Entrepreneurship - “The activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit” - Dictionary.com
The world is full of adult entrepreneurs. But think back to your childhood. Did you ever think about owning your own business one day? Becoming your own boss? Most children think about what they want to become - a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer - but thinking about how they want to become it is a distant thought. So as adults, it’s our job to teach children about entrepreneurship early.
Why is Kids Entrepreneurship Important?
Did you know that Small businesses continue to dominate the Australian economy, with 99.8% of all Australian businesses considered a small to medium enterprises. Three in five businesses (62%) are non-employing, with 98% of all Australian businesses employing less than 20 people.
And also good to know almost 50% of the private workforce sector in the United States is employed by small business owners Furthermore, small businesses create over 64% of new jobs (source: https://www.proposify.com/blog/entrepreneurship-for-kids).
That means that small businesses are extremely important for the economy. And small businesses wouldn’t exist without small business owners. And small business owners wouldn’t exist with young entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, teaching your kids about entrepreneurship is important for their own growth and development. While learning about entrepreneurship, your child is also learning about real world skills like critical thinking and problem solving, resilience, commitment, leadership, creativity, and self-confidence, among many more. It also teaches them about things like money management and relationship building - all of which they can take with them into the workforce years down the road.
How to Approach Kids Entrepreneurship
Children often engage in entrepreneurial tasks without even realizing it. Have your kids ever asked you to start a lemonade stand? Or host a yard sale? These are both entrepreneurial tasks that are great for building future skills.
And when children ask to do these types of things, it’s important that we not only support them in their endeavours, but also that we get them excited for it! Help them create their stand, provide words of encouragement, and give them a congratulatory hug when all is said and done. But there are other things you can do to support child’s journey toward entrepreneurship too:
● Teach them to recognize opportunities
Why do ant traps exist? Because someone recognized a problem and then solved it. Why do lightbulbs exist? Because someone recognized a problem and then solved it. Everything exists as an answer to a certain problem. Encourage your child to find solutions to everyday problems - that’s how innovators are born!
● Lead by example
As a parent, you are your child’s number one influencer. They will want to do everything you do and be everything you are. So engage in some entrepreneurial tasks of your own. If your child sees that you can be your own boss, they’ll want to be they’re own boss one day too.
● Teach them the value of money
You should start teaching your children the value of money at a young age. Encourage them to help you at the grocery store, let them earn their money, make them work for new toys. Children need to understand that you have to work for money. And if they understand this at a young age, it will push them to work harder for it at an older age.
● Teach them to sell
Every entrepreneur knows that in order to make money, you need to be able to sell. But selling isn’t a skill that we are all born with. Rather, it’s a skill that we learn. So instead of having your children earn an allowance, encourage them to find ways to make money. Maybe they could sell chocolate bars to the neighbors or deliver newspapers to the neighborhood. Finding ways to make money and learning to negotiate is a valuable life skill that will benefit any child moving forward.
Challenges with Child Entrepreneurship
The main problem we face with child entrepreneurship is school. The reality is, grade schools don’t teach entrepreneurial skills or thinking. In fact, they tend to discourage it. Rarely are children ever encouraged to think outside of the box or dream up their own projects. Rather, they’re instructed to focus on the task at hand. If you follow direction, you get rewarded. If you question it, you are punished.
Of course, we need schooling and we need education. It’s important. But look at all of the successful entrepreneurs who were only B students at best - Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell - and they all went on to be some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
Obviously, we can’t speak for these people. But if we had to guess, we’d guess that they had people who pushed them as children. People who encouraged them to think outside the box, people who encouraged them to believe in themselves, and people who encouraged them to succeed in a business-minded world.
Be the person to push.