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Education for Enterprise

Education for enterprise.

Education for Enterprise (E4E) is about promoting an approach to learning – one that is real, relevant, and gives students responsibility for their learning. In this section, find out more about why an enterprising approach to learning could benefit your students, and how to develop an E4E approach in your school.

About E4E

The Ministry of Education define Education for Enterprise as:

"...a teaching and learning process directed towards developing in young people those skills, competencies, understandings, and attributes which equip them to be innovative, and to identify, create, initiate, and successfully manage personal, community, business, and work opportunities, including working for themselves".

It is about how we teach across the curriculum and how we get our students to take ownership of their learning. Education for Enterprise is not a discrete subject but provides learning experiences that encourage young people to be active participants in their learning.

It could include learning experiences that:

  • give all students opportunities to think and act in an enterprising way across the curriculum and/or in specific learning areas
  • put a clear focus on the key competencies and, in particular, "enterprising attributes"
  • give students opportunities to demonstrate the transfer of skills and knowledge into new contexts
  • give students opportunities to engage with local businesses and community on a real project
  • allow students to take risks
  • are entrepreneurial.

Why focus on Education for Enterprise?

  • Enterprising learners lead enterprising lives.
  • An enterprising approach to learning develops enterprising, successful New Zealanders.
  • Enterprising learning is relevant and authentic.
  • Community partnerships are central to enterprising learning.

Context for Education for Enterprise

Education for Enterprise enhances what, and how, young people learn to enable them to participate and contribute locally and globally and meet the demands of a rapidly changing world environment.

Education for Enterprise is an approach as well as a context for teaching and learning. It involves acquiring knowledge across the eight curriculum learning areas and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum, and promotes effective teaching practice.

Education for Enterprise can play a central role in achieving the direction set out in the New Zealand Curriculum and prepare our students to meet future challenges by utilising 21st century-focused learning approaches.

Changes in New Zealand society

Our school leavers are likely to have a number of different jobs and roles over their lifetime, and with the emergence of more flexible working patterns, how they work is changing too.

Increasing, importance is being placed on communication and interpersonal skills, with all young people requiring the abilities to be flexible and to change.

This demands different and innovative approaches to learning that may vary from successful approaches used in the past.

New and innovative learning approaches might involve:

  • building learning capacity for an unknown future
  • new knowledge generation
  • authentic tasks
  • building competencies
  • foregrounding intellectual skills
  • having multiple learning pathways
  • self-efficacy, self-motivation, risk taking.

Why is a new approach to learning important?

  • Changes in society and the economy
  • "Fast capitalism" – niche markets and the ability to rapidly change to meet/drive changing consumer needs and values
  • Less hierarchical workplace structures
  • New ways of working
  • New ideas about knowledge
  • No jobs for students who are "failed"
  • Schools no longer the main source of knowledge
  • We do not know what is needed for the future.

The New Zealand Curriculum and Education for Enterprise

The New Zealand Curriculum offers an opportunity for schools to meet students’ individual needs and aspirations, and to respond to local needs. This flexibility provides conditions for the growth of Education for Enterprise in schools.

The New Zealand Curriculum encourages schools to engage with communities and open pathways for learning. Partnerships with business and other community groups give students authentic learning experiences to develop values, knowledge, and competencies to live full and satisfying lives.

Schools design and shape their own curriculum to provide students with learning opportunities that achieve the vision the school sets for its students. How Education for Enterprise is integrated into teaching and learning programmes is up to individual schools.

The case studies demonstrate different ways schools throughout New Zealand are approaching Education for Enterprise.

They have used various foci:

  • School-wide focus – on which all teaching and learning programmes are based
  • A particular area of the school or curriculum
  • Programme focus
  • Group focus

Benefits of the Education for Enterprise approach

Education for Enterprise is about promoting an approach to learning – one that is realrelevant, and gives students responsibility for their learning.

Benefits for schools

Education for Enterprise provides opportunities for students to link their learning to "real-life" situations. It combines classroom learning and participation in the broader community, including the world of business, and reinforces the relevance and value of what is learned in the curriculum. To be effective, Education for Enterprise is best embedded across the curriculum of the school.

The vision of the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) states the challenges for schools in preparing young people who will:

  • be creative, energetic, enterprising, and entrepreneurial
  • contribute to the well-being of New Zealand
  • seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for our country.

Education for Enterprise provides students with opportunities to:

  • become engaged in their learning through school/community partnerships
  • apply their curriculum knowledge and skills to real contexts
  • use initiative and be resourceful
  • gain NCEA credits at the same time as developing the key competencies in senior secondary schooling
  • have a better understanding of the world outside school.

Students leave school equipped with enterprising attributes that empower them to stand tall as New Zealanders, seize opportunities, overcome obstacles, and make a positive contribution to their community.

Education for Enterprise offers opportunities for schools to:

  • develop closer links with their community, including business
  • foster partnerships that will turn into long-term relationships with community and business enterprises
  • widen access to a broad range of contexts and teaching and learning resources for developing students' knowledge and key competencies
  • access NZQA and industry-recognised qualifications for senior students.

Benefits for community

Schools work in partnership with community and business to embed enterprise in the culture of the school and display it in leadership, teaching and learning, and all areas of school life.

Students gain an appreciation of the importance of business in New Zealand society and develop the skills, attitudes, and desire to participate in it.

  • Business can share skills and knowledge, and build their understanding of curriculum through involvement with local schools.
  • Communities see that students are actively contributing to the well-being of their communities.

"… it's our creativity and innovative ideas that set us apart. It's the thinking that makes us different".

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise 

Enterprising attributes

These attributes represent many of the competencies that the business community is now demanding of graduates. They align to the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Attributes of enterprising students

The Building Enterprising Students Today (BEST) project has developed materials that provide a rich context for students to develop and practice enterprising skills.

  • Generating, identifying and assessing opportunities
  • Identifying, assessing and managing risks
  • Collecting, organising and analysing information
  • Generating and using creative ideas and processes
  • Identifying, solving, and preventing problems
  • Identifying, recruiting, and managing resources
  • Matching personal goals and capabilities to an undertaking
  • Working with others and in teams
  • Being flexible and dealing with change
  • Negotiating and influencing
  • Using initiative and drive
  • Monitoring and evaluating
  • Communicating and receiving ideas and information
  • Planning and organising
  • Being fair and responsible 

(BEST is an Education for Enterprise initiative developed by the Ministry of Education for years 1–8 students.)

Principles and values of curriculum design

The New Zealand Curriculum outlines the principles that guide school curriculum planning and the values that schools should encourage, model, and explore. These principles apply to the design and delivery of programmes using Education for Enterprise as a context.


  • Do you have an evaluation process to determine whether focusing on Education for Enterprise in your teaching and learning programmes would meet the expectations of the NZC principles?

Values in the school curriculum

The values set out in the New Zealand Curriculum encourage schools to work together with their community to express these values through the school curriculum and everyday actions and interactions.

"Innovation, inquiry, and curiosity" have been highlighted as values that have widespread support in New Zealand society. Other values are also important to individual schools and their communities.

Education for Enterprise provides a relevant context for schools to provide learning experiences that develop students’ abilities to: 

  • express their own values
  • explore the values of others
  • make and act on ethical decisions.


  • What school values are the most appropriate to focus on through Education for Enterprise?
  • In what ways do these values influence your planning in Education for Enterprise?
  • What are the school’s expectations regarding gaining evidence of students developing these values through the curriculum and interactions in the classroom, the school, and the community?

Use the template "NZC and E4E: Key actions for change" to consider issues around curriculum design.

Introduction to Education for Enterprise

Published on: 16 Feb 2015