Entrepreneurship starts in schools - Wade Institute

Entrepreneurship starts in schools

12th June 2019

Over the past four years, I have been visited by a number of primary and secondary school principals, all with the same question. How do we embed entrepreneurship into our school culture, curriculum and classes? Enter UpSchool, our new teacher education program.

Time and again, what I have heard from principals and teachers is that while there is an enormous desire to incorporate entrepreneurship into the school curriculum – and equal demand from students and parents too – there are limited opportunities for schools to develop the tools needed to do this effectively.

Even at a grassroots level, students today are keenly aware that the economy is changing, the future of work is changing, and young people more than ever need to be equipped to thrive in this new environment.

Australia is a smart country. We have an above-average research sector producing very high quality outputs, however, we are lagging well behind comparable countries in terms of spin-out ventures and new startups. If all we did was match our developed country counterparts in startup outcomes we would increase our GDP by up to $8 billion dollars over the next ten years.

Not only are we lagging behind, but other nations are not standing idle either. Singapore, Malaysia, Israel, Canada are all pushing ahead with programs to support and encourage entrepreneurship. Training the next generation of Australian entrepreneurs is an opportunity to keep us up to speed.  

Can you teach entrepreneurship?

At barbecues and gala events, I still routinely get asked: “can entrepreneurship even be taught?” The answer is a resounding yes!

Peter Drucker, one of the most influential writers and thinkers on management education, puts it best: “Entrepreneurship is not magic, it is not mysterious, and it has nothing to do with genes. It is a discipline. And like any discipline it can be learned.”

In all other professions it is regularly accepted and unquestioned that education should be provided for future practitioners such as doctors, engineers, lawyers and nurses. So why don’t we think the same about entrepreneurship? The truth is it can very much be taught, but it needs to be taught in a very particular style – in a way that is practical and hands-on.

This is how we teach entrepreneurship – through an experiential process, working on real-life startups, in teams, with the best mentor and industry network in Australia. And now we are ready to bring this model to classrooms Australia wide, from Kindergarten to Year 12.

Introducing UpSchool

We want to instil the same passion for entrepreneurship education that we have in the educators of the next generation of Australian creators and innovators.

That is why we have designed UpSchool, to give educators the skills, experience, and confidence to teach entrepreneurship to students, across all levels.

This marks a real step change in the scope of the Wade Institute’s national impact. By providing a train-the-trainer model to teachers and educators, we multiply our reach in hundreds of classrooms and with thousands of individual students around the country. After all, scalability is what we are all about! 

Learn more and express your interest here.


This article was written by Georgia McDonald, Director, Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship and first published in Ormond College’s New & Old magazine.

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