Tips to Teach Kids How To Be Entrepreneurs

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Recently my family played a board game invented by 10-year olds. It got me thinking about how to teach kids to be entrepreneurs. Then my daughter announced, “I want to be an entrepreneur,” adding, “because you have a good schedule.”
Maybe being a role model is helpful — my husband and I are entrepreneurs –with flexible work hours. 🙂 But what else supports children in their efforts to learn about business?

Schools with Entrepreneurial Programs

Beyond sharing about our own jobs, how we market and grow, I wondered what else can my husband and I do to encourage our kids to think about having their own businesses?

 

In some cases, parents can enroll children in schools that are teaching an entrepreneurial mindset like my daughter’s middle school, Aspen Academy here in Denver or WeWork in New York. This article on Inc Magazine lists 9 more school organizations which includes NFTE, The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, that support young entrepreneurs.

 

Help Kids to Start a Business

Encourage your kids to start with a lemonade stand. You’ve probably heard of Lemonade Day. If you haven’t, it’s a program for kids and teens to start a lemonade stand where some or all of the profits are donated to charity. Through this, kids learn business skills, responsibility, financial literacy, goal setting, and teamwork. Go to The Lemonade Day website for a free starter kit.

Kids as young as age five can start learning about business with this Pizza Store simulation from Osmo. It’s hands-on, integrates with technology, and teaches math and entrepreneur skills. Doesn’t it look fun?

Osmo Pizza Co. Game (Base required)Osmo Pizza Co. Game (Base required)Osmo iPad BaseOsmo iPad Base

 

Shopify offers a logo maker, guides, videos, and resources for kids ready to start a business.

 

Help your kids think of products to sell or a service they can offer. Then, help them implement. Consider the classic always needed lawn mowing, snow removal, office help, or babysitting businesses. Or think about your children’s passions. What do they like to create or do? My artsy daughter once spent an afternoon by the community pool selling her artwork and donated the profits to The Salvation Army. Not a full-blown business per say, but a pop-up stand and good experience.

 

Check out this list of 50 small business ideas for kids.

 

Don’t miss these books — they’re great resources for you and your kids!

Books to Encourage (and Parent) Entrepreneur Kids

I love the following picture and middle-grade books for encouraging entrepreneur kids. They’ll introduce people or characters who start their own businesses. And, in most cases, the businesses actually succeed. (With plenty of failure and lessons along the way.)

Hopefully, these stories will teach and inspire your children.


The Cookie Stall
by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Magali Mansilla
Want to learn about being an entrepreneur and marketing? This picture book shows how Suzy and Max learned how to attract customer’s attention to their cookie stand after several fails.


The Startup Squad
by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear
Resa’s class gets put into groups for a lemonade stand competition and Resa gets paired with her best friend, Didi, and a new girl named Amelia. Unfortunately, Resa demands to be in charge of everything and their communication problems affect how their team is doing in the competition. Even though their team don’t win, the girls, especially Resa, learn the importance of teamwork and listening to all ideas. It’s a great book for showing kids about entrepreneurship and communication.


Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
A warm-hearted, sweet story about a Latinx girl who’s an entrepreneur and devoted daughter and granddaughter. When her grandpa (tata) tells Sarai Gonzalez that his rental house is being sold, she determines to help by selling more cupcakes than ever. Even her sisters join in to help and so do her cousins. A darling start to a new series inspired by Sarai’s own life!


Project Startup: Eat Bugs
by Heather Alexander with Laura DAsaro and Rose Wang
For their entrepreneur class, Hallie and Jaye, who aren’t friends, are paired together for a big project. It’s difficult to pick an idea but Jaye’s idea wins out; that is until it’s stolen by her former best friend. Therefore at the last minute, the girls pitch Hallie’s idea — edible crickets. As they navigate their own personal situations at home and with friends, the two use the scientific method and teamwork to research a winning product, ending up with the accidental discovery of smashed crickets as a protein powder in cookies. A delightful story about friendship, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and family.

 
Girl CEO Priceless Advice from Trailblazing Women
by Ronnie Cohen and Katherine Ellison
The 40 fascinating female biographies in this book will inspire your girls and boys to see their dreams as possibilities. Because many of the CEO (chief executive officer) girls and women in this book are also entrepreneurs that came up with their own original ideas for a company. It’s SO interesting to read how each woman saw a need, often from their own life experience, and created a product or service to meet that need. (Example: Josephine Cochrane invented an automatic dishwasher after one too many chipped dishes.)

Lemonade for Sale (MathStart 3)Lemonade for Sale (MathStart 3)Billy Sure Kid EntrepreneurBilly Sure Kid EntrepreneurGrace Stirs it Up (American Girl-Girl of the Year)Grace Stirs it Up (American Girl-Girl of the Year)Lunch Money (Rise and Shine)Lunch Money (Rise and Shine)Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy Seeks a FortuneFancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy Seeks a FortuneElon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Young Readers' EditionElon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Young Readers’ Edition

 

For parents, I love the wisdom found in the book Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner. Wagner studied the childhood of inventors and entrepreneurs to find commonalities with the purpose to “develop the capacities of many more young people to be creative and entrepreneurial.” Nearly all the parents let their kids get bored, had time for unstructured play, and owned fewer toys than other families.

 

Wagner says it’s not just about having particular skills but innovative thinkers need the essential qualities of “perseverance, willingness to experiment, take calculated risks, and tolerate failure, and the capacity for “design thinking,” in addition to critical thinking.” Don’t miss this book — it’s as fascinating as it is helpful.

 

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the WorldCreating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World

Tips to Teach Kids To Be Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Kids Books, Schools, and Ideas

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