Building an Entrepreneurial Mind-set
Nurturing an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Children
I had this wonderful opportunity to be one of the panellists on the BuildToLast wellness initiative by Crisp Minds Solutions to speak about how children can develop an entrepreneurial mind-set, that’s when the thought of writing this blog came to my mind.
Entrepreneurship can be a really big word for kids & a little overwhelming too but making our kids ready for the future through an entrepreneurial mind-set is what we should aim for. Whether they really become full time entrepreneurs or not is something we as parents will have to wait & watch. But while they are growing up we can start helping them develop the mind-set, ignite their passion to do something different.
When the world shut down in March of 2020 and children were stuck at home for months, it gave them time to rethink their future & career paths. Younger generations are inherently entrepreneurial and have an appetite for risk. They are tech savvy filled with great ideas, curiosity & always wanting to experiment new things. Entrepreneurship is not only about great ideas & making money, it’s more about wanting to solve problems & help people. Entrepreneurial means confident, creative, resourceful, and resilient. During the pandemic many kids turned entrepreneurs, some out of desperation while others who just had time at hand to feed their curious minds with bright ideas. Times of India was filled with stories of kids who had to give up schooling due to lack of internet or smartphone, those kids took to making tea, snacks or selling something to make ends meet. That also is a form of business. Then there were the three Sebastian brothers, Senjo, Stephen and Sony of Class 7, 8 and Class 12 respectively from Cherupuzha in Kerala, these school-going children turned entrepreneurs amid economic hardships. They initially began repairing bulbs in their neighbourhood. It fetched them some income; they received many orders during lockdown when all other shops were closed so they decided to start making their own LED bulbs thus starting their own business. It’s so rightly said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” We also heard about a 10 year old girl, Manya Harsha, an environmental activist from Vibgyor High Bengaluru who recycles the daily kitchen waste into handmade vegetable paper.
Today’s youth is fearless, they have a lot of exposure thanks to the internet and easy accessibility of study material at their fingertips. We as parents need to sharpen these curious minds to help them think out of the box. Let children experiment, explore & be encouraged. Even if we feel that the idea isn’t going to work, don't discourage them, instead encourage them to work around & think on different lines or maybe help them make the idea work. If we come across a problem or read about it ask the child what do they think? Could they think of possibilities to solve the issue.? These questions help children think of solutions instead of instilling fear about a problem or issue. When we work on developing our child’s mind to become more entrepreneurial then we need to take an inward and outward approach. Inward meaning at the way they think, how they feel and the attitude towards how they see their own abilities, how confidently they approach new situations. Outward is the belief that they can positively impact the world or create something of value. Another important aspect is to teach children the value for money. Parents can explain what money is, how it is used and how it can give power too. Kids need to have money of their own so they can learn how to make decisions about using it. Many parents give an allowance or pocket money to help them make their own decisions to use money. Show them how money works is more effective. It can be done in a fun way through board games like Business, Monopoly or Life. Instead of just handing them money let them earn it by doing simple chores like, cleaning up their room, setting up the dining table or helping mom & dad with tiding up the house. This will encourage them to work & earn at a young age. It’s also important to teach them how to save money. For e.g. if you have given them Rs100 for a particular job then teach them to save it, give them a piggy bank or a small purse where they can keep adding the money they earn or receive as a gift. Later after a few months if they wish to buy something they can break the piggy bank & use it to purchase something big. Another very important aspect about business is to accept failure. Today’s kids rarely get a taste of it but it’s a part of any business. Not all ideas will materialize & not all business succeed but that doesn’t mean they give up, that’s just one way of learning how somethings works differently. They may have to rethink or start from scratch but not to lose hope. This will teach them to keep trying and never give up thus helping them to embrace failure. Last but not the least is helping children understand the value of giving back to the society. How they can uplift someone, not just by giving money but their time, their kindness. Something as simple as creating their own artwork and selling it and using that money to help the needy is one way of encouraging your child to become a social entrepreneur.
Start small with something that interests the child. Identify their likes, their passion. If they like to bake then they need to learn how to bake first, if they wish to create some art work then they need to be good at it or learn it. Later teach them about how to buy ingredients or material that is needed to make the product which will become their cost. Once the product is ready then they should know how to sell it, keeping in mid the cost of the ingredients they need to price it reasonably to earn some profits. That’s how we can introduce them to Profit & Loss. A good way to encourage an entrepreneurial mind-set is to talk to them about some of the biggest entrepreneurs of the world, how they started small and slowly grew their businesses into empires. Today we have all the information available at our fingertips.
The world is filled with opportunities for our kids, gone are the days when people used to stick to one job from 9-5. Sky is the limit; kids need the right guidance & encouragement to give wings to their ideas.
Happy Entrepreneurial mind-set building!