By Derek Grahn

In the world of student career exploration, which generally focuses on paths toward employment at existing organizations, where does entrepreneurship fit in? Plenty of students feel inclined toward entrepreneurship, and it’s important to nurture that interest just like any other. In fact, doing so can help students successfully pursue a number of career paths (even outside of entrepreneurship itself).

Local Community & Organizations Can Support Entrepreneurial Exploration

In my first year with Golden Path, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit with a lot of great entrepreneurs around the state of North Dakota. I have also run an Entrepreneurship Opportunities course through a partnership with Breckenridge High School, Wahpeton High School, NDSCS – Wahpeton and the Southern Valley EDA. The students in the course are all entrepreneurial-minded juniors and seniors in high school who had the itch to create a business and meet with local business owners along the way.

The class attended a StartUP Brew event in Fargo, learned from local bankers about taking out business loans, heard from a custom knife and gun grip creator whose works have appeared in Hollywood blockbuster movies, listened to a Minnesota governor candidate, and even heard about the start-up process of Golden Path from our CEO, Patrick Mineer! The class culminated with presentations to local community members and business owners in an event that they hosted at City Brew Hall in Wahpeton.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset Benefits Many Career Paths

While Golden Path’s mission has been to help students find their best career fit with many of our local or regional company partners, the overarching goal is to help students find something that they will love to do in their future. Many of these students will become part of the 16.5% of American adults who are entrepreneurs. But the entrepreneurial mindset fits in with many different career paths as well, even for students who do not decide to start their own companies. Employers are constantly looking for these skillsets, and having community partners willing to assist students in their entrepreneurial exploration was incredible.

Back in September, the class attended She Starts Week in Fargo, which focused on assisting women entrepreneurs. Dr. Onnolee Nordstrom, Associate Professor at NDSU, took the students on a visit of the NDSU facilities and was a great host for the students. One of her primary research areas is in entrepreneurship, and she had this to share:

“The entrepreneurial mindset is valued by employers because they understand that it drives innovation and creativity. One of my recent students who had majored in Engineering and minored in Entrepreneurship told me how having entrepreneurship on her resume helped her land her first engineering job. Her employer said that it was her entrepreneurial mindset and skill that set her apart from the other candidates.”