Entrepreneurial Activity – Fast Car

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman is used to introduce concepts surrounding the first steps to entrepreneurial activity.  This particular lesson uses Chapter 3, Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Fourth Edition, Burns (2016) whereby the theoretical components include:

  1. Start-up influences (Triggers to the entrepreneurship process)
  2. Personal character traits of the entrepreneur
  3. Antecedent/ Situational influences to the entrepreneurship process

In particular, this song focuses on the importance of human capital within the entrepreneurial process.  In the song, Chapman sings about “starting from zero”, her job at the convenience store, and how she had to quit school to take care of her father.  In listening to these lyrics, educators can illustrate her lack of financial capital and her need to have an alternative to employment. Further to this, by quitting school, Tracy stopped accumulating the human capital that could have led to better jobs and/or success within an entrepreneurial context.  Given that many argue that human capital constitutes one of the core factors in the entrepreneurial process (Haber and Reichel, 2007), discussion can surround the issue of specific skills, experience and knowledge which increase the likelihood of entrepreneurial success.


Time Activity
5 mins Introduce class and refer to Chapter 3, Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Fourth Edition, (Burns, 2016)(2016) for theoretical component of lesson.
5 mins Watch MP4 of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman which includes music, lyrics and call-outs for student engagement.  This is provided by the authors on CriticalCommons.org for generic educational use.
30 mins Discuss theoretical concepts which could include:

Start-up influences (triggers) to the entrepreneurial process:

1. Employment/ unemployment

2. Economic Opportunity

3. Personal Ambition

Character Traits of entrepreneurs:

1. The need for achievement and independence

2. Internal locus of control

3. Drive, determination and the desire for a better life

4. Creativity and Innovation

5. Internal Locus of Control

6. Acceptance of Risk

Antecedent influences which can help or hinder this entrepreneurial process:

1. Family support

2. Gender/ Age

3. Previous experience and education

4. Networks

5. Social Class

6. Culture/Ethnicity

5 mins Watch song again asking students to think about how her song enforces the theoretical components outlined by Burns (2016)
15-20mins In groups, or individually, ask students to reflect on theory in light of Tracy’s situation and the theory of the chapter.


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