Price-Babson Symposium Shapes the Future of Teaching Entrepreneurship

Babson Professor teaching entrepreneurship education.

Babson College Professor Heidi Neck suddenly injects a playful twist as she leads her class into a rocket pitch-style countdown—a tension breaker to help presenters shake off any last-minute jitters. 

“All right, everyone, let’s count them down. This time using high voices,” Neck exclaimed, her tone shifting into a Mickey Mouse falsetto. “Three, two, one, pitch!”  

The students, comprised of educators from institutions worldwide, have three minutes to explain their product and win over the crowd using only three slides. It’s the last exercise for the diverse group of 35 educators. They’ve traveled from Australia, Peru, Hong Kong, and France to attend the Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE), where educators are taught how to teach entrepreneurship.  

“The program really showed me the importance of collaboration,” said Edward Kelley, a high school teacher at Culver Academies in Indiana.  

“Working in small groups, we were able to be vulnerable. When you’re vulnerable and then you trust each other, as illustrated this week, a lot more can happen,” Kelley said. “I think once our students, much like I learned here, share more in groups and trust grows, a lot more opportunities of value will emerge.” 

Teaching the Entrepreneurship Teachers 

Educators collaborate during a prototyping exercise as part of Price-Babson Symposium of Entrepreneurship Educators.
Educators collaborate during a prototyping exercise as part of Price-Babson Symposium of Entrepreneurship Educators. (Photo: Nic Czarnecki)

Kelley and his colleagues were wrapping up after 4½ days of the immersive and action-packed symposium, taught by Neck and other thought leaders in entrepreneurship education. The program equips educators with the tools to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in their students and contribute to the development of future entrepreneurial leaders. 

Kelley and his class make up the 50th cohort of SEE. As entrepreneurial education continues to evolve, so does the program. Neck, the Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, wrapped up the presentation exercise with a discussion about the entrepreneurial education-based products pitched.  

“I do this after all my rocket pitches. It always tells us, as a cohort, what’s the most current thinking about the future of entrepreneurship education, and what we need to be focusing on,” Neck said. She noted that most products sought to further connect entrepreneurship students and educators.  

“How do we build community among the entrepreneurship students, among the faculty and everyone in the system?” Neck asked. “I think we’re all trying to figure out how to make entrepreneurship more accessible than ever before.”  

A Global Reach 

The Price-Babson Symposium is part of the Babson Academy for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurial Learning. It has taught more than 3,500 educators from 750 institutions all around the globe. Neck, also the academic director of Babson Academy, has led them all. 

“I think we’re all trying to figure out how to make entrepreneurship more accessible than ever before.”
Heidi Neck, Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurship and Academic Director of Babson Academy

Anh Nguyen, a teaching fellow at Monash University in Melbourne, said the hands-on lessons helped her even beyond entrepreneurship teaching. 

“There were so many experiences that I’ll remember for a long time, but in terms of the big picture, it gave us guidelines to make our courses so much better,” Nguyen said. “It’s kind of a lighthouse that can guide us in teaching or in designing courses, whether the course is in entrepreneurship or any other discipline.” 

Cake celebrating the 50th cohort of Price-Babson SEE
The educators were the 50th cohort of the Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Education. (Photo: Nic Czarnecki)

There’s no one way to teach entrepreneurship, so the program ensures educators experience many ways to approach the material. 

“From an education perspective, not only do we take the message away, but we also learn how the message is delivered,” said John Penn, a teacher at Virginia Beach Public Schools. “Now I’m able to use that to develop my own style of teaching entrepreneurship to my students.” 

The last of the educators filter out of the room to share a final lunch. It’s clear that the program also helped build new friendships, and a new network of like-minded entrepreneurship educators. 

“Not only did I learn from the faculty at Babson, but also from individual participants here. They’re great teachers, they all have their own style, and I’m glad we came together, we connected, and shared our ideas,” Nguyen said. “We just want to make our education better for our students.” 

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