The following is a reprint of the Huffington Post article appearing January 21, 2016.
Teaching Minipreneurs the Entrepreneurial Engine
Kids can study entrepreneurial skills early.
Some kids open a lemonade stand on the corner. Other kids think about how to turn that lemonade stand into a business. Parents Karley Sessoms and Ellen Dyke recognized the potential in kids and believe that young children have innate potential which, if nurtured, can lead to economic opportunities and unleashing children’s innovative and creative potential.
Sessoms and Dyke identified the five-I’s that they believe will help foster children’s potential: Inspiration; Ideation and problem solving; Interaction and collaboration; Innovation and creativity; and Initiative. Together, the five I’s comprise the Entrepreneurial Engine that Sessoms and Dyke teach through their Next Gen Minipreneurs program, designed to augment and complement the curriculum standards taught in elementary schools.
To help kids become Minipreneurs Sessoms and Dyke recommend:
1. Teach children to recognize opportunities. Once children are old enough to understand the concept of how money works, they may want to set-up their first lemonade stand or make their first cookie sale. Capture their curiosity, enthusiasm and sprit, encourage them to seek out different ways to make money; support them and help them follow through.
2. Foster innovation and inspire creative thinking in children. Inspired children have unlimited ability to create innovative ideas. Guide children and help them understand the potential of opportunity. Support children through taking reasonable risks and recognizing the benefits of failure and resiliency.
3. Give children the gift of learning and adapting life and careers skills for the 21st century. Use the Next Gen Minipreneurs five I’s: Inspiration; Ideation and problem solving; Interaction and collaboration; Innovation and creativity; and Initiative.
4. Augment and complement school curriculums, whether STEM, language arts or the social sciences. When teachers and parents recognize that entrepreneurship education can be a vehicle to teach other disciplines, entrepreneurship education will be seen as a method of teaching other disciplines.
5. Empower children by giving them the knowledge that they can make a difference in the lives of their families, communities and even globally through entrepreneurship. The business part of entrepreneurial education teaches children the tools they need to become integral, contributing parts of their families’ and communities’ financial viability. Teaching business ethics and team values empowers children through the belief that they can take an active role in solving some of the more vexing problems that plague our society, both here and around the world.
As a result of entrepreneurship programs, children have started simple with the making and selling of baked goods, using proceeds to hold parties at veterans’ hospitals for wounded warriors and their families. Miniprenuers have also had other innovative ideas, like the “Buy a Kid for a Kid” business in which 5th graders provided party entertainment for younger kids. Other Next Gen Minipreneurs have designed their own custom-made cards to be sold through an Etsy shop and created a video production company that will earn income on Youtube channel.
With the help of Next Gen Minipreneurs kids can put their dreams of starting a business they have always dreamed of into action and gain valuable skills that will help them throughout their lives.