I was introduced to this intriguing concept when I was invited to speak at the Conference on Developing an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in NI last week.
Michael McQuillan of the UU Business School explained that these ecosystems are not created but already exist in society and existing ecosystems can be healthy or not healthy. The conference was an excellent opportunity to review the current NI ecosystem and how this could be developed to become healthier in the future. The speakers brought their experience to bear on how this could happen in NI.
Education is a recognised sub-set of entrepreneur ecosystem. However it is probably one of the aspects of the Ecosystem most in need of radical review and attention. In general, the agenda of formal education is antagonistic to the development of entrepreneurs in terms of pedagogy, curriculum and assessment at primary, post-primary and third levels education.
The value of extra-curricular projects and competitions was showcased brilliantly at the Conference in the NI winners of Young Enterprise Company of the Year 2016 from St Patrick’s School. However, such initiatives are 'bolt on' and not embedded in the day to day school curriculum. Young people inspired by these project then return to the classroom for ‘real ‘education for examinations.
Our reasoning in Fingerprint Learning is that enterprise projects and competitions cater for the right brain, concrete random learning preference of potential entrepreneurs. But the daily world of teaching that students are educated in is the opposite – left brain dominant and abstract sequential!
In order to contribute to a healthy ecosystem formal education in NI needs to re-balance pedagogy, curriculum and assessment to be inclusive of the learning preferences of entrepreneurial students at primary, post-primary and third level education. Without this NI, or any other society, will never develop a healthy, thriving entrepreneur ecosystem and develop the incredible entrepreneurial flair in its young people.Back >