Without Action, It isn’t Entrepreneurship

Posted By: Dr. Caron Sada NACCE Blog,

Now that we’ve been talking about entrepreneurial mindset and behaviors for quite a while, it’s time to challenge ourselves to actually become entrepreneurial and create more entrepreneurial experiences for students and each other. If we believe that there is transformational opportunity within entrepreneurial mindset and behaviors, then our students, organizations, and communities need us to be skilled at meaningful action so possibilities can be realized for those we care about and serve.

Putting Knowledge into Action

Knowing about entrepreneurship is good. When we read books, attend lectures, and tell others what we think is important under the broad topics of innovation and entrepreneurship, that’s useful content. But without putting this knowledge into action both in terms of making our institutions more entrepreneurial and providing our students with entrepreneurial opportunities, we are missing a vital piece of what higher education should provide for our students and the communities we serve.

When we’re thinking about entrepreneurship, we can describe how more traditional mindsets contrast with entrepreneurial mindset. We can use our critical thinking skills to evaluate various definitions and theories of entrepreneurship. We can even create, or decide to buy, more inspiring content that helps us share what we know and think with others. That’s all good, too. But again, it’s not enough.

Consider this: if a student took a ceramics class and only listened to lectures about ceramics, how long would it take for the student to lose interest and drop the class? It wouldn’t be acceptable to anyone to enroll in a ceramics class and not get to play with the clay! Yet, in many instances, campus “entrepreneurship” is still relegated to lectures and guest speaker topics for students (who often accept passive learning as “normal”). Also, within our organizations, “entrepreneurship” is often tossed around as a buzzword during meetings along with other terms like “leveraging” and “scaling.” As ceramics students need to create their first works of art through experience, entrepreneurship learners (including us) need to create our ventures experientially. We must take action. 

Creating Real Change

When we go further and we know, think and DO entrepreneurship that is how the real change, transformation, and unpredictably amazing results occur. Faculty and innovation leaders who are teaching entrepreneurship in new and exciting ways are doing some of the most galvanizing work around the world. Many of these entrepreneurial leaders will share their experiences and results at NACCE’s annual conference October 13-16 in Newport Beach, California. We’ll hear about what colleges are doing to creatively infuse entrepreneurial behaviors throughout disciplines and cocurriculars for students. It will be enlightening to learn more about makerspaces and their new approaches to engagement. And, there will be leaders present from diverse communities who can teach us about how they’ve partnered on workforce and economic development initiatives. This varied and powerful international action taking place can grow as each of us chooses to do entrepreneurship on our home campus and within our college systems. 

Thinking is good.

Knowing and thinking is better.

Knowing, thinking and DOing is best and has the potential to change individual lives, organizations and communities.


Dr. Caron Sada

Residential Faculty

Paradise Valley Community College