Sunday, May 06, 2012

Fostering The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Last weekend as we drove past a couple of little girls who had set up a lemonade stand on the street, my husband and I turned to each other and smiled, both recalling the time when our daughter, at around the same age, did that too.

In fact from an early age she was quite entrepreneurial, selling artwork to willing and supportive neighbours; putting on plays and shows in our living room.  I never forget coming home one day, to find our living room set up like a theatre, complete with an audience made up of neighbours, and even the mailman, all waiting for the next performance and being served hefty, and I mean hefty, chunks of cheese and fruit from my kitchen.

Yet years later, when she participated in Junior Achievement in high school, the involvement of the girls was not really encouraged and they tended to be assigned the more routine tasks to complete.  Creativity was not really encouraged. Too bad.  Because as a country we want and need to foster entrepreneurship in our young people and with this challenging job market, it is another option for them to explore.

As parents we can encourage our children to take responsibility; to earn their allowances or get a Saturday job, rather than just handing over the cash when requested.  When you have had to save up for a desired item, there is much more value placed on the prize, than when you ask and then receive it.

Today that same daughter is still entrepreneurial.   She started her first business, Kidz Klub, when she was just twelve. After getting her babysitting certificate, she decided to run a summer camp for the local children, (from our home I might add) .  She designed a logo, sent out flyers and charged a nominal fee.  Yes, she learned a lot from this experience – like collections and how it’s more effective to get the customers to pay upfront; or how to do a budget to make sure the income covers the expenses… all valuable lessons to learn for any business owner, regardless of age.

Since then she’s had several businesses and her latest has taken off.  Now as her mother I am just hoping she will be able to keep me in the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed when I retire.  After all, I was an early investor.

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