Are schools limiting our children’s entrepreneurial potential?

Published on Dec 07, 2019 by Spencer on Entrepreneurship, Education, Learning


My son’s at secondary school and he was doing some homework via an app on his computer the other day that instantly caught my attention. You see, I’m always interested in little bits of learning technology, even though I’m not a teacher anymore. It’s still really fascinating to know what’s happening in schools. And so this app was about reading comprehension and increasing vocabulary. It reads out loud different excerpts of text.

One excerpt was all about Richard Branson which was funny timing, because I was talking about Branson recently with regards to entrepreneurial mindset. The thing is, it really started to frustrate me because it was focusing in on this word ‘knack’. It said that Richard Branson has a knack for coming up with ideas and that he has a knack for being an entrepreneur as he’s started all of these businesses. This really grated on me because the impression that I got from app was that he has the knack to come up with business ideas but a lot of other people don’t have the knack to do it.

It’s a kind of fixed mindset that schools seem to be imposing on people, without them really knowing it.

After all, the app is supposed to be about English comprehension, reading and vocabulary. Yet, it reinforces this message that some people have certain abilities and certain traits and other people don’t. I think that’s just fundamentally wrong.

I spoke to my son a little bit about this and he was really firmly of the opinion that some people can be business people/entrepreneurs and some people can’t.

I was really shocked and horrified that, even at the early age of 11, he’s started to limit himself by picking up this belief that some people can do certain things and others can’t.

The classic example of this belief is creativity with regards to drawing and painting. There’s quite a widely held belief that some people can express themselves artistically and others just can’t.

I was disappointed that this type of thing was being perpetuated in the next generation via an app that was supposed to be teaching English and it’s just awful that it’s happening and most people don’t even realise it.

To tell the truth, this topic is really close to my heart because it’s actually something I grew up believing in myself.

I used to think that I wasn’t creative. I used to think that I wasn’t entrepreneurial. But that’s kind of changed in the last 10 years or so where I started to explore more of my own ideas and I’ve found out that I could do some of these things.

And that even though I didn’t think I had this ‘knack’, the fact is, I am able to do it. I am an entrepreneur and I’m doing creative work. So I really wanted to bring that home to my son in a short story about myself rather than kind of saying, “no, you can do it.”

I don’t think this type of message is being share enough in schools or even more broadly than that in society. That’s why I wanted to write this post and share it with others because I want people to think about areas of their life where they might be limiting themselves from trying new things just because they don’t see themselves as ‘creatives’ or ‘entrepreneurs’.

Are you limiting yourself from being creative or entrepreneurial? What’s holding you back? How might you find ways to challenge yourself?

This post was inspired by the Episode 3 of The Spen & Nick Show - Spen’s Fixed Mindset Epiphany.

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