Primary school is a fertile ground for developing entrepreneurial skills. The curriculum of The BizWorld Foundation, a national non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship, business and finance to children, has a positive effect on the self-confidence, achievement orientation, risk taking, perseverance, analytical ability, proactivity and creativity of primary school students. A combination of these skills is important for successful entrepreneurship. This is evident from the study 'The effect of early entrepreneurship education' conducted by the Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE), which was presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands on Wednesday, 30 May 2012.
Mirjam van Praag, Randolph Sloof and Laura Rosendahl Huber of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and ACE spent the last two years conducting research into the effects of the BizWorld curriculum. This curriculum is used worldwide to develop entrepreneurial skills in students in the final year of primary school. The researchers looked at the development of entrepreneurship skills and knowledge with over 2,500 students from 65 different schools in the Netherlands.
The researchers conclude that entrepreneurship education has a positive effect on the entrepreneurial skills of the students participating in the curriculum. Self-confidence, achievement orientation, risk taking, perseverance, analytical ability, pro-activity and creativity increased. Research has shown that these skills have a positive impact on the success of entrepreneurs. These skills also contribute to the success of employees, who are increasingly expected to be entrepreneurial . The school seems to be a fertile ground for developing these skills. Early investment in these skills is probably more important than previously thought, say the researchers. Earlier evaluations that focused on higher education have yet to show such strong effects. These effects are important. Successful entrepreneurs stimulate economic growth, employment and innovation.
Van Praag, Sloof and Rosendahl Huber also looked at developing entrepreneurship knowledge, including knowledge about profit and loss, shares and production. They measured no effect of the programme on the development of this knowledge.
About the ACE
The mission of ACE is to encourage the entrepreneurial climate by means of excellent entrepreneurial education, internationally appreciated research, and outreach. ACE develops, organises, and promotes education which inspires students to engage in ambitious and innovative entrepreneurship.
The ACE is a joint venture of the VU University Amsterdam, UvA, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences and the Hogeschool Inholland, University of Applied Sciences.
The BizWorld Foundation organises entrepreneurship education for children in primary school. In ‘companies’, made up of six pupils, the children learn everything about entrepreneurship from inception to financial reporting, from production to sales and much more.