How Not to Learn Entrepreneurship
Morning coffee in hand, I walked from the convent this morning out into the sprawling hilltop campus here in tropical countryside of Western Uganda. I pass by the young man who makes the chapatis and greet him, “Chipati Man! Ay!”
After conversing I’ve got a new word for the day. “Olira” in the Rotoro language means Have you eaten?
There are many students studying in the morning sunshine all over campus. I greet some of my student friends, and then ask them if they’ve eaten. But for sure they’ve eaten! They wake at 4am here for studies. At 7am they take their porridge made from corn. Same routine Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday they sleep in until 6am or so.
Rugimba’s younger brother, also named Rugimba, calls out to me. I go and greet him, and remark how fortunate he is to study in the midst of such stunning nature. I see what he and his friend are reading, a book about Entrepreneurship. “Can I see?”
He hands me the book and I scan through it. It’s full of business terms and their descriptions, and that’s it. I learn their job is to memorize the information to pass the exams, and I feel a fire rising in my chest. This is no way to learn the joy of entrepreneurship! It’s the way to kill any possible passion for it.
I don’t want to criticize the way they are teaching kids here, but I feel I have to say something. I have to do something. I tell Rugimba there’s a much more fun and exciting way to learn entrepreneurship. And that’s by just starting a small service business, and then studying about entrepreneurship. This way everything you learn has the potential to help grow your business.
But talk is cheap. That’s why we’ve been working hard to get computers and Internet here at this school of 600 village kids, and when that happens, they’ll have the world at their fingertips–and they’ll have the opportunity to engage in business through the Internet.
Wait til these kids make their first dollar through a computer! Entrepreneurship will suddenly become exciting. Help us make this happen!