Entrepreneurs

"One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don't choose your passions; your passions choose you."

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This Business English lesson plan on entrepreneurs has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Everybody at some point has contemplated the possibility of quitting their 9-to-5 job to start their own business. The dream is surely to be your own boss, come and go from the office as you please, and take however many holidays you desire. But becoming an entrepreneur can be as demanding, if not more so, than working for a company. Sure, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates seem to have done well for themselves, but for every Jeff and Bill, there are thousands who tried and failed. In this Business English lesson plan on entrepreneurs, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the pros and cons of starting their own business and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Investopedia | 5 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

The article looks at the rise of Michael Bloomberg, one of New York’s most successful entrepreneurs, to analyse what he did right to become so successful. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they add any more characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk by Mark Leruste called “What they don’t tell you about entrepreneurship” which talks about the reality of becoming an entrepreneur that many people don’t realise.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including whether it is better to be an employee or a business owner, which of the students’ passions they could turn into a business idea, and what core business skills will be important for starting a business.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with entrepreneurs such as be your own boss, setback and side hustle. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about entrepreneurs. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as well-known entrepreneurs, the benefit of entrepreneurs to society and the personal demands faced by entrepreneurs.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write an elevator pitch for a business idea they have (or can think of). The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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