Wanted: Entrepreneurs

nerd is the new cool

“True entrepreneurs are rare—and getting rarer. Yet it is crucial to our economy and national security that we find them,” says Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, whose company closely watches social trends.

“Without a growing entrepreneurial economy, there are no new good jobs,” he says. “We are focused on innovation. But what we need are entrepreneurs to turn innovations into products, revenue, jobs, and economic growth.”

What happens when super-charged entrepreneurs have the key attributes of psychology and talent? Economic growth. These exceptional entrepreneurs are three times more likely to build large, successful businesses, four times more likely to create jobs, and four times more likely to exceed profit goals. Entrepreneurial learning is a strategy for economic growth.

An untapped reservoir of future entrepreneurial talent exists in our midst—the millions of girls who could form part of the movement. Developing our daughters’ entrepreneurial skills is crucial for our country’s future leadership. We can’t lead the world with our girls relegated to the sidelines. We need them to pursue STEM fields with a growth mindset, knowing that their creativity, hard work and perseverance will make a difference.

Doesn’t it make sense to teach entrepreneurial skills to girls? It’s smart economic policy to provide hands-on entrepreneurial experiences that sparks girls’ interest in technology and other high-growth fields. By doing so, the U.S. can grow the number of potential future high tech entrepreneurs by 60% to 80%. The numbers will improve as each age cohort matures into young women—millennials and the generations of girls who will follow.

Already we are seeing what happens when we empower girls and women to shatter stereotypes. General Motors has its first female CEO, Mary Barra. Megan Smith has been the nation’s Chief Technology Officer. Both of these women were educated as mechanical engineers.

Young women are challenging the entrenched male culture of Silicon Valley, and are making their voices heard. They’re also finding support among men. Women worldwide challenge ridiculous sexist attitudes in virtual forums like #distractinglysexy and #Ilooklikeanengineer.

Women in computing across industries from around the world find one another at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. More women are entering the world of game design. Women’s ESTEAM professional organizations are tackling obstacles to girls and women with fresh energy. Women professionals are stepping up in unprecedented numbers to mentor young women.

With exposure to computer science, elementary school girls are becoming “girls who code.” Mothers and fathers are helping their daughters navigate STEAM. Nerd is the new cool as robots proliferate and coding becomes empowering. Instead of insidiously discouraging students, colleges are encouraging women in quantitative studies.

Progress is occurring because of conscious action, and because we are getting smarter about what works.

I’d love to hear about your experiences in helping the girls in your life discover STEAM and navigate the processes so that they can embrace these subjects. Thank you for sharing!

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