Start Us Up Start Us Up logo

Knowledge: Prepare Students with an Entrepreneurial Mindset (Federal, State, Local)

To ensure that a strong current of entrepreneurial talent is continuously emerging in the United States, policies must equitably grow the next generation of business owners and develop employees with essential employable skills and entrepreneurial capabilities. To do this, policymakers should:

  • Incentivize state-level departments of education to provide districts flexibility in funding, credit, and curriculum to allow students to obtain real-world learning experiences (also called work-based learning) and industry-recognized credentials. These credentials are assets that are immediately market-valued, created through client- and community-based projects, entrepreneurial experiences, and internships.
  • Ensure all students complete high school having acquired basic financial literacy skills through direct experiences relevant to life and work. Policymakers should consider making technical assistance available to make this feasible.
  • Examine how state agencies can better collaborate to allow for alternative teacher certification pathways, career pathway specialists, and aligned workforce and education efforts. This can provide students with access to professionals in their area of interest. Additionally, explore teacher residency models as a pathway to bring real-world expertise into certified positions.
  • Expand apprenticeship models that lead to growth in the number of underrepresented students in high-growth, living-wage careers.
  • Monitor, evolve, and expand postsecondary criteria for federal grant and scholarship programs that have been adjusted to support four-year, two-year, and qualified credentialing acquisition for students.
  • Invest in connecting early education, K-12, and workforce data to evaluate state-level student outcomes. Currently, these data systems do not talk to each other, making it difficult to assess where students go after high school, especially if they do not attend a public higher education institution. This holistic understanding of student results can drive further investment and support toward educational interventions that create more pathways toward good or prosperous jobs. This can also guide states in connecting students to high-growth career pathways in their unique economies.  
Supporting Evidence
  • Research has shown that with appropriate course content, entrepreneurial education and training in kindergarten through college is linked to positive business outcomes.
  • A meta-analysis found a significant relationship between entrepreneurship education and training and corresponding entrepreneurship outcomes.