Schools should take up the opportunities offered by the Globalscot business network of expats so pupils can have access to successful role models.
Summer internships with employers might also be considered.
The suggestions come from Steve Parkinson, a founder member of the network.
Mr Parkinson, a former pupil of Liberton High in Edinburgh, has been the school's "entrepreneur in residence" for two years. He has founded and built up two businesses in the United States and is currently president and chief executive officer of Boston-based CereMedix, a biotechnology company.
Edinburgh Council is believed to be interested in extending the Liberton scheme to other schools in the capital.
Mr Parkinson, who once made and lost a fortune of $25 million (pound;16 million), told the Edinburgh Conference (page four): "Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, nor should they be." But young people must have a "can-do"
attitude and this should be helped by an entrepreneurial atmosphere.
He contrasted Scotland, where failure meant a black mark, and the United States, where people are expected to fail on occasion and learn lessons from it.
His message to Scottish pupils and teachers was to know their strengths and what they can do. Success came with hard work and some lucky breaks, but the educational experience should include communication and personal skills. A bit of "pig-headedness" and a willingness to take risks were also essential.
Liberton had shown him that Scottish education has moved with the times and he was "thrilled" to discover that business-oriented activities are now a key feature.