Breaking down entrepreneurial stereotypes: Exposing students' assumptions of what it means to be an entrepreneur
Conference contribution, 2020
“Superhuman” conceptions of entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, stemming from popular media (Drakopoulou Dodd & Anderson, 2007) shape the assumptions of the students when entering entrepreneurship classrooms (Farny, Frederiksen, Hannibal, & Jones, 2016). These stereotypes can be strong and limiting, framing entrepreneurship as attainable only through exceptional skill and talent, and often characterized by exclusively masculine qualities Gupta, Turban, Wasti, & Sikdar, 2009).
The exposure and direct discussion of the stereotypes of entrepreneurs in the classroom can help to expose the assumptions students hold about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship as a profession. The experiential exercise aids to provide students with both an awareness of their own assumptions of entrepreneurs and counter-stereotypical models of real-life entrepreneurs. The exercise builds upon quotes taken from individuals reflecting on their lived perspectives of their identity while becoming entrepreneurs. Through discussion, students (1) compare their own assumptions of entrepreneurs with the quotes provides; (2) discuss the potential profile of the entrepreneurs behind the quotes; (3) explore their new assumptions of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship; and (4) reflect on how their prior and current assumptions of entrepreneurs is relevant to them and their potential to become entrepreneurial.