Do we need a theory of entrepreneurship
: How we can get more people excited about entrepreneurship
Inspiring young people for entrepreneurship is child's play, believes impulse blogger Marie-Christine Ostermann. It only takes three steps - one of which has to do with lemonade.
"Actually, I have a good business idea that I could use to set up my own business, but unfortunately I have not yet had the courage to start my own company."
I have heard this sentence from many people in Germany. We attach too much importance to security. The willingness to take a certain risk is very low in many people. It is therefore not surprising that the number of business start-ups has steadily declined in recent years and has now dropped to an all-time low. The continuation of family businesses is also becoming more and more difficult, as fewer and fewer young people are available to continue running.
But what can we do to get more people in Germany excited about entrepreneurship and to increase the number of start-ups and business continuations?
Learning from mistakes: entrepreneurship is more than success
In my opinion, we can only achieve this if we change the mentality of the people in Germany a little. We have to become more risk-conscious to a certain extent and be much more positive about self-employment.
In Silicon Valley it is said: “Either you are successful or you learn”. There is no stigmatization in the event of failure. On the contrary: Errors are seen as necessary in order to be able to be successful in the long term. We Germans, on the other hand, are too quickly discouraged by setbacks.
Of course, it is also important to improve the framework conditions for entrepreneurs and their employees, for example to reduce bureaucracy or to make the tax system less complicated and more business-friendly, as well as making the labor market more flexible and the pension system more future-proof. These measures would help a lot to successfully set up and expand more companies in Germany.
Entrepreneurship Initiatives: "Students in the Executive Chair"
In addition, there are already very good initiatives to introduce students to entrepreneurship, for example student companies and start-up awards. The NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) network offers business camps for schoolchildren during the holidays and advanced training courses for teachers. In the project “Schoolchildren in the Executive Chair” of the business association “The Young Entrepreneurs”, schoolchildren in several cities in Germany accompany an entrepreneur for a day and get to know his job and his company.
A far-reaching leverage effect to firmly anchor entrepreneurship in our society has not yet been achieved in Germany.
In three steps: How to get people excited about entrepreneurship
However, it is essential to significantly improve people's attitudes towards entrepreneurship. This can be achieved in the long term with the following three prerequisites:
1. Practice early
Ideally, we need to be introduced to the subject of self-employment at a very young age. Anyone who has experienced entrepreneurship from an early age usually internalizes entrepreneurial thinking and acting much more easily and much more intensively than someone who only dealt with entrepreneurship very late.
Lemonade Day from the USA can be used as an example. The initiative was founded by the entrepreneur Michael Holthouse. America’s offspring are already selling lemonade they have made themselves at their own booth at a very young age and learn from their own experience what it means to have goals, to take responsibility and to be an entrepreneur. Prejudices about entrepreneurs cannot arise in the first place and interest can be aroused very early on.
I, too, have set an example of entrepreneurship through my parents from childhood, so that I could hardly imagine any other life other than self-employment. At the age of 16 I made the decision to continue running our family business and to focus my training with a high school diploma, a bank apprenticeship, business studies and a trainee program at Aldi Süd towards this goal.
2. Reach more young people
A lot of young people have to be reached. It is not enough to address and convince a few young people; the topic of entrepreneurship must be more widely accessible. An impressive number of 800,000 children have participated in Lemonade Day since it was founded in 2007. The more children and young people can be brought into contact with entrepreneurship and become enthusiastic about entrepreneurial thinking and action, the faster and more it will become an everyday part of our lives.
In order to be able to address as many young people as possible, it is important that companies cooperate closely with cities, schools and universities. The holistic and supraregional cooperation of entrepreneurs with politicians, teachers and professors is crucial so that entrepreneurship can be conveyed to the next generation with the right approach and structure.
3. Find new role models
In order to really interest and convince young people, real entrepreneurs have to convey their profession, their values and their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship to the next generation. As a rule, young people can be addressed and reached through role models and emotions. I had and still have such a role model in my father, for whose entrepreneurial performance I harbor a lot of fascination and admiration.
In Germany, musicians and athletes have mostly been role models for the next generation. In entrepreneurial countries such as the USA, Switzerland, India or Israel, it is often the successful entrepreneurs whom young people emulate, for example Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg. Another example is Elizabeth Holmes, an American biotechnology entrepreneur. The 31-year-old is the founder and CEO of the laboratory company Theranos and America's youngest billionaire.
If charismatic and exciting personalities bring young people closer to entrepreneurship, the chance of being infected with the entrepreneur virus is significantly greater than if entrepreneurship is taught solely from textbooks and theory.
In Germany, too, there are many exciting and charismatic entrepreneurs who can reach young people, such as Verena Pausder, founder of the children's app developer Fox and Sheep, or XING founder Lars Hinrichs.
We will only be able to really change something in our country if we manage to firmly anchor entrepreneurial thinking and action in a large number of young people. Let's do it now.
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