Why I teach Entrepreneurship in Schools
“If you are passionate about entrepreneurship like I am, you too can instill this passion in your children” – Naveen Jain
I share this thought too!
My inspiration for starting a club to teach children the basics of entrepreneurship, life-skills development, and money management came not only from a Parent mail received from my son’s school asking for after-school club ideas but also during one of my MBA sessions called Managers Decision Making and Insights (MDMI). Having written a book in 2017 titled ‘When I grow up, I want to be a…’ – a study, activity, and colouring book focused on various career options, I wanted to also create something to enlighten kids that people could start or create a business that wasn’t already existing. At the time I was writing the book, I totally had not thought to careers such as Blogging, Content creators, Virtual assistants, Data analysts, Cyber security experts to mention a few.
Teaching entrepreneurship among other skills that we teach was simply to embrace talents and skills that teachers in ‘regular’ classrooms might not necessarily appreciate.
In an age where children need a basic level of resilience as they seem to give up at the sight of trouble, research has shown that entrepreneurial education has the likelihood to encourage a higher level of social and emotional well-being as well as teach habits and characteristics that children should be aiming to hone such as grit, tenacity, curiosity, focus, problem-solving, leadership and above all self-belief. Without a doubt, entrepreneurial activities help to develop life-long skills and habits that are not sufficiently taught at home or even in the classroom.
In our first class, students often look confused and I guess they are probably wondering, “What have I signed up for”? “Why did not I continue with my Dodgeball, Dance, or Drama club”? When we run something called the ‘Entrepreneurial Quiz’, it is remarkable how 8 out of 10 students have entrepreneurial tendencies. They are also quite impressed with stories of successful entrepreneurs and the brains behind the very popular ‘brands’ they use every day. For example, it is amazing how they have read a couple of the Harry Potter series but do not know the story behind her entrepreneurial ‘struggle’. Worthy of note is the fact that she started her first book about rabbits at the age of 6!
By Class 2, they seem to be very eager to learn more as we watch videos of kids who had business ideas in strange places and with strange occurrences too. By this time, they are eager to be in the next class, ready to watch videos, participate in-class tasks and quizzes, have a business name, design their posters or flyers, create their product, set up their shop, and of course win the prize money for our ‘Best Stall competition’
You might say, my child has no business doing business at this stage. You might be right, but it is about exposing them to a world of possibilities and creating an entrepreneurial mindset in them too. You can help a very shy child find their voice through the art of sales or bring out the creative spark or twinkle in the eye of that ‘non-academic’ child – The benefits are numerous!
As a child, I never knew I had the qualities of an entrepreneur. The only quality I knew I had been that I was self-driven but did not think much of it. Neither was I encouraged to hone or appreciate it. In hindsight, I realized that being ‘self-driven and highly decisive have been a major reason for my success in business and in life. My skills have also been fattened by a healthy diet of books and taking part in various training programmes. I have written a couple of books too!
Since it is said that an entrepreneur is 5% born (with innate abilities) and 95% made (through training and life experiences), it means everyone can learn the skills that make one an entrepreneur. I started this campaign of letting kids discover and appreciate the latent talents and innate abilities they have but are quite often not acknowledged or celebrated. I also discovered that skills such as problem solving, time management, resilience/staying power, empathy and self-leadership are qualities that can be developed and which can be applied all their lives.
I would implore every parent to give their kids the opportunity to shine. Put them on the path of success as we raise a new community of Kidpreneurs!
Akiode (MBA) is an Education Disruptor, Author of Kids can entrepreneur too and Entrepreneurial stories for kids’ picture book series. She is also the initiator of the award-winning Kidpreneur Klub®. She resides in the United Kingdom. Instagram @kidpreneurklub