What Schools Should Be Teaching Entrepreneurs

Today, everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. We’re currently in the golden age of entrepreneurship, where everyone is setting up shop and taking a crack at being the next big CEO like Mark Zuckerberg.

And that’s great, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there, and I think many people underestimate just how much it takes in order to be successful. Those who have the talent and skills, however, will ultimately have a real shot at becoming those next great entrepreneurs.

The problem is that you can’t often learn how to harness those talents or utilize those skills in a classroom, which is a shame because entrepreneurship and business ownership can really help inner cities grow.

As I mentioned in my last article, you can be an entrepreneur anywhere. You don’t have to live in a major city like New York or LA in order to find success. Cities like Newark, Cleveland, and Detroit are just as viable as anywhere else in the country when it comes to starting and scaling a business. But, no matter what city or town you’re in, you have the responsibility to teach the hustle to future generations.

Gerard Adams understands this as well as anybody. The co-founder of Gen Y blog Elite Daily, Gerard started, grew, and sold his business right at home in New Jersey, and now he’s teaching others to do the same.

Bringing Incubators & Accelerators to Inner Cities

Mentorship is a huge aspect for entrepreneurs that can turn beginners into leaders. Gerard, for example, is giving back to his community at scale through his new venture, a “social impact accelerator for entrepreneurs and startups” called FOWNDERS.

Through his company, Gerard is teaching young entrepreneurs the types of skills they don’t often learn in schools: emotional intelligence, leadership, real business skills, and skills in tech and innovation. They’re learning that success stems from something bigger than themselves. That it’s not about money, it’s about purpose.

FOWNDERS is teaching them to seek out great mentors, and to build a team around them that can execute against their goals. To think through their business models early on and work towards growing something that’s economically viable for their community.

“Little by little we’re building out that ecosystem so that [young entrepreneurs] can start in Newark and then stay in Newark, and create real job growth”
— Gerard Adams

It’s About People

Entrepreneurs, no matter how successful, sometimes forget how important it is to give back. And not just give back, but realize that the next generation is listening to us, but also looking to us as leaders.

It’s about leveraging entrepreneurship to make a positive impact in the cities that need it the most.

What’s going to create jobs, what’s going to change education, what’s going to bring crime down is creating businesses and getting people to move back into our communities. Bringing people back and creating opportunity is what’s going to revitalize neighborhoods.

“If you can bridge bringing back those small businesses — the small restaurants, the bagel stores, the cafes — and then also bring in the tech and new industry along with residential, that’s a winning formula,” Gerard said.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you can learn a thing or two from his efforts.

For my full chat with Gerard in Newark, watch my latest episode: