Investing in the Person
By Megan Dolan
I had contemplated titling this post “Why The Possible Project Believes the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is More Important Than The Business Plan In Setting Up Our Students For Future Success,” but I was concerned it didn’t really jump off the screen. I nixed several iterations before realizing the brevity of the current title actually does say it all.
In entrepreneurship, as in life, it truly is what you are made of that determines success.
A recent piece by Rich Leimsider and Cheryl Dorsey for the Harvard Business Review Blog, Entrepreneurs: You’re More Important Than Your Business Plan, focused on the belief that while business planning can be of vast importance to an entrepreneur, it is really the person that should be the focus when one is seeking to invest. This is actually a line often stated by the Co-Founder of our non-profit organization, a venture capitalist who makes decisions on investments on a daily basis. He invests in the person, rather than the business, every time.
This theory helps to explain the work we do here at The Possible Project (TPP). We are a youth development organization that uses entrepreneurship as the vehicle to teach our students necessary skills for future success. Yes, we teach them business skills. Yes, we have a targeted entrepreneurship curriculum. Every student conceives, launches, and runs his or her own venture. Every student participates in one of our two in-house businesses. But, more importantly, we are teaching the skills and characteristics that are part of an entrepreneurial spirit, including leadership, professionalism, self-confidence, resilience, collaboration, and how to use passion to inspire.
As Level Four student Marcus, a junior at Community Charter School of Cambridge, explains, “I am learning how to be the kind of man that others will want to work with and invest in. TPP is helping me figure out what that means and how to get there.”
Many of our students may not become entrepreneurs- and that’s perfectly okay. What they will go on to do is to use their entrepreneurial spirit, which will drive others to invest in them, and that brings success. Knowing how to write a solid business plan is important- and The Possible Project is going to continue to teach our students how to write a great one. However, what will ultimately get us to where we want to go- a program that makes our students more likely to graduate from high school, complete a post-secondary education or training program, and enter a career that will earn a living wage- is helping our students become the people in whom others will want to invest.
Megan Dolan is the Development & Communications Manager at The Possible Project. Megan's career has focused on helping to improve the lives of vulnerable populations. A graduate of Boston College and Georgetown University Law Center, Megan spent eight years working as an attorney before spending several years in a non-legal capacity in the housing and homelessness field. Working with youth has always been a priority for Megan and she has worked as a teacher, tutor, and mentor. Megan also writes literature for children and lives with her husband and two superhero dogs. To learn more about the Possible Project, visit their webpage: www.possibleproject.org.