The Importance of Youth Entrepreneurship

 

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It seems that we have forgotten that children are our future. Whitney Houston references aside, it’s true. We clothe, feed, and nurture today’s youth, but those are the basics. There are a few things that many are missing out on, and entrepreneurial education is one of them.

Over the past thirty years, school districts have significantly reduced or completely eliminated programs that inspire and nurture kids’ creative and entrepreneurial tendencies. When was the last time you heard about an art or home economics class being offered at a public high school? Even worse is that the next generation is increasingly being pushed to attend college, despite the increasing cost, and the fact that post-secondary education may not accommodate their professional aspirations and ambitions. The students who want to develop an app or a custom car stereo business are stuck with amazing ideas that they can’t use because the curriculum that could teach them the basics of entrepreneurship just don’t fit schools’ constrained budgets.

This country runs on entrepreneurship. Each year, more than a million Americans roll up quit their 9-5 jobs, roll up their sleeves, and launch small businesses. Our economy depends on the success of small businesses, but it is leaving a significant demographic of aspiring entrepreneurs behind: kids.

Some of the greatest businesses to ever enter the marketplace have been helmed by kids. Ever heard of a little sandwich shop by the name of Subway? A high school student started the ever-popular sandwich chain in 1965. And some of the most influential small businesses being created by kids who have yet to hit puberty. Bee Sweet Lemonade is a Austin-based, multi-million-dollar company founded by seven year-old Mikaila Ulmer in 2011.

It’s never too early to teach entrepreneurship, or to encourage ideas. Kids are entrepreneurial by nature, and they’re not just interested in having neighborhood lemonade stands. They’re developing some of the most innovative and impactful businesses in recent memory, and it’s up to the adults in their lives, be it their parents, educators, or people who want to invest in the next generation to ensure that they achieve their goals no matter their age.

To the teens who may be reading this, we want you to know that your friends at BiGAUSTIN here for you. We know that you have business ideas, and that you want to see them grow. We can help. We’ve developed a curriculum that will teach how to start and manage a successful business, and how to find the investors and capital you need to get it going.

We offer  free youth entrepreneurship programs for high school students throughout the year. If you’ll bring your business ideas and willingness to work hard, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to make your small business dreams a reality. For more information, please visit the BiGAUSTIN website by clicking here, or give us a call at 512-928-8010.

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Is There a “Right Path”?

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As Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich gave the commencement speech to the class of 2014 at Clark University he talked to students about the path he chose and how it wasn’t necessarily the “right path”.  

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He asks the graduating class, “What really matters in creating a successful career and a successful life?”  If you were asked this question by a coworker, friend, or family member right now, do you know what you would say?  

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Ron Shaich goes on to tell three different stories about learning how to define what truly matters to reach your goals of success.  If you are able to define what it means to be successful and what that looks like, you have increased your odds for success.  We don’t always know where we are going or what will be on the other side of that hill but, if we know what our passion is then no matter what path we take, it’ll be right.  Read his entire speech Here.

So, how exactly do you figure out what brings you joy and ignites your passion?  Look around you, look to the people whom you love, look inside yourself and quietly listen to your heart beat.  Listen to your soul and your passion will come.  Don’t ask yourself, “What am I good at” instead, ask yourself what gets me fired up, what makes me feel better about myself, and how can I make a difference in the world? 

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Mr. Shaich suggests that instead of doing a post-mortem near the end of life where we analyze our decisions and try to make sense of the choices we’ve made, do a pre-mortem.  This is where we look into the future and imagine ourselves looking back on our lives, evaluating our decisions and what was most important to us.  In most cases, it won’t be money or objects.  

Ask yourself today, what can I do to be successful in life (personal and professional)?  I suspect you are already on the way there, more so than you would think.  

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Empower Children With School Supplies

Two children on deprived housing estate

1. Go to a big box store near you

2. Pick up a school supply list

3. Buy something

4. Drop off your gift

After reading this short but, inspiring article by Anita Janke I’m about ready to jump in the car, run over to Target, and buy some school supplies to donate.  Anita Janke talks briefly about her struggles with poverty as a young child and how it affected her and her family’s lives, even to the point where she tried in vain to cover up a hole in her shirt because her family couldn’t afford to buy her a new one.  She also talks about how embarrassing and difficult it was to try to find a, “…safe person to bum a sheet of paper from or try to erase a mistake without an eraser.”  These may not seem like a big deal in the long run but, from a perspective of a student this is very real and very difficult.  It’s not just that these children are arriving to school unprepared because they forgot their notebook or required reading materials at home.  On the contrary, they knew all along they needed it and have been dreading the first day of school when they would have to ask all their schoolmates next to them to borrow the things their families couldn’t provide.  Not only did this affect Anita Janke’s self confidence but, she started to associate education with being wealthy.  This poses a huge problem for American (and many other countries) society.  We simply cannot afford for our youth to be forced into the belief that education is a privilege and not a right.  Anita Janke proposes this: “…for children living in poverty we have to help do more than get them through school.  We need to help them activate and achieve their dreams.  For the under resourced, it starts with putting school supplies into their hands.”  I could not agree with Anita Janke more.

Here in Texas parents get a long laundry list of school supplies they must buy for their children.  They require parents to over-buy school supplies so that there is a surplus  for the kids whose families couldn’t afford them.  I hear many complaints from parents talking about the burden of buying school supplies and how they are about to spend hundreds of dollars on them.  One of their main complaints is that the majority of those supplies aren’t even for their own children.  On the one hand, I understand where they are coming from.  A lot of families are scraping by just enough to buy their own children supplies let alone supplies for five other kids.  This is where Anita Janke’s suggestion comes into play.  If the community members took this matter into their own hands and each person decided to donate one thing, we could probably have enough supplies for every single child.  Think about it, how would you feel arriving at school for the first day with no notebook, no pencil, and no calculator?

What do you think of Anita Janke’s suggestion?  Would you do it?

Read the full article here: Breaking the Poverty Trap