It Takes an Ecosystem to Raise an Entrepreneur

by Emily Bean

Many are familiar with the meaning behind the African proverb, "it takes a village to raise a child." We know that exposure to many different people and experiences can strengthen a child's sense of connection to the world, empathy for others, and resiliency in the face of obstacles. We also know that one person shouldn't have to shoulder the responsibility of developing a human alone. When more people come together for the task, the weight is lighter, and the results are better.  

Unfortunately, teachers share an inordinate amount of this load. Day after day, they are responsible for cultivating the minds of students, caring for their social-emotional growth, and even meeting basic needs at times. On top of that, they must follow stringent local, state, and federal guidelines that can feel paralyzing. What seems like a village becomes an anchor that prevents educators from deploying creative solutions to problems and engaging the community in students' educational journeys.

Community can make or break a child's success.

In order to navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable future landscape, students must acquire entrepreneurial skills. These skills – collaboration, opportunity-seeking, resourcefulness, adaptability, communication, innovation, and grit – are forged through countless interactions with supportive adults. Each adult provides a new perspective and understanding of the world in which students can integrate into their paradigms and expand their views on what is possible.

While many students will go on to become entrepreneurial problem-solvers for existing businesses, some will create new entities that solve problems for the world. And their connection to an ecosystem of support will be both the foundation in which they launch and the trampoline that helps them rebound when they fail.  

To create this system, students need more access to the community in their classrooms and teachers need more support in advancing the learners and doers of tomorrow. While we at Burton D. Morgan Foundation can't yet solve the bureaucratic issues that plague teachers, we can provide easy-to-access tools to help them bring a myriad of resources into their classrooms, including expert speakers, curriculum providers, field trips, innovation supplies, and more. Our new platform, YIPPEE, allows educators to easily earn points they can use to purchase resources from a community of providers that are just as invested in student growth and learning outcomes.

Support teachers and help students become entrepreneurial.

Everyone in the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem shares the goal of lessening teachers' burdens and connecting youth with a network in which they can grow and thrive. Create an account today if you are interested in becoming part of that network – either as an educator who needs resources, a provider who brings them to a classroom, or a sponsor who connects the two. All are welcome to play an active role in the ecosystem that raises entrepreneurs. Because teachers shouldn’t have to do it alone.