It is essential to involve external experts for four main reasons:
- To help the students meet the entrepreneurs who already have their experience and can share their best practices, failures and lessons learnt in practice;
- To provide better expertise in the areas in which the school teachers are not specialized (for example, marketing, advertising, making videos, using Photoshop, etc.);
- To give the students professionals’ recommendations and opinion on their business-ideas and products/services;
- To help the students create contacts and find opportunities for their future careers.
In our project the involved experts had the following profiles:
- head of advertising bureau
- video-operator, photographer
- specialist in non-formal learning (workshop on creativity)
- entrepreneurship professor
- a consultant from business incubator
- a researcher of psychology, pedagogy and entrepreneurship
- an inventor- successful businessman
- creative director of an advertising company
It is important that the invited experts would be well-informed about the project goals, activities and expected results, so that their work with the students would be tailor-made and effective. It should be also very practical, so the experts should be involved at the stage when the students have their business ideas and clear objectives to achieve.
How to find the external experts?
- use your personal contacts
- ask the entrepreneurship support services (including business incubators) for help and recommendations
- contact socially active and responsible enterprises in your region
- contact the entrepreneurs who are active on public relations level (for example, they make speeches at TEDx conferences or at other public events)
- discuss with your colleagues – maybe some of the students’ parents are the experts you need
NB! Search for the best ones and don’t be afraid to ask – there is always a chance to get the perfect match for your students!
How to motivate the experts in join if you don’t have a separate budget for it?
- make a brief and attractive description of your project and put very concrete expected objectives for the expert and time allowance (no abstract “porridge”);
- show how their participation will influence the students and their development;
- advertise them in the press disseminating the project activities;
- demonstrate them what stands behind the project (big aims and mission);
- some entrepreneurs can be motivated by a chance to try a new role as an expert for young students;
- it is important to express your gratitude by, for example, a certificate or a warm thanking letter including the participants’ feedback, so that the expert could see that his/her valuable time was spent effectively. A group picture of students and the expert can be also a good idea to thank and recognize the expert’s contribution.