It’s a great question. If I spend my hard earned dollars and place my child in an Entrepreneurship Program, rather than something else, perhaps more conventional, what will they learn? What will they get out of it?
It really is a great question, but it also really depends. Here is what I mean:
Meet Jake. Jake is an incredible kid that we had the pleasure of working with last fall in our KidPreneur Programming. Jake is full of energy, ideas and was excited about what he was about to embark upon. This was Jake’s first semester with us.
During his first program, Jake commented in his interview that he loved building a business. He liked working with money and he liked designing his product, which was a dog leash. “That’s great”, you might be saying. Jake had fun. But what did he get out of it? What did her learn?
For that answer, we could ask his parents. In their interview, they were so happy to find a program that Jake took an interest in, as well as ownership of. He wasn’t a big into sports or other conventional kid activities. This was something where he could express himself, make BIG decisions and see the fruits of his labour, not just in money, but in reactions from the general public, his peers and his own internal satisfaction.
How do we know so much? Aside from the obvious answer that we try to ask each student and parent for feedback and insight, we know because Jake came back to take the same program again and this time he did things differently.
His first product, dog leashes, was at the higher end of the price range at $12. For that reason, he noticed that he didn’t sell quite as much as some of his fellow classmates whose products were in the $3-$8 range. He also noticed that the food items were selling out at most booths. With observations like these, he rolled up his sleeves and made a plan.
Jake’s Giant Cookies were born and THIS business was a HIT! His GIANT Cookies were one of the first booth’s to sell out and that was as much as any entrepreneur could hope for.
At Build a Biz Kids, we know that our students are more receptive when other students teach them, as opposed to adults, so whenever possible we try to create opportunities for that to happen. When a student returns for a second or third semester, we offer them the opportunity to choose a class where they feel they can add the most value and teach a portion of class. Jake LOVED Market Day, which is interesting because he didn’t do as well as he had hoped the first time around, but he learned a lot and was keen to share it. He spoke of how to prepare for the day, what to bring and so on, as well as how to talk to customers to get a sale. The advice was great for the other students to hear but what an incredible opportunity for Jake to be a mentor in his class.
So, when a parent asks us, what will my child learn, it really is hard to say. We can answer with things like financial literacy, problem solving, public speaking, build confidence and leadership, but it really depends on your child. Each student loves a different aspect of class, a different stage in building a business. Some love the creative outlet in product design and marketing, others love the challenge of speaking with the general public and seeing what reactions they can get out of them. Others just love the idea of making their own money. But they always learn something. EVERY Child pulls real world life skills and builds resilience that can carry them through into any activity they venture into in life.
That is what this program is about. It doesn’t matter if your child becomes an entrepreneur when they grow up. That’s not the point. The point is the give them the space to make decisions that impact, for better or worse, something they care about. Something they are calling the shots on and taking full ownership of. This is life. We are just exposing them to it a little earlier in a safe environment rather than thrusting them into it after high school graduation when real debt and consequences can be more significant.