will need to be created and validated. The creation of the standards may not be easy, especially since assessment is increasingly measured by standardized tests. As indicated earlier, entrepreneurship education is often taught and assessed using non-traditional educational methods. Further, the training of educators to teach social entrepreneurship may impose the final barrier. Pedagogical lecture is often the preferred method of instruction by teachers; however, the lecture method is the least utilized instructional vehicle in the area of entrepreneurship education. Applied learning and team-based teaching are becoming the norms of teaching entrepreneurship (Neck & Greene, 2011). These new norms of teaching may often take additional training to implement and utilize. Additionally, social entrepreneurship is a unique enterprise approach that has not been as widely publicized, researched, and utilized, and thus creating training programs geared towards this specific form of business could present its own challenges, due to limited expertise and knowledge.
This chapter acknowledges that barriers do exist during the introduction of any new proposed program at the primary and secondary educational levels. Certain districts may encounter more problems or issues than other school districts due to the decentralization of the education system. However, as stated earlier in the chapter, there are school districts attempting to implement entrepreneurship education programs. The authors of this chapter recommend that more school districts begin focusing specifically on social entrepreneurship. Further, the more barriers a school district encounters, the more likely the implementation of a social entrepreneurship program will decrease. As such, the following proposal is made:
Proposition: The more barriers, i.e., financial, political, assessment measures, and/or perceptional, to a social entrepreneurship program at the primary and secondary educational levels, the more likely a social entrepreneurship secondary education program will fail to materialize.
Primarily, education is a local matter, with the policies, curricula and instruction being provided at the state and local level (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2014). Thus, the subjects and courses taught in schools K-12, are largely determined by the state boards of education, or a similar entity in each state (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2014). Accordingly, states’ control of the curriculum serves as an initial barrier to teaching social entrepreneurship in K-12, on a national level. Legally, the DOE generally cannot force inclusion of a social entrepreneurship curriculum on state and local boards of education, as most of its enforcement power over state and local education is grounded on the promotion of equal opportunity in education (Title VI, 1964, Title IX, 1972, Section 504, 1973). On the hand under the Tax and Spend Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the federal government has the power to condition the provision of funding from the federal government on state and local governments' compliance with a federal mandate or program (U.S. Const. Art. 1, Section 8, clause 1). Thus, specifically, the federal government may withhold federal funding to states pending their compliance with a federal policy, under certain circumstances. (North Dakota, 1987). Therefore, likely, the greatest tool that the Department of Education (DOE) has to encourage the inclusion of social entrepreneurship by K-12 schools is financial support in the form of grants or other funding to states and localities providing education. For instance, the DOE could conceivably condition the receipt of funding by states and other localities for the instruction of social entrepreneurship on these providers, making sure that such funds are used to increase education for the instruction of social entrepreneurship.
Similarly with higher education, the federal government has a very limited role, and the decisions regarding curricula and instruction are made at the institutional level, by the board of trustees, or other governing body of the institution of higher education (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2014). Despite these challenges some higher education institutions have recognized the importance of teaching and fostering social entrepreneurship. For example, the New York University Law School and Washington University Law School have created a Law and Social Entrepreneurship Association, and A Law and Social Entrepreneurship and Law Clinic, respectively (Social Entrepreneurship Law, 2014).
Legal rights for those intending to pursue social entrepreneurship are very similar to other forms of entrepreneurship. These right include abiding by various laws and statutes governing businesses. One difference is in the type of organization created by the social entrepreneur. Many in the social entrepreneur industry have chosen to start non-profit organizations and acquire 501(c)(3) or similar tax-exempt statuses. In addition, in order to foster the growth and development of social entrepreneurs, some states have chosen to create a new form of business entity referred to as a Low-profit Limited Liability Company (L3C) (Takagi, 2008). This type of entity is a low-profit limited liability company usually organized for a social purpose (Field, 2014). There have been as many as 600 hundred L3Cs in this country, and as many as nine (9) states and two (2) federal jurisdictions that have recognized the L3C form (Field, 2012). One of the advantages of the L3C is that private foundations can direct funds referred to as Program Related Investments (PRIs) to these businesses (Field, 2014). In order to retain their tax-exempt status, private foundations have a legal obligation to ensure that 5% of their assets are provided for charitable purposes (Tax Reform Act, 1969; Computation of Undistributed Income, 1975). By providing PRIs to L3Cs, private foundations are able to meet this obligation.
The down-side of these organizations is that they are fairly new, so new in fact that the IRS is still attempting to determine whether and to what extent these organizations should receive favorable treatment (Field, 2014). In addition, North Carolina, which had previously recognized the L3C entity, has recently eliminated this form of business organization, which is evidence of some measure of reluctance by some states toward this form (An Act to Amend and Restate NC LLC Act, 2013). As a result, it should be mentioned, that social entrepreneurs can still achieve their purposes with the more common forms of business entities, such as an LLC. In addition, there is proposed legislation in Congress that would attempt to make it easier for private foundations to provide PRIs to for-profit entities that further or engage in charitable purposes (Field, 2014). This proposed legislation is entitled the Philanthropic Facilitation Act (PFA), and although it was introduced, it has not been adopted by the U.S. Congress. The question still remains whether this is sufficient political will and public policy support for such a law that could potentially provide greater financial support for social entrepreneurship and thus increase the level of social entrepreneurship in this country (Schock & Polis, 2011).
This chapter explored a variety of concepts centered on the introduction of social entrepreneurship education at the primary and secondary education levels. Findings suggested that societal changes, and the evolving nature of work is placing more emphasis on the development of entrepreneurial skill sets geared towards impacting positive social change; such that schools must change to meet the demands. The evidence is convincing and worthy of consideration. Conclusively, significant social change and rapid technological advancements require implementation of an improved curriculum to meet students’ needs. Entrepreneurial skill sets will increasingly become much more valuable during the future and is quickly becoming one of the primary methods of impacting positive social change and community development in underserved areas. The next generation’s outlook on social entrepreneurship activities, based on implementation of entrepreneurship education, will significantly impact their role in the world of work. Currently, there are success-oriented entrepreneurship education programs being introduced to children at the K-12 levels. However, the majority of these examples include programs held outside of the traditional educational environment, but a few mainstream entrepreneurship education programs are beginning to be introduced to primary and secondary students. One key factor that may occur, as the results of the introduction of entrepreneurship education into the K-12 system, would be an increase in the number of young women and minorities seeking entrepreneurial opportunities as a viable career alternative, while seeking to use business to improve individuals and society. This form of business places emphasis on more than just producing profits alone and is very relevant in today’s increasingly socially conscious business culture.
Measurement concerns exist with this type of research. Primarily the researcher would need to obtain access to a program within a primary or secondary educational system to measure its viability and success. At times, this research will call for longitudinal studies, which are often difficult in regards to monetary and time constraint resources. However, longitudinal studies are an important area in the field of social entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the driving force of the U.S. economy. As the changing nature of work continues, social entrepreneurship will become even more vital to the innovation and prosperity of the economy, and improvement of our communities. Therefore, this area of research becomes an important component that cannot be overlooked.
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