Originally published on Huffington Post
Coming from the Entrepreneurship ‘movement’ to the STEM ‘movement’ it is apparent that the two often exist in silos. There are many concrete points of intersection and the skilled workforce that both Fortune 500 countries and entrepreneurs need, the innovation is a crucial point of intersection. Additionally, if you want to bring many aspects of STEM to life ‘relevancy’ for America’s youth in my humble opinion there is no better way to teach Math, problem solving, Technology (building and coding innovative new companies) and so much more than by teaching entrepreneurship.
Walk into any university, any coffee shop in D.C., Austin, N.C., N.Y., Boston., any incubator or accelerator program and you will see our Entrepreneurial (E-STEM) workforce hovered around each other and their laptops building their new companies.
They will have such an inspiring vision and idea, you will pull out your wallet to invest in them, introduce them to three others, or you will join them as an unpaid advisor or new employee — especially if there is an equity stake involved and you know that you can help change the world better, faster, together.
Once they have the capital (series A, B, C, seed Stage), they will come after and grab from the mightiest companies some of the very best people who will leave for equity and to find enormous satisfaction (and sometimes utter agony) in building again in this great game of business.
The world-class entrepreneurs in the U.S. and globally will mentor these fledgling entrepreneurs, serve as advisors, champion them into building the next mega-disruptive technology that will change how we live or do business. They might also buy them, absorb them and their ‘A’-level human capital talent. Tumblr!
This E-STEM workforce wants to be ‘unleashed’ and to thrive and take risk. Enough 9 to 5! That’s not the legacy they want at this stage. Money in a few years, autonomy, fun, and desire to make a difference with innovations are all siblings here.
They are using every STEM skill under the sun and if they don’t have it themselves they will hire for it, borrow it from another startup, or gain the skills in warp speed. They have no choice, this is entrepreneurship and the race not to fail.
Entrepreneurship is a driver of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
Having taught entrepreneurship for two decades, I know that without a shadow of doubt teaching entrepreneurship teaches math!
If you buy three dozen iPad cases for $36 a dozen and sell them for $10 each with your $1 school logo… how much money do you make? What if you sell 100 a week them at 30 school stores in your city?
Teaching entrepreneurship leads to technological innovation and skills. What entrepreneur isn’t building an app (by the way — kids are using smartphones now much more than desktops and laptops — they know apps, not websites), aggregating analytics, social media platforms and more?
Entrepreneurship leads to patents and inventions. We had a young woman build a company that dissolves sugar packets into hot water, paper and all.
I also know (similar to nonprofits twenty years ago) entrepreneurial ventures that make a difference grabs the hearts and minds of women and girls who are highly motivated to build awesome STEM skills knowing the end game the technology, problem solving, inventions is helping make the world better place.
In short, entrepreneurship education brings tremendous relevancy to STEM, and entrepreneurs are hiring and need to hire a STEM workforce just as much as corporate America does.
So bottom line… want more STEM workers and more women in STEM? Look at the incredibly valued asset and the momentum energy of our E-STEM workforce. Create opportunities and internships for people to work in Corporate America and Startup America fluidly and support and admiration. Hug an entrepreneur today and buy them a red bull!
Julie Kantor is former 20 year Executive Director at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and currently CEO of Twomentor, LLC.