November 21, 2015

Currently, there is a lot a debate regarding the need for parents/schools to teach children how to become entrepreneurs. Probably, this has caught the attention of some parents, in which case parents maybe grabbling with the decison of whether to do so or not.However, parents/schools can only make better decisions they are well informed -  which is what I am trying to achieve in this article.

From my professional experience as an investment banker and entrepreneur (currently), the biggest impact of entrepreneurship to any individual is personal development. As an individual, becoming an entrepreneur has enhanced my interpersonal, communication, problem-solving, self-discipline and decision making skills. This results from my daily interactions with clients to identify their needs; communicating with them in a way that they would understand me; making decisions on when and how to increase my revenue  and ensuring that my service meets the needs of clients. These and other experiences have made me a better person and professional to a great extent. 

Similarly, if parents and schools encourage and support children to become entrepreneurs, it could have a similar impact on them. The development of these skills is crucial, regardless of their choices later on in life. Therefore, I wish I had someone who could advise/support me to take the risk of becoming an entrepreneur earlier on in life.

Furthermore, it is much easier and safer to take and aborb the risks involved in becoming an entrepreneur at a younger age because there is more time to explore their options, in case the child is not successful in entrepreneurship. Moreso, if a child does not succeed in becoming a succesful entrepreneur, the experience will enable the child to develop key life skills such as communication, problem-solving, decision making and interpersonal skills. 

Case studies of children who have succeeded as entrepreneurs include 11 year old Henry Patterson and Jack Cator as described in the Sunday Times (08:11:2015 - Business Section). This bears testimony to the fact that it is possible for children to study alongside developing their entrepreneural abilities, further emphasising the need for parents, schools and government to encourage entrepreneurship.

However, even though entrepreneurship might not be an easier path for children to acquire these skills, at least it informs children that there are options to become successful in life, besides formal education. Therefore, even if a child is unsuccessful in entrepreneurship, the experience could act as a template and seed of innovation because innovation comes from having a different perspective (knowing that I can make a living by running my own business besides working for someone); and perspective comes from experience.

The sum and substance of this message is this: If children are unsuccessful in entrepreneurship, the skills and knowledge acquired will provide a sound foundation for them to be successful in any career sector. However, if they are successful, the sky will be their limit. This means either way, they would benefit from the challenge of entreneurship.

Aloysius Fontama

Education Consultant

(Founder, Mentor and Tutor of A & F Tutors)

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