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Entrepreneurship (AB)

Subject Area: Social Studies

Link(s) to the Alberta Social Studies Curriculum Outcomes:
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the distinct roles of, and the relationships among, the Aboriginal, French and British peoples in forging the foundations of Canadian Confederation.
  • Assess, critically, the economic competition related to the control of the North American fur trade.
Brief Overview of the Lesson:

The class will learn about two early companies in Canada by reading about the start up of the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Then they will take a quiz to see if they have the personality to be a good entrepreneur.

Estimated Time Required for Implementation:

One class period

Materials Needed:
  • Computer (or printed copies of the articles to read before the class begins).
  • Copies of the Entrepreneur’s Quiz provided (or assess online at: Canadian Foundation Economic Education — Money and Youth — P. 73.75).
Suggested Implementation Strategy:
  • Ask the class what is an entrepreneur?
  • Tell them that today they will be reading about early entrepreneurs in Canada who started the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company.
  • Divide the class in half and tell one half to research online the history of the North West Company. Tell the other half of the class to research online about the history of the Hudson’s Bay.
  • Possible websites are listed below.
  • Explain that they will be sharing what they learned with the other half of the class.

Websites For The North West Company

Websites For The Hudson’s Bay Company

  • Lead a discussion about what the two groups learned about the rivalry between the two companies and the difficulties they encountered.
  • Ask the class if they think they could start up a business. What kind of skills would you need?
  • Hand out copies of the Entrepreneur’s Quiz. It will be taken up and discussed next period.
Options for Consideration:
  • Students may be asked to research one of the companies ahead of time to allow more time for discussion.
Extended Learning Opportunities:
  • Write a biographical sketch about one of the founding members of these companies, e.g. Simon McTavish or Samuel Hearne
  • Research the two companies today and write a report to share with the class.

Entrepreneur’s Quiz

1. Faced with a problem, the entrepreneur is most likely to:
a) go to a close friend for help;
b) get help from a stranger who is known to be an expert;
c) try to work through the problem alone.

2. The entrepreneur is most like the distance runner who runs mainly:
a) to work off energy and to keep in good physical condition;
b) to gain the satisfaction of beating other competitors in the race;
c) to try to better his or her previous time over the distance.

3. Entrepreneurs are motivated most by the need to:
a) achieve a goal of greater personal importance;
b) gain public attention and recognition;
c) control wealth and other people.

4. Entrepreneurs believe the success or failure of a new business venture depends primarily on:
a) luck or fate;
b) the support and approval of others;
c) their own strengths and abilities.

5. If given the chance to earn a substantial reward, which of the following would
entrepreneurs be most likely to do:
a) roll dice with a one in three chance of winning;
b) work on a problem with a one in three chance of solving it in the time given;
c) do neither (a) nor (b) because the chances of success are so small.

6. The entrepreneur is most likely to choose a task:
a) which involves a moderate level of risk but is still challenging;
b) where the risks are high but the financial rewards are also very great;
c) which is relatively easy and the risks low.

7. Money is important to entrepreneurs because:
a) it allows them to develop other ideas and take advantage of other opportunities;
b) monetary measurements provide an objective measure of how successful they have been;
c) the main reason they accepted the risks of starting a new venture was to accumulate personal wealth.

Answers To Quiz

Question 1:
Entrepreneurs do tend to be independent, self-reliant individuals. They may try to work through a problem alone. They do have a high need to achieve. But successful entrepreneurs are not so committed to the purely individual achievement of goals that they will not seek aid. Entrepreneurship is difficult and requires the help of others. Successful entrepreneurs will seek out those who can be most helpful whether they are friends or strangers. The need to achieve will likely be greater than the social need to work with friends. The best choice is (b).

Question 2:
Entrepreneurs often have a tremendous amount of energy and drive, with a capacity to work for long hours. Good general physical health is necessary in order to withstand the stresses of running their own ventures. One of the risks they must evaluate is that their work will likely put physical, social, and emotional strains on them. Few entrepreneurs pursue initiatives for the good of their health although many seem to thrive on the work-related stress. Entrepreneurs tend to compete against standards of achievement they set for themselves rather than standards set for them by others. Entrepreneurs are most like the runner who races to beat the clock. To achieve a new “personal best” time will likely be more rewarding than beating others. The best choice is (c).

Question 3:
Those who are motivated by a need to gain attention, get recognition, and control others are motivated by power. They are more active in political life or large organizations where they concentrate on controlling the channels of communications both up to the top and down to the bottom so that they are more in charge. By contrast, entrepreneurs are motivated more by their need for personal achievement than personal power. Power and power recognition may be the result of success, but they are not the motivating goals. The best answer is (a).

Question 4:
Successful entrepreneurs likely have a high level of self-confidence. They tend to believe strongly in themselves and their own abilities to achieve the goals they set. They also believe that what happens to them in their lives is determined mainly by what they themselves do. They are not reluctant to place themselves in situations where they are personally responsible for the success or failure of an operation. They will take the initiative to solve a problem and provide leadership where none existed before. The best choice is (c).

Question 5:
The entrepreneur is thought of as a risk taker. There are many risks involved in entrepreneurial activity. But psychological testing of entrepreneurs has indicated that they are no more motivated to do something by risk than anyone else. They are not daredevils or reckless gamblers. Successful entrepreneurs are very good at assessing the amount of risk involved in a venture and will choose to accept that risk if they feel their personal chances for success are relatively high. They may well choose to do something when the odds of success are only one in three if they believe they have the abilities and experience needed to succeed. The entrepreneur would most likely choose (b), to work on the problem even though rolling dice is obviously less work. Entrepreneurs avoid situations where the results depend mainly on chance or the efforts of others. The opportunity for personal achievement is more important than the size of the reward offered.

Question 6:
Entrepreneurs tend to be positive, optimistic types who focus their attention on their chances of success rather than the chances of failure. Individuals who fear failure tend to select tasks that are either very easy or where the risk is very high. By selecting an easy task, the chances of failure are reduced. By selecting a task with little chance of success, failure can be rationalized, “Oh well, it was just a long shot anyway.” The entrepreneur avoids both extremes and selects those tasks that are challenging but where the opportunities for success are reasonably good. The best choice is (a).

Question 7:
It is a popular misconception that entrepreneurs are, at heart, greedy, acquisitive individuals who enter into ventures for the purpose of accumulating personal wealth. Such a description would be more aptly applied to some promoter who’s a fast buck artist. Entrepreneurs are driven to build a venture rather than simply to get in and out in a hurry with someone else’s money. They will enjoy the benefits a higher income brings but will usually spend only a portion of their gain on personal consumption. Entrepreneurs are primarily interested in the creation, not the consumption, of wealth. The best choice is (a).