We live in a rapidly changing world. Today, it is clear that to be successful and relevant, we must constantly evolve and innovate as individuals and organizations.
Galit Zamler, a serial entrepreneur who developed the Vickathon venture for leading experiential hackathons, finds that hackathon events are an effective and engaging way to achieve both of these goals.
Furthermore, she says: "Studies have shown that innovations that originate from the bottom up are more likely to become part of an organization than those implemented top-down. And that's exactly what hackathons do."
For those who are unfamiliar with the term hackathon, we will explain:
Hackathons aim to involve participants working in teams and delivering creative solutions to challenges presented to them. The events typically last from several hours to a few days. Solution-finding comes from participants, such as employees, suppliers, customers, etc., who know the organization and are often better at recognizing what needs to be done to meet challenges than managers.
A hackathon event takes place in the format of encouraging competition. It involves lectures, workshops, teamwork, pitching ideas, and selecting the best ideas for implementation.
In the hackathon, participants demonstrate many skills from the entrepreneurship domain, including teamwork, asking questions, research, creativity, persuasion, storytelling, standing in front of an audience, meeting deadlines, and more. Hence Galit Zamler's interest in hackathons, not only because the teams emerge with innovative ideas that can promote the organizations, but also because participants benefit and grow individually and as a group.
Due to this combination, hackathons are significant and valuable events for both the participants and the organization.
Check out Galit Zamler's tutorial video on what hackathons are? What do they involve? And why should you host one? (In Hebrew)
Along with its impressive achievements, Israel acts and strives to preserve its place as an entrepreneurial state. For this to succeed, Israel nurtures the future generation and prepares it for a dynamic world where constant change is our new reality.
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in improving the country's economy, increasing employment, and reducing unemployment. Hence, investment in entrepreneurship education from an early age is worthwhile because it has a real payoff at the national level.
Sometimes the question arises, why study entrepreneurship? If indeed the State of Israel is an entrepreneurial country with many Israeli successful entrepreneurs, then maybe there is no need to educate for entrepreneurship and instill an entrepreneurial mindset in kids.
Before you continue reading, we should note that entrepreneurship education is much more than an entrepreneurship course. It is a deeper version related to the way of thinking and behaviors that are acquired through a long process of learning in varied ways, experimenting, empowering, and mentoring.
Educating students on entrepreneurship does not mean everyone should be entrepreneurs. In practice, most adults are employees, but the qualifications that are learned through the entrepreneurial learning process are critical skills for the success of everyone, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur. We are all witnessing the development of technology that will lead to machines replacing workers who lack entrepreneurial skills in the future.
Among the benefits of entrepreneurship studies from an early age in schools are:
- Adapting the education system to the 21st century and making schools relevant to our time.
- Making the benefits of entrepreneurship accessible among disadvantaged populations such as those of low socioeconomic status thus contributes to reducing socioeconomic disparities.
- Developing entrepreneurial skills in schools equally among boys and girls will reduce the gap between men and female entrepreneurs.
- At a personal level, entrepreneurship studies are vital to empowering children, giving them the confidence they can achieve in whichever path they choose, regardless of their academic achievements (although fostering entrepreneurial skills certainly encourages learning and curiosity to explore).
- Providing education on entrepreneurship and exposure to various types of ventures encourages young people to make their mark on the world. By doing so, we open their eyes and help them understand the potential of entrepreneurship and self-fulfillment.
- Fear of failure is one of the factors that drive young people to pursue entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship studies help understand that failure is part of the learning and development process. As long as we learn from it and take away lessons, it should be considered as a way to gain experience.
Professor Dan Shechtman, Israeli Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, supported our perspective. He said: "Entrepreneurship studies are vital to any country that wants to survive the world whose natural resources rapidly deplete."
Galit Zamler believes that entrepreneurship education should begin at an early age. Hence, in 2009 she created an entrepreneurship program for kids and youth as an enrichment program for schools. The program has been taught in dozens of schools across Israel, as well as in the US, China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, South Africa, and more.
The program is listed in the GFN database of the Israeli Ministry of Education, and its number is 1741.
The program imparts life skills to the younger generation and prepares them for successful integration into a rapidly changing world. The importance of teaching these skills to students has been increasingly realized in the education system in Israel and around the world in recent years.
In the Entrepreneurship Program, principals and teachers with no experience in entrepreneurship are encouraged to serve as mentors to students while imparting relevant knowledge to young entrepreneurs, along with entrepreneurial experience, enjoyment, and belief in their ability to succeed.
In order to instill entrepreneurial skills in young people, we should, on the one hand, expose them to creative ideas, inventions, innovation processes, and entrepreneurs and, on the other hand, support them and enable them to realize ideas for their ventures and initiatives.
Galit Zamler's entrepreneurship program allows focusing on any area of entrepreneurship that the school/teachers/students choose. This can be social, environmental, scientific, technological, business, etc.
As part of the program, students learn to identify opportunities, propose ideas for projects, plan out the implementation of projects, take responsibility, set and achieve goals, collect and analyze relevant information, convince others of their minds, believe in themselves and their abilities, deliver compelling speeches in public, make financial calculations, be sensible consumers, solve problems, be creative, work as part of a team, develop social skills, develop independent and positive thinking and much more.
The program encourages students to develop entrepreneurial competence through a meaningful and experiential learning process by using lectures, discussions, presentations, videos, exercises, and, most notably, executing projects developed by the students themselves.
As part of this program, students gain both theoretical and practical knowledge of entrepreneurship and experience in implementing their own projects. Combining teaching skills with practical experience and mentoring by teachers prepare students to succeed in whatever path they choose.
It is possible and correct to educate children in entrepreneurship from an early age, with the belief that most entrepreneur skills can be acquired. Environment plays an important role in this process and influences the individual greatly. Schools can provide this type of environment.
Watch Galit Zamler's lecture at the Open University Entrepreneurship Club, telling her story of the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program and its impact in Israel and around the world (In Hebrew).
The guiding principle in promoting the program in schools is that the future of each country and its citizens depends mainly on the education, tools, and skills we provide to our children.
Like Janusz Korczak said:
He who cares for days - sows wheat
He who cares for years - plants trees
He who cares for generations- educates people
What Is on the Site and Who Is It for?
On this website, you may find a lot of information on how to lead hackathons, with examples from hackathon events we led in organizations and educational institutions.
Also, those who aspire to be entrepreneurs will find a set of qualities and skills required of an entrepreneur to succeed on this website. To illustrate each of these skills, we added examples of various entrepreneurs and initiatives from Israel and worldwide. We hope website visitors will not only learn how to be entrepreneurs but also be inspired to become ones.
Personally, the information on the site helped Galit Zamler take inspiration from other entrepreneurs and overcome crises that she experienced with the various projects that she led and was part of.
There is also a lot of information about the entrepreneurship program for children and youth that Galit Zamler has developed. Those who understand the importance of entrepreneurship education from an early age will find on this website an assortment of online content, applications, and examples of entrepreneurship education for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools (k-12).
Now It's Your Turn
Galit Zamler has extensive experience organizing hackathons in organizations and educational institutions to promote bottom-up innovation.
Feel free to contact Galit Zamler to plan your event.
And the educators among you, who realize the importance of entrepreneurial education from an early age, are welcome to contact Galit Zamler and get details so that you too can teach the EFK program at your school and prepare your students for life.