Apprenticeships in Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” — Peter Drucker

The University of Ottawa Entrepreneurship Hub is experimenting with a novel approach to entrepreneurship education that espouses an apprenticeship-style of learning. We believe that adopting an apprentice-based model of entrepreneurship education will help students develop essential 21st century skills, embrace continuous learning, and transform themselves as change “makers” and opportunity creators.

Apprenticeships in Entrepreneurship is About Talent Development not Venture Launch

At the University of Ottawa, we see entrepreneurship as something more than just teaching the techniques of launching a business (i.e., Entrepreneurship 101). As a practice, entrepreneurship embodies both creative and critical thinking combined with a propensity for taking risks and action, and trial-and-error experimentation. And with practice, one can continually hone his/her entrepreneurship skills so as to master both the critical and creative aspects of transforming an idea into reality.

The Imperative of Rapid Technological Change

In an era of rapid change marked by accelerating technological development, the half-life of any given skill is decreasing at a faster rate than any other time in modern history. It is thus an imperative that a 21st century entrepreneurship education introduce students to some of the latest digital technologies and tools disrupting sectors across the economy. The democratization (and accessibility due to the low-cost) of these tools means that people no longer needs to be experts to make productive use of new technologies.

Besides furthering the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, apprenticeship-style education permits students to gain mastery of new technological tools, acquire 21st century skills and integrated work-learning experiences valued by employers.

Luc Lalande is the (former) Executive Director of the University of Ottawa Entrepreneurship Hub

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