As they roll down the highway home from Entrefest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Victor Hwang and Aaron North, our VPs of Entrepreneurship and Education, have a meta conversation: Is entrepreneurial success found in the journey or the outcome – and what does that mean for those trying to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in students?
Victor Hwang: Is entrepreneurship the journey or the destination? And I think –
Aaron North: Don't say both.
V.H.: Don't say both.
A.N. & V.H.: (Laughs.)
V.H.: I think the answer actually depends on who you ask.
A.N.: Interesting. Okay.
V.H.: So, I think what you're saying is correct for maybe conventional definitions, right?
A.N.: Yeah, the conventional definition is aware.
V.H.: It's a destination. You've made it. You've done it. And you can retire. If you asked the traditional... if you ask the typical entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, the typical venture capitalist in Silicon Valley is the journey or the destination, they would largely say it's the journey.
A.N.: I'd agree.
V.H.: Yeah. And so I think that's actually really interesting take on that, which is people have kind of... they've created this binary definition of what is entrepreneur when in fact really it's a state of mind and a way of being. It's being comfortable with constant change and uncertainty and being able to adapt to it.
A.N. That basket of skills, like adaptability and critical thinking and problem solving. We talk about it so linked to success in a lot of different work environments, but particularly it's called the entrepreneurial skill set or entrepreneurial basket. I still see though when someone says entrepreneurship in education and even in a crowd, like Entrefest, you're going to get a mixed result, and you're going to get a lot of folks who are like, "Oh, this is students learning how to start a business." Or, "It's students learning how to simulate startup."
A.N.: And that's not bad as long as the end goal, like I think in Iowa BIG or like Denver School of Science and Technology's entrepreneurship program, it is the journey. They're teaching students the journey and that, that's just the vehicle for them to learn other things that are applicable in a lot of spaces versus the point is for you to learn how to start something.
A.N.: And that's an interesting space.
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