Why 2020 Led to a Surge in Excessive College Entrepreneurship

Throughout 2020, we saw a strong interest in entrepreneurship from high schoolers – and greater pressure to teach them entrepreneurship skills. There have been many organizations in the past dedicated to helping teenagers become real entrepreneurs. But this recent surge in popularity is coming from all directions.

Youth entrepreneurship is on the rise, according to Crimson Education, a leading online mentoring company that helps students create their profiles for college admission. There are even high school students who have written books on entrepreneurship.

Why did 2020 create the conditions for such an increase?

The Covid-19 pandemic

The obvious motivating factor here is the Covid-19 pandemic. This world changing event offered a cascade of different effects:

  • Job and career insecurity. Millions of people were unemployed for most of 2020. Many industries require personal interactions and have had to close to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. Others lost their jobs due to an economic ripple effect that was laid off due to lower demand or economic hardship. These effects have awakened the population to the fragility of their mainstream careers – and to the importance of self-sufficiency in difficult times.
  • Increased focus on online business. Trade has not stalled because of the pandemic. Instead, it is simply transformed. More and more people are buying products and services online and generally spending time online. Accordingly, online businesses have increased in popularity and effectiveness. Children, parents and educators recognize this and capitalize on the limitless potential of online entrepreneurship.
  • Online and flexible learning. Another important factor behind Covid-19 has been the advent of online learning (and flexible learning). With schools closed for most of 2020, the children had to attend classes virtually. In some cases, students have benefited from more flexible schedules and homework. All of this flexibility enables students to give them a greater degree of control over the classes they take and how they choose to study – and many are interested in studying entrepreneurship.
  • Additional free time. Even if the lessons take as much time as before, the students have additional free time – if only because they no longer have to travel to and from school. In addition, typical social activities basically came to a standstill. With the extra time, many high schoolers have chosen to do something that is productive, interesting, and exciting at the same time – and learning how to become an entrepreneur is just the thing.

The bursting of the college bubble

There are also claims that there has been a growing college “bubble” in the United States. The basic idea here is that the cost of higher education has increased over the years due to demand. More people want college, pay more for college, and students are paying more than ever to get an education.

Upon graduation, many college students are surprised to find that the market is flooded with competitors – as all of their peers have also been pressured to go to college. Suffering from crippling debt and few viable career opportunities, these people are struggling to succeed.

While there is no “real” economic bubble, many parents, educators and other authorities have seen this impact firsthand. They know college is important and a good investment, but it isn’t a guarantee of success. Accordingly, they spend more time teaching children other skills and types of knowledge – including entrepreneurship.

Why young entrepreneurship is important

Learning the basics of starting a business or starting a business directly at a young age can be of great benefit for several reasons:

  • Widespread applicability. To start with, “business skills” need not be used for entrepreneurship. Learning to research a business plan, manage your time, and guide others can help you in a variety of different careers, classes, and life experiences. Better educated entrepreneurs tend to perform better in almost all areas of life.
  • Independence. By teaching entrepreneurial skills, high school students can also become more independent. Rather than relying on a particular career path or employer, people with entrepreneurial attitudes and skills can always fall back on their self-starter skills.
  • Early interest in starting new businesses. Entrepreneurial students get an early interest in starting their own business. As we know, small businesses are the largest source of new jobs and one of the most important contributors to economic growth in the United States. Accordingly, everyone can benefit from their training in this area.

Hopefully the trend of entrepreneurship education and experience among high schoolers will continue well into 2021 and beyond. Better educated and better educated youngsters are becoming more ambitious and innovative adults – and we will all benefit from this increase.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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