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Raising Entrepreneurial Kids

Think your little one is a future founder? With the rise of entrepreneurship and growing culture of buying Black, that premonition about your budding business tycoon may be right. But before you start dreaming about chaperoning your 11-year-old at her Shark Tank debut, first consider whether your parenting techniques are equipping your children with the skills to steer their own ship.

Entrepreneurship is set of skills and behaviors that you can instill in your child with a little perseverance. However, one of the biggest mistakes, is forcing a career direction or interest on your child, experts say. Instead of drilling a specific idea into a child’s mind, parents wishing to cultivate an entrepreneurial child should first observe and listen in to what the child is excited and passionate about.

“Parents’ well-intentioned efforts to help their kids prepare for organized careers often boomerang, because when parents ignore their children’s skills and true passions, they limit their kids’ options and create a dangerous environment of pressure and anxiety, where their kids are less likely to succeed,” author and the mother of two successful entrepreneurs Margo Machol Bisnow says.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship has identified eight core traits they say are critical to becoming entrepreneurial. These include:

  • Opportunity recognition
  • Comfort with risk
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Future orientation
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Initiative and self-reliance
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication and collaboration

The non-profit provides entrepreneurship based programs for young people from low-income communities. They project that in the next 20 years, there will be at least 600 million more young people looking for work than projected jobs.

For those parents ready to help their child start a business today, Theo and D’Andra Ulmer, the parents of 10-year old Mikaila Ulmer, CEO of Me & The Bees Lemonade, say the key is to let the child’s imagination lead.

“I think the biggest advice we can share with parents is don’t be limited by the power of your own imagination,” the couple told Black Enterprise. “Too often we, as parents, hesitate when our children come to us excited by a new idea.  We should focus more on their excitement than the idea and encourage to always passionately pursue their dreams.  Only after this period of encouragement should we begin to research the idea, helping them shape it into an achievable solution.”

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