A CULTURE OF CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR ALL? Seeing the big picture, imagining how to do things, changing the world
(Published in the French newspaper La Tribune)
The world of education is looking for innovative ways for young people to find meaning while coming to learn in school and get better grades. Their interest towards these pedagogies put forward, their courses and learning concepts prescribed is essential to the expected success. However, in education, too many things have remained almost unchanged for many years.
In parallel, the development of entrepreneurial skills in students is increasingly recognized around the world (elementary, high school and vocational training), as a promising avenue for student retention and success in school in addition to better preparation of students for their future roles in society.
Entrepreneurship and the global ecosystem
Humans have undertaken endeavors since the beginning of time and have constantly been innovating, almost innately. Their intelligence gave them the eagerness to satisfy their basic needs, improve their quality of life and reduce the difficulty of their work-related efforts, too frequently at any price. An intrinsic behavior, or an obsession, which has made several people (in authority, entrepreneurs, workers), even today, careless towards others, often lacking consideration, and being unconcerned about maintaining the health of the natural environment that feeds us all. For over 60 years, our social models, conditioned by the economic logic in place, accelerated this way of undertaking which proves perilous and, worse, downright unsustainable for the human communities of today and tomorrow. This great concern has been criticized repeatedly for several years by well-known authors, including C. Barrett Brown, Pierre Rabhi, David C. Korten, Jacques Attali, Paul Hawken and others.
The current entrepreneurship model, coupled with the commercialization of cultures, egocentricity and resignation¹ present in the world, dangerously directs nations towards ecological, societal and economic chaos, if it is not accompanied by an appropriate educational model. We indeed live in an interdependent and interconnected world.
The school is the place for hope because it is at the heart of a comprehensive solution to imagine each “school-community”. Acting alone is not the solution. A “school-community” educational strength model must always be created in order to reduce, neutralize the significant threats to our democracies and our societal ideals which reduce the hope for a future where we can generate sustainable economies for communities and humanity. This is what led to the idea of creating a new school, the Conscious Entrepreneurial Community School (ECEC).
Conscious Entrepreneurial Community School
The CECS is first and foremost about the school, the place of education and learning; community within the meaning of a committed educational community for the benefit of students and the human environment (the neighbourhood, the village, the region, the nation or the world) that extends the school walls; conscious entrepreneurship is the awareness of the impact of one’s entrepreneurship model on himself/herself, others (communities), and nature. Each student is empowered, a human DNA dedicated to practicing ethical, socially responsible and humanizing entrepreneurship.
Overall, the CECS is a school-community-socioeconomic environmental ecosystem. It is an all-encompassing educational project. “Its main characteristic is that it is both systemic, entrepreneurial and educational. Its goal is not only to train entrepreneurs interested in profit, but to raise everyone’s consciousness – citizens, policy makers, workers, managers, entrepreneurs, leaders.”² It generates, creates an overall synergy that collectively makes us aware that it is quite possible to teach differently and more globally.
Without changing the curriculum (school curricula), the CECS provides an integrated solution to various school-environments to put forward an educational and pedagogical organization (based on 21 structuring components) that forms a Culture called “conscious entrepreneurship”.
Value Added Education
While continuing the learning related to school subjects, the students who bear this conscious entrepreneurial culture learn to empower themselves (trust themselves, take responsibility and take charge), to undertake projects (identify a need, imagine and develop a solution to satisfy that need) and create innovation (see what has not yet been seen and designed and think outside the box). All this through solutions that contribute to a better quality of life, equitable prosperity, greater social justice, as well as a sustainable future with healthy economical development, growth.
Changing the world … through the school
The ECEC presents a pedagogical approach, PEACE ³, a conscious entrepreneurial learning program, CELP, and is organizationally engineered in the spirit of the student being able to discover – as well as, along with the educational partners – the diversity, the richness and beauty of his/her environment, learning to love it and wanting to contribute to its development. At various times, the student may learn differently at school (both inside and outside the classroom), in order to succeed with his/her life and contribute to society during his/her lifetime. The educator benefits from a supportive administrative and educational environment, which allows him to create pedagogically and add value to his/her life. This teaching and learning model begins in kindergarten and continues until the end of schooling, including vocational training.
It is a school to see beyond frontiers … together; so that many educators, partners, and sometimes students, can come to imagine how to improve the educational environment to learn or to teach in more happiness through conscious entrepreneurship; and to change the world through people who have been transformed and have become enterprising, innovative and conscious entrepreneurs; working for their own benefit as well as that of the human environment they share.
If it is necessary that the school continues its mission to teach reading, writing, mathematics and impart general knowledge, is it not essential, especially today, that it equipped to contribute to the emergence of a conscious entrepreneurial culture for everyone everywhere?
Note: CECS is present in 134 schools in countries located on three continents: North America, Europe and Africa. The International Organization of Conscious Entrepreneurial Community Schools (IOCECS) is an internationalization of the CECS program. In partnership with the Commission scolaire (School Board) Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Montreal (Canada). For more information: www.oiecec.org
Author and founder of the ECEC; Executive director and co-founder of the International Organization of conscious entrepreneurship community schools
¹ Attali, J. (2014). Devenir soi, Paris, France : les Éditions Fayard.
² Pepin, M. (2015). L’École communautaire entrepreneuriale consciente : ses spécificités au regard d’initiatives organisées en milieu scolaire à l’échelle internationale, p. 38. Québec : Centre de recherche et d’intervention sur la réussite scolaire (CRIRES). Online, in French: http://lel.crires.ulaval.ca/public/rapport_ecec2015.pdf
³ Pedagogical and Educational Approach in Conscious Entrepreneurship