If you follow our blog or have participated in a program, you know that creative and interdisciplinary entrepreneurship is important to us. More than having students make cool apps or software companies, 3 Day Startup values innovation in diverse and unexpected places.
Part of the reason we are so passionate about this, is that we see entrepreneurship as a literacy. All students (and all people) can benefit from learning how to think and operate entrepreneurially. Beyond that, we believe in a future with a richer understanding and scope for what an entrepreneur is and looks like.
But in practice many students who want to learn more about entrepreneurship have difficulty breaking into the space. Instead, university programming is full of business, economics, computer science, and engineering majors.
This over-saturation, of course, is not to say that there isn’t a need for those entrepreneurs as well.
But non-tech entrepreneurs have the ability to make outsized innovation in their fields. We just need to give them the resources.
So, why does the exclusion of these non-tech, aspiring entrepreneurs hurt entrepreneurship?
There are disciplines, sectors, and customer bases that crave innovation and need their problems to be solved. And there are entrepreneurs with tech or development backgrounds that won’t be fully equipped to solve them. Because they don’t fully understand them.
Business and CS majors will never make the big pushes in education or medicine or art. Their skillsets and interests don’t prepare them for those fields. And that isn’t always where their passions lie.
But there is ample room in those fields for innovation and improvement.
Including those students in the conversation and in the programming is the first step to bridging that gap.
Learning entrepreneurial skills is becoming more and more relevant to young people today. And schools are making strides to provide that education. But if measures aren’t taken to ensure that it is accessible to everyone, then these goals cannot be achieved.
Schools need to be careful about how they frame entrepreneurship for their students. And students need to be careful of how they frame it for themselves
Focusing solely on tech ventures and their successes implies that entrepreneurship is only successful when it is a tech venture.
So how do schools go about incorporating this change?
Many schools keep their entrepreneurship programming within the business or engineering schools. Often, this happens because the entrepreneurship center is an offshoot of those departments.
In these cases, the programming isn’t necessarily exclusionary by choice, but by coincidence. And the lack of participation by students in other disciplines isn’t disinterest as much as it is ignorance.
To create the kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary environment that can benefit both students and entrepreneurship programs, departments will have to come together, acknowledge the benefits of entrepreneurial education, and promote those opportunities to their students.
But the burden doesn’t fall on schools only at the department level. Students will have to be open to breaking the mold and entering unfamiliar territory.
What can students do to get more involved and open themselves up to opportunities?
The first thing is to acknowledge that, if you are interested at all in entrepreneurship or innovating in a space you are passionate about, then you have just as much a right to receiving that education as other majors. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that, because you don’t know how to make a business plan or code an app, you aren’t qualified to turn your idea into a viable venture.
It’s a myth that all entrepreneurs have these backgrounds or know these skills. Half the time, when I speak with entrepreneurs who have started a company they tell me they studied political science, or philosophy, or English.
For non-tech majors, or majors not typically associated for entrepreneurship, there is no better time to learn and experiment than during college.
Particularly if your school provides a program like 3 Day Startup that serves as a learning opportunity for students of all levels. In taking chances like these, there is really nothing to lose and everything to gain.
And if your school doesn’t provide early stage programming like that, don’t be afraid to talk to the head of your entrepreneurship center about opportunities that could be a good fit for you.
Change is on the horizon.
With entrepreneurship programs popping up around the country, the discipline will start to experience a shift. It will have to. The nature of work is changing. And the upcoming generation wants opportunities to apply entrepreneurial learning to what they are passionate about and earn money more on their own terms.
Whether they are have aspirations in art, music, education, or medicine, they need a platform where they can apply their specific skills and make outsized change. College and university entrepreneurship programs have the opportunity to be that platform.
All they have to do is take it.
Contact us today and bring a 3 Day Startup program to your university or community. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about upcoming events and receive notifications for more blogs like this to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Did you start a company as a non-tech entrepreneur with a major in the sciences or humanities? Tell us about your journey in the comments!