Cultivating Youth Entrepreneurs: the F.R.U.I.T.F.U.L Enterpreneurship Education Curriculum Framework for High Schools

by Michelle D. Dunlap
June 4th, 2022

Youth becoming entrepreneurs during the high school experience is an emerging trend in the United States. Therefore, an education that creates a pathway to success and an investment of capital and other resources to support their innovations and ventures are critical. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the perceived need for entrepreneurship education at the high school level to cultivate youth in becoming entrepreneurs as a viable career option, in the context of Franklin County, Ohio; and discover the elements of an entrepreneurship education curriculum framework for a high school setting. The study involved 84 local participants from three sectors who participated in focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Participant groups included 47 high school students, 34 entrepreneurs/business owners, and three (3) school administrators who are responsible for high school curriculum design, selection, and approval within their school district. The data were collected over the course of four months. The findings show that all three participant groups validate the need for entrepreneurship education in high schools. This study adopts a hybrid description of entrepreneurship education: to develop entrepreneurial traits, motives, attitudes, and competencies of individuals and help them with the specifics of creating a new enterprise.

To ensure the design of a holistic and sustainable framework six findings were essential: the need for and influence of (1) capital investment; (2) experiential learning—student-led/owned business incubators and accelerators; (3) faith/spirituality; (4) ecosystem networks; (5) language interpretation & translation; and (5) parent education. As a result, the F.R.U.I.T.F.U.L. Entrepreneurship Education curriculum framework was designed for high schools. It is a multi-year approach that includes sustainable business incubation and accelerator curriculum to assist students in ideating solutions to real-world problems they care about and subsequently becoming entrepreneurs and the next generation of employers during the high school experience.

Key words: entrepreneurship education; entrepreneurship; high school; youth entrepreneur.