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A B C D Entrepreneurship – The Importance of Teaching Entrepreneurship to Children

As the parent of a 7 year old, it is my duty to ensure that my son has the best opportunity to become a well rounded, participating member of society.  To do this, I find myself investing in his education early on.  If someone would have told me that I would be spending what could amount to someone’s college tuition on educating a child in primary school, I would have laughed at the thought.  This however, is my reality.  I am sure I am not alone.  There are many parents who also want their children to have the best chance at success and are also investing in their education, starting as early as kindergarten. It’s important to remember that learning opportunities don’t end when the school bell rings at the end of the day. In addition to the usual academic requirements of reading, writing, and arithmetic parents can also instill entrepreneurial values as part of their child’s ‘informal’ education.

I will explore the importance of introducing the concept of entrepreneurship to your children at an early age and how it can impact them in a positive manner and better prepare them to successfully negotiate the world.

When looking at some of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, there are some similar personality traits that recur, specifically most entrepreneurs are: risk takers, visionaries, leaders, adaptable, competitive, driven, confident, persuasive, and understanding.  – Following is a list of 10 reasons why we should teach our children about entrepreneurship:

  1. Entrepreneurship aside, the above reference characteristics are what most, if not all of us, need in order to succeed in most careers. These characteristics can help children to develop everyday business skills that can help them succeed in various industries.
  2. Children look up to famous people (i.e. Little Wayne, Justin Beiber, Mark Zukerburg (founder of Facebook).  As parents why not use this reality to shape your child’s future.  All the individuals named are so call “rock stars” and yes, they are also entrepreneurs.
  3. Teaching children about entrepreneurship helps to combine multiple-disciplines.  Try giving your child a business case and watch them use, math, problem solving, language, arts, etc. to try to figure it out.
  4. As the saying goes, there is no “I” in “Team” nor is there an “I” in entrepreneur.  To excel as an entrepreneur you have to be a team player.
  5. Entrepreneurship can encourage and develop imagination. Children by their nature are imaginative.  Allow your children to be curious and let them explore ways to figure out challenges.
  6. Live out of the box not in it.  Learning about entrepreneurship can help your children think for themselves and provide solutions and answers to questions that you would never have thought of because we as parents have conditioned ourselves to live inside of the box.
  7. Helping your child to start a business can help you develop a closer bond.  Help your child to find something that they are passionate about and encourage them to come up with a way to make money from it.  My son loves Legos and came first in his age group in this year’s Lego Competition sponsored by the Phoenix.  Perhaps he can start selling his winning lego Gombey.
  8. Entrepreneurship fosters independent thinking.  Encourage your child to do their own fact gathering to arrive at conclusions, make sure that you ask them to site their sources and congratulate them when they come up with a plausible solution.
  9. Most parents want to raise leaders.  We want our children to be able to make the decision not to go with the flow.   Entrepreneurship fosters the development of leaders and lets the child take the lead in their own life.
  10. Entrepreneurship is FUN!  Allow your child to see the results of coming up with his/her own business, designing their logo, identifying their target market, making their first dollar.  Imagine the confidence that this could instill in your child if they successfully conceptualize, create and implement their very own business idea.

Jamillah Lodge is a Business Development Officer for Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. She specializes in providing aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with business development advice and loan guarantee assistance.  In addition, she manages the marketing and communications plan for the Corporation and oversees the development of a mentorship and youth entrepreneurship programme. She has a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.  The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and should serve a general guide and should not be considered as replacement advice from a lawyer, accountant or other professional service provider. Readers should consult with the appropriate professionals as necessary.

If you have questions about starting a business in Bermuda, just ask BEDC: Email us at info@bsbdc.bm or call 292-5570.

Photo by:  Thomas Leuthard

Fajr

5 Tip’s for Surviving Your Start-Up’s First Year

1. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

When you try to do too many different things at one time you may find that you are doing none of them well. As a start up business owner, often we get excited and want to seize every opportunity thrown our way. Often time’s we reach a point were we have to make tough decisions and have to sacrifice the things we enjoy most to succeed in our ventures.  For example: When I first started Island Physique, I quickly saw how much energy and time it would take to build a solid foundation for my business to flourish. One of my favourite creative outlets is writing and recording music. In order for me to create music at the professional level which I desired, I understood it would take a huge investment of time and energy, and therefore, I had to make a serious to decision to put the music aside in order to fully focus on my business. I made this sacrifice for the sake of mastering my passion for fitness and entrepreneurship…..will I create music in the future? Of course! But in these early stages of my business I’ve chosen to direct the majority of my energy into seeing my business off the ground.

2. Keep Cost Down

Look at all of your expenses and seize every opportunity to save. Your first year will be a year of hard work and sacrifice. Everything and anything that you are able to do yourself, do it! I regularly advertise on Facebook for FREE and have been successful in gaining new clients this way. I often post flyers in grocery stores, coffee shops, take-out restaurants and places where I know my target market frequently visit.

3. Communicate with your customers and others with careers in the same industry

Doing market research as a start up can help you to avoid many mistakes. Network with others in the same field to learn about their experiences. Talk to your customers and ask them for feedback on the service you are providing and ways that you can improve their experience.

4. Keep Track

One of the most difficult duties I’ve found in my start up is sticking to a budget and keeping track of money coming in and money going out. My advise is to create a strict discipline of keeping a budget for your business expenses and also a running Cash Flow Statement so that you can track your business’s financial growth or decline. This will aid you in making more realistic financial decisions and projections.

5. Location

It’s important to know your customers and the ones that you want to attract. Place yourself in a convenient location where your ideal customers frequently travel so that it increases the likelihood of them choosing your services.

Fajr Bashir

Fajr Bashir

Contributor

Fajr Bashir is Owner & Certified Personal Trainer at Island Physique. Island Physique specializes in personal and group fitness training, including bootcamps and comprehensive fitness programs to assist individuals in achieving optimum health and weight-loss results.