July 2, 2015: Thursday Friday news roundup

The news roundup comes a day early this week, as we take tomorrow off to celebrate July 4th. Have a fun, festive, and safe holiday weekend!

The fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America
The typical narrative about entrepreneurs these days focuses on a young male building an app — and we wish those startup dreamers lots of success. But this new report will make you rethink your assumptions. In fact, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74% between 1997 and 2015—a rate that’s 1.5 times the national average. And the number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.

College must become more accessible and affordable — so here’s a start
We agree wholeheartedly with this article’s premise — that making college ever more exclusive and expensive won’t generate the number of qualified workers our economy needs. Yet that trend persists. We’re always interested in hearing how others are innovating in the education space, in this case by launching the Global Freshman Academy to let people take an entire freshman year’s worth of open online courses for credit.

Build it and they will come will not close the opportunity gap
Another perspective on closing the opportunity gap — extending access to quality education to lower-income students — holds that technology can only go so far in leveling the playing field. Companies also need to provide access to the technology itself. Then they need to offer support and encouragement to students who might not even know what learning options are open to them or how to make best use of these new tools and resources.

Does music give you math skills?
If the thought of math makes you break out in hives, you’re not alone. Maybe you should be cultivating your musical side to help get more comfortable around numbers. This research looked at how musical training and ability may be correlated with improved cognitive function in other areas.

100 percent is overrated
If you’re not a “math person” OR a musician, that’s okay too. As this article points out, “what matters for improving performance is that a person is challenged, which requires a mindset that is receptive to being challenged—if not actively seeking out challenge and failure.” If you want to learn and grow, you should be prepared to make mistakes. The secret is not to be deterred from your hard work but to embrace the whole experience.