Being in control of your job and financial security is something we all want and one of the best ways to do this is to captain your own ship, so why don’t more people taking the plunge as business owners?
Entrepreneurs are a very particular type of person – they embrace failure as a learning opportunity, they focus their energies on positive outcomes rather than worrying about negative results, they are adaptable and they see opportunity in many shapes and forms.
Entrepreneurs are also more likely to be men. Forbes magazine recently reported that in 2014 only 36.8% of new businesses in the US were opened by women. This is a statistic that concerns me greatly as the leader of a girls’ school, but I take heart in knowing that at St Cuthbert’s we have embraced a leading-edge style of learning that teaches girls there can be infinite solutions to problems.
We are instilling querying minds from Year 1 with our Junior School Stretch programme that shows girls how to creatively and collaboratively solve problems drawing on their knowledge, strengths and common sense.
This theme follows through in the Middle and Senior Schools, particularly in subjects like Technology where solutions are creative, in response to real life problems and limited only by the depth of our imaginations.
Life experience is another crucial factor in entrepreneurship and in the Senior School we are happy to have held our first HUB classes this week. In Term 1 girls will be hearing from staff and guest speakers on the topics of financial literacy, leadership styles and skills, and global ethics, to name a few broad topics.
So what more can we do to give our girls the confidence, resilience and self-belief to tackle business ownership in life after school?
Model Effective Problem Solving at School and Home
Kids face issues at all ages so the sooner they are given the tools to cope, the better their problem solving abilities will be. Help them identify the problem, think of all the possible solutions, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the best option.
Encourage Learning from Failure
By walking children through the problem solving process above they will know that there is more than one solution they can apply to an issue. If solution one doesn’t work as planned it is important for kids to remain buoyed, there could be six or seven other ways to address the issue. Go back to the ‘discard’ pile and look for another way. The learnings generated by the failure of option one may lead to a course action not previously thought of.
Some of the world’s biggest brands have been founded by two people with complementary strengths and weaknesses. Just a few examples are Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Google and Twitter. Not many people are going to be strong in all the skill sets required to build a successful business. Encourage kids to know their strengths and weakness, without pigeon holing them, so they can know what they feel comfortable taking the lead on and where they may want to seek expertise from others.
Source: How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids. Goodman, 2012. www.entrepreneur.com/article/225233