The term entrepreneur was coined by Jean-Baptiste Say, a French economist and scholar.
The word originally came from the French word entreprendre, meaning: undertaking. In English, the term entrepreneur is often translated to an adventurer. Whether you identify entrepreneurship as a necessary undertaking of some sorts, or a bout of adventure, becoming an entrepreneur takes bravery as well as skill. As an entrepreneur, I did take a class one summer when I was in grade school at the Belin-Blank Learning Center at the University of Iowa, but most of what I learned about running my business was by running my business. I googled and asked for help, I found mentors and support, but for the most part, my formal education was all in science and art, not business. I already knew about supply and demand and profit and loss, but I had to learn about the characteristics of a person running a business and the grit it takes to have success.
That being said, I stumbled upon an opportunity to teach what I have learned to potential young entrepreneurs. Iowa has a program called Junior Achievement who’s goals are to educate school children in business literacy so they can be informed members of the workforce or even START or RUN A BUSINESS.
The first day of class was amazing!
All the kids had great ideas and goals AND some of them had parents that were either in the middle of or beginning of starting a business. One girl with brightly colored, braided hair shared with me that her mother was trying to start a hair salon. She was very excited to learn and she ALWAYS had her hand up and ready to participate in class discussion. JA (Junior Achievement) had a great lesson plan put together for me the build the foundation of understanding how to run a business by way of a hotdog stand.
As expected, not all the kids were excited about the structure and rules of the lessons, but allowing the students to apply the ideas and concepts to the business they wanted to brainstorm provided an even better understanding of the things I was trying to teach, which was wonderful to witness. Beyond the coolness of these kids learning the vocabulary and concepts I was teaching, it was amazing hearing about the business these kids brainstormed on their own. Business and careers that I was definitely not thinking about or heard about when I was that age.
I was really glad to have the opportunity to work with these kids and be someone that hopefully, they will think about some of the I said even as adults as I do with people that impacted me in my own youth. The best part of the whole experience was all the kids telling they were going to take their handouts home to teach their families and help their parents with their businesses.
If you ever get the opportunity to work on projects like this,
be bold and go for it!
The kids are nice, the teachers are helpful and you’re doing something good and beneficial for the kids you work with.
Are you interested in volunteering?
Contact Junior Achievement to see how you can share your entrepreneurial and business knowledge.
Looking for more on financial literacy?
Check out these link for information about how to talk to kids and teens about earning, saving, and investing money.