What if we gave education an entrepreneurial facelift?

Remember that time you thought it would be a good idea to ‘double down’ at the blackjack table? Risk can hurt.

It’s no wonder that universities shy away from teaching risk, but what if the education system embraced it? And not your cliché ‘touch the stove’ type of risk – the calculated, rewarding risk that translates into an entrepreneurial badge of honour. What if we gave education an entrepreneurial facelift?

Take a step back and imagine this  – the syllabus is officially passed out and instead of the usual week-by-week breakdown of theory and deadlines, students are REQUIRED to get comfortable being uncomfortable – they cannot pass until they fail and bounce back. 

But here’s the kicker, this curriculum can’t just be taught in the classroom, and no, it can’t be accomplished with an internship at your uncle’s local dealership either. It must be done on a global scale. For any aspiring entrepreneur, it’s necessary to 'act' global. As local markets become increasingly saturated and competitive, globally-scalable companies will ultimately win the day.

Image courtesy of Sage Corps

Howard Tullman, CEO of Chicago-based start-up incubator 1871, says it himself: "By maintaining a global focus from the earliest stages of a business, entrepreneurs ensure that their companies are prepared to scale internationally and are well-positioned to address foreign competition and fast followers from abroad."

Since 2013, 1871 start-up, Sage Corps, has bridged the gap between education and entrepreneurship by sending college students to work at startups around the world. 75 fellows (students) have stepped outside the safety of a classroom and into a very real, unpredictable and inspiring environment - the global startup ecosystem. 

University students don't need another study abroad program, they need a global experience that accelerates their career development

Sageanne Senneff, a UC Santa Cruz math and science senior had her path significantly changed after joining a Sage Corps’ cohort. Through her experience, Sageanne combined her trained intelligence with self-manifested passion to develop the social app, Comrade – the app winning her third place at Startup Weekend Dublin.

“Nothing I could've learned in the classroom would've prepared me for building a start-up. The two most important things that have carried me on my journey thus far are ambition and resilience”, said Sageanne.

Sageanne’s drive and determination were not learned from a textbook, but from a 'get-your-hands-dirty' experience.

Image courtesy of Sage Corps

Whether students major in religious studies, business, or computational math, universities must invest ‘practice’ into what they teach to see this type of return. So, to our future students and budding entrepreneurs – Are you ready to ‘double down’? 

- This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Sage Corps is a global entrepreneurship program that sends top college students and post-grads abroad to work with tech start-ups. Learn more about the organisation and their entrepreneurial programs here. 


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