2020 R&D White Paper

Mindset Matters: Encouraging an Entrepreneurial Mindset in K-12 Curriculum

Dr. Andrew Gemino, Bill Roche, Dr. Sarah Lubik


It is widely believed that empowering young people with an entrepreneurial mindset is the key to developing more entrepreneurial behaviour and preparing youth to flourish in our emerging economy. However, little data exists to show if entrepreneurial education actually leads to a more entrepreneurial mindset. This study examines the impact of PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs (PYE), a 6-week educational program offered to students from grades 4 through. The program, offered by a Canadian not-for-profit organization, incorporates project based, experiential learning that fully aligns with best practice in K-12 education. The data for empirical analysis is provided by two student surveys totalling 2453 student participants and an educator survey of 44 teachers in the Surrey and Langley school districts in British Columbia, Canada.

Results from the teacher survey indicate strong support for PYE among educators,
who appreciate the program’s ease of use and value in terms of student engagement. Student survey results indicate the PYE program generates an 11% increase in reported levels of growth mindset in students and significantly increases entrepreneurial skills and capacities. A structural equation analysis also shows that the key to encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour is developing a student’s entrepreneurial mindset. The mindset has 2.5 to 3 times more impact on entrepreneurial behaviour than relevant skills or supportive parental/peer attitudes. While
these latter elements are helpful, the true driving force for entrepreneurial behaviour is the mindset that students develop towards entrepreneurship through the learning process.

This study demonstrates that when encouraging entrepreneurship, mindset matters.

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