Entrepreneurship Culture Among Children - Ibra Aamir
Starting a venture, being your own boss, running a company – a hidden desire in every child that has never seen the light of the day. “Think out of the box”, a common phrase tossed at every young soul. But how to do that? When children approach their elders with creative business ideas, they are often turned down by saying “Focus on your studies first”. What is the purpose of these studies? To prepare us for the practical world.
Recognising entrepreneurship as a profession is not a common practice even in the modern society. We see it as useless, risky, unprofitable, and anticipate its failure chances. Why is that so? Why is a child always pushed towards medicine, engineering, banking – jobs that serve others. Why don’t we see a guardian asking their child to explore their imagination and start their own venture when they grow up so they can implement their own ideas and notions? We barely see such extraordinary examples and I was fortunate enough to encounter one. Interviewing an 8 year old author, I realised how much parents neglect the talent of their children and the potential that they hold by not letting them explore it. Mohammad Hashim is an animal lover and pursued his passion by publishing his debut novel “Mind-blowing Creatures”. Born and raised in Muscat, Hashim’s parents discovered his keenness for animals when he was 6. He was provided with the means to chase his talent and when he filled pages after pages about interesting creatures, his mother took the bold step to make her son’s potential known worldwide. From then on, Hashim’s sister took it in her hands to illustrate the book and make her little brother’s dream come true. Family plays the most important role in the primary socialisation of the child. It is in their hands to decide how they can fuel their progeny’s aspirations. Had not Hashim’s parents and sister been so supportive, we wouldn’t have been able to discover this gem among us.
Children are not given the opportunity to participate in decision making hence they remain oblivious to the tactics and rules of decision making until a later stage. This often leads them to making bad decisions in their practical life and when starting new businesses. Due to this, they often fail to make proper decisions through analyzing the given data as this practice was not inculcated in them in their childhood. Do we ever let our children make their own decisions? From selecting their clothes to selecting their career, parents usually suppress the talents of their children and discourage them from making their own decisions. The courses of act result in the children greatly lacking decision making skills and they are usually dependent on their parents in making almost every decision of their life. One may wonder, when an individual cannot even decide for themselves, how they can take the responsibility of running and making decisions for a business?
It can be said without doubt that those children whose parents are entrepreneurs have an advantage over others. The characteristics and lifestyle of an entrepreneur is not alien to them. Those familiar with the field know how important it is to encourage someone who shows even a hint of leadership in them. This world needs leaders, not servants. Exposing children to the business world is important from a young age.
In conversation with Viva O’ Flynn, an entrepreneur from childhood and host of Inspiring Millions, I had the greatest pleasure of knowing how one's parents’ mindset affects one's own imagination. As a child, Viva was highly observant of her surroundings. She noticed a problem – her companions got hungry and thirsty while playing in the field. They needed snacks after a tiring day. Young Viva came up with the idea of buying snacks from the grocery store and selling it to her friends with a small profit. Her parents are entrepreneurs so she knew how to sell. Her parents were elated to see their daughter’s creativity and funded her little venture. The keenness to sell and cater to people’s needs grew as Viva successfully opened her bakery in the UK named “Love Viva Cakes and Crafts". Her inspiring story is an example for the entire youth. You need to be a risk-taker and pursue your passion regardless.
However, family is not the only one responsible for upbringing entrepreneurs. Schools are one of them. Today, we see endless universities offering business courses. They teach the youth what business is, but why don’t they encourage them to start one? Students have insufficient knowledge about entrepreneurship and what it takes to become one. Educational institutions have not pressed enough on the importance of offering courses on entrepreneurship or maybe not at all. A handful of universities provide their students with the opportunity of learning entrepreneurship. Students are neither proffered any education in this field nor are they allowed to start a business venture in their youth. The entire curriculum of their course is generalised. They are not trained as per the market out there. Their knowledge is restricted to textbooks by teachers and their desire to become entrepreneurs is considered career suicide by parents and society alike.
Furthermore, support from the state is also integral. Development of youth employment policies by the government would allow students to gain experience and knowledge of the practical world so they will be able to start their own ventures as soon as they graduate. Initiatives to make their journey easier and more fruitful will result in the overall prosperity of the nation and the economy.
In the end, everything around the child plays a pivotal role in his/her upbringing. From parents to schools and friends, every single human impacts the thinking of a child. Therefore, the most important aim of the parents should be providing a healthy and safe environment for their children so that they can adapt to nothing, but the good from their surroundings. They should never be discouraged to present their ideas and thinking because only in this way their thinking would expand and they would be able to think distinctively from the rest.
Two people were interviewed for this article:
- Mohammad Hashim, an 8 year old author. His Instagram handle is @mohammadhashim_99
- Viva O’ Flynn, the host of Inspiring Millions show and an entrepreneur. Her Instagram handle is @lovevivacakesandcrafts