THE BLOG
08/14/2014 03:55 pm ET

If the Class of Dreams Was Offered, Would You Enroll?

The class of dreams. Who wouldn't want to take that course? Sign me up.

I just got off the phone (actually Skype) with a woman in Switzerland who is working on her master's theses in which she is developing a concept of entrepreneurship education for primary and secondary schools. She had a well-developed set of questions that allowed me to share all my biases on how we actually should help children learn to be entrepreneurial. (For those of you who work in this area, you realize I just revealed at least three major biases in that last sentence). Aline conducted a great interview because I think I walked out learning as much as she did. She's been looking at programs around the world and found what I think is a lovely and thoughtful example.

A school in Brazil has launched the "class of dreams." My understanding from Aline is that the students are in this class for two hours a week for the full school year. The learning objectives for the course were for the children to learn how to dream and to learn how to realise their dream. At the end of the year, students would present what they had undertaken, what worked, and what didn't work. To me this is a thing of beauty.

What else might we take away from this other than an interesting class for Brazilian children? My bias again is that this is the way we should we looking at entrepreneurship education at all levels. And all economic developers should have to take this course. And policy makers. And...... Here is why. The Class of Dreams was actually built on a model designed to change the cultural approach of the social system and connect people that aren't usually connected, as Louis Filion and Fernando Dolabela would suggest, people like teachers, economic development officers and political leaders.

Over the past few months I've had many discussions with people from all kinds of organizations who want to help entrepreneurs. Almost always it is about how to build the business. In reality, it's about how to help people develop and then they build businesses. For the 10,000 Small Businesses program we purposefully selected a founding definition of the ability to identify opportunities, organize resources, and provide the leadership to create something of value. The value to be created is the dream, someone's personal dream. Since we are also an economic development program, part of that dream is about increased revenues and job creation. But there is always so much more. It's usually what they want to do with their lives. Rhys wants to change the way school kids eat. Travis wants his pub to be a community hub. Payal would like to help contribute toward curing cancer. Let's face it, being entrepreneurial is the only way to advance toward those dreams.

Don't you wish that when you were a kid your school reaffirmed your belief that anything was possible ?

Dream On(ward).

Patricia is the National Academic Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.

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