I brought the passion of business to my daughters when I became a father. We'd watch Shark Tank every week and learn about venture capitalists, giving up equity, margins and more. When my oldest was eight, she started her first semi-successful business which she ran for about five years. My youngest started her first business when she was five. It was a flop, but by the time she was eight, she'd hit upon a winner, and has been running an incredibly successful business for over three years.
The older one has taken what she's learned and rolled that over into a YouTube channel that she runs like a business. She's sixteen now, and quite fortunate because her school offers a special three-year program for those who qualify, called The Entrepreneurship Academy.
In the classroom I teach my third grade students the basics of creating and starting a business at the end of the school year. They learn about their market, promotion, initial investment, being in the black and the red and more.
Why do I find these skills, vocabulary and awareness so crucial for our children? Because for many, these will give them the upper hand later in life. Also, because the job market has shifted so drastically in the last ten years, young people can't always rely on going to college, getting a degree, then getting hired for a job. More than ever, young people need to create their own opportunities, and more than ever, there are more ways to accomplish this than there have been in the history of mankind.
What can you do as a parent to help facilitate these entrepreneurial opportunities for your children in a way that is fun and educational? Well, I just found out that there's a new game called "The Next Big Thing" that does just this. Here's how the creators explain The Next Big Thing:
Go through the journey of being an entrepreneur, from beginning to end, including all the ups and downs, significant events, investments, an accelerator, pivots, and near bankrupt experiences, all from the safety of an awesome board game, that you'll want to play with all of your friends and family.
Now, mind you, it's not really for grade-schoolers. The creators recommend it for twelve-year olds and up, but it sounds like a great way to have a family game night and get your preteens and teenagers interested in business.
Right now the game is in the KickStarter phase. Bummer, because that means we'll have to wait for it. Yet, it also means we have the opportunity to get involved on the ground floor and be the first to get our hands on it.
If this is something you are drawn to, you definitely need to check it out. If you want to back the project some of the benefits include receiving first prints of the game, a private game party with the creators, dinner with the inventors of the game, meetings or Skype with actual venture capitalists, or be a part of the game itself.
I love the idea of the game. All kids should be exposed to something like this. And, if you have a little entrepreneur at home, there are some great perks for funding this campaign that would make great gifts for him/her. And, who knows, maybe they'll be "the next big thing."
image courtesy of backercamp.com