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Gallup survey: most of today's students 'think like entrepreneurs'

Many middle and high-school-age students have entrepreneurial aspirations and energy that could help drive future job creation in the country -- if it can be encouraged.
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Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

Perhaps inspired by figures such as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or perhaps all too aware of the struggling job market ahead, a majority of today's school-age kids aspire to be entrepreneurs. Not only that, more than two out of five want to make a difference in the world in the process. However, our educational system may be doing an inadequate job of preparing students for this career path.

That's the results of a new Gallup survey, conducted among 1,721 students in grades 5 through 12, and  released in partnership with Operation HOPE.

Many students in the U.S. have entrepreneurial aspirations and energy that could help drive future job creation in the country, the survey finds. Nearly 8 in 10 students (77%) in grades 5 through 12 say they want to be their own boss, 45% say they plan to start their own business, and 42% say they will invent something that changes the world.

The majority of students also demonstrate persistence and are willing to assume risk -- both of which are qualities typically characteristic of entrepreneurs. Most students say they are not afraid to take risks, even if failure is a possibility (91%), that their mind never stops (91%), and that they never give up (85%).

U.S. Students' Entrepreneurial Mindset

However, only half of the respondents say their schools provide classes in starting or financing businesses.  Gallup comments on the urgency of more education in entrepreneurship, noting that "given the slow pace of the U.S. economic recovery and persistent unemployment and underemployment rates, developing the entrepreneurial attitudes and experience of young people is critical to helping them grow up to be productive workers who ultimately help to create jobs."

Entrepreneurial agendas seem to be in short supply at the college level as well. Visionary Seth Godin, for one, set up his own alternative MBA program a couple of years back, opining that "it amazes me that MBA students around the world aren’t up in arms. How can schools justify taking $100,000 in cash and teaching exactly the wrong stuff?"

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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