Bringing Entrepreneurship to schools

February 27 marked the beginning of the new corporation era.

CircularSociety had invited Peter Vogel – a young entrepreneur, lecturer and author to run a half day workshop on entrepreneurship with school children and adults in the same room. The International School of Central Switzerland (ISOCS), the CircularSociety Center in Zug, hosted the event. Peter was supported by Michelle Blanchet, a social entrepreneur in the field of education.

Some 30 schoolchildren from four different international schools joined forces with some 20 corporate executives and entrepreneurs. While the children were taught how to come up with a business idea and pitch the idea to an audience, the adults spent time reflecting on how to create space in organizations for entrepreneurial energy.

The children learned that entrepreneurship was one of several career opportunities – the other ones being working for large multinationals, international organizations or non-governmental organizations. It was made clear to them that being an entrepreneur required quite a bit of personal commitment and initial sacrifice – being entrepreneur is not synonymous with becoming rich, at least not necessarily and not in the beginning. Being an entrepreneur is following your purpose and passion and doing what you believe in.

During the last hour of the event students partnered up with adults as their mentors and learned how to pitch their ideas. In the spirit of true collaboration these student-adult partnerships brought new insights and energies to the both sides. The kids seized the opportunity to work with and learn from the senior leaders and successful entrepreneurs in the room. On the other hand, the adults were inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and passion that they saw emerge from the students. While both sides benefited in their own way many cross generational bridges were built.

The level of energy that this workshop ignited in the young people was truly amazing. While most students had never thought about entrepreneurship or even potentially becoming an entrepreneur – it never crossed my mind – one student in particular stood out. At the age of nine he had started his own first business (renting out videos to his friends and neighbors) – today at the age of 18 he was running his own hedge fund alongside going to school.

The students were very clearly inspired and excited when asked to come up with business ideas of their own. Creativity reached new heights, and while most business ideas were obviously very rudimentary, some of the ideas really showed great potential. Some ideas even had a social component to them.

As a follow up the students will now further develop and refine their ideas. It is also planned that the learnings be shared also with other students in other schools in order to learn to build bridges and develop systems thinking capability.

CircularSociety believes that this day unleashed great creational potential and we will make sure to offer a similar concept also to other schools and other Centers in the future.

written by Carsten Sudhoff


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