While the importance of entrepreneurship is already widely recognized, its significance is even more substantial given these unprecedented times. Entrepreneurship is arguably one of the fastest growing specialties worldwide, primarily due to its positive impact on both economic growth and employment opportunities – with women representing an increasing percentage of those entrepreneurs.
The promotion of female entrepreneurship is of particular importance for women in business in rural and small towns, like the Shuswap Region of south-central British Columbia, as it can provide employment opportunities that may not otherwise be available. Female entrepreneurship leads to more job creation, supports a flexible lifestyle, boosts the local economy, and has a positive impact on reducing poverty. Based on these outcomes, the earlier you start nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit, the better. Each and every woman is essentially born with the potential to become a successful entrepreneur, it just takes some time and effort to foster the development of their entrepreneurial potential. The sooner we begin developing the key traits that define a successful entrepreneur, the more likely it is that she will go on to make a positive impact through her business.
When we think of teaching entrepreneurial skills, we often turn to teaching basic business practices and marketing strategies, but entrepreneurship is so much more than that. It’s about changing your perspective and looking through a new lens – a way of seeing things not for what they are but for what they have the potential to be. Teaching young females to look at the world as full of business opportunities challenges them to think differently, thus shaping the world around them and encouraging their grit and determination.
To teach entrepreneurial thinking, it is important to encourage a step-by-step approach and to lead by example. A firm foundation designed to support budding entrepreneurs is built on three key components: imagination, prioritization and resilience. Each piece is important in its own right, and helps to build a young female’s outlook for both her future personal and professional lives.
Imagination is where creativity begins. It is the ability to take what is seen on the surface, and by thinking outside the box, enhancing it to create something better, or even wildly different. When we encourage our children to think creatively, we are teaching them to find unique solutions and explore different ways to look at the world around them. There are many ways to encourage young girls to develop their imagination. Activities such as problem-solving games, decision making scenarios, and artistic activities can all promote the development of her imagination.
Prioritization is a vital step in learning effective time management and productivity skills. When we teach our youth to prioritize, we are ultimately teaching them efficiency, decision making and project management skills – all of which are invaluable skills for any successful adult, and most especially for an entrepreneur. In order to teach prioritization, we need to teach them how to create schedules and provide them with regular decision-making opportunities.
The third component, resilience, is by far the most important life skill we can teach our children, as it is the ultimate foundational building block to their success. This is especially true for young girls, as it teaches them to pursue their dreams regardless of the obstacles that may stand in their way. Teaching resilience means not to take “no” for an answer, getting up after you get knocked down, and most importantly, to believe in yourself even if you fail. There are many ways to teach resilience, including nurturing a positive self-view, looking for opportunities for self-discovery and maintaining a hopeful outlook.
To bring out a young girl’s entrepreneurial spirit is to teach them that anything is possible – whether they may go on to create their own business or not. From fostering imaginative thinking, to encouraging prioritization, to teaching young girls to believe in themselves, it is never too early to teach children and youth the building blocks for both entrepreneurship and life in general. By teaching the next generation to look through the lens of entrepreneurship, we’re ultimately setting them on the path to success.