I had an opportunity to attend a few of the sessions at Denver Startup Week this week, and one in particular caught my attention: Successful Young Entrepreneurs: How to be one, How to raise one. This session included a panel of successful young entrepreneurs, including sophomores Sam Nassif and Oliver Greenwald, the inventors of the Drip Drop and sixth grader Jack from Jack's Stands. All three are local young men who have invented, created and developed successful business ideas. The panel also included parents of young entrepreneurs. All panelists shared their own experiences and expertise on the topic. Below are the pieces of advice that caught my attention:
1. Young entrepreneurs exhibit a profound curiosity and a voracious love of reading. The parents of young entrepreneurs noticed their children asked a lot of questions beginning at an early age. Their kids independently took toys apart and put them back together. Second, one mom shared that her child was a voracious reader. She went on to explain what many of us already know- that reading develops critical thinking- something you need as an entrepreneur. It's quite an interesting concept and it caught my attention, particularly because of my dual role at Aspen Academy- one as an entrepreneurial coach and the other as a language arts teacher.
2.Family time looks different. These families spend their time together watching business shows, like Shark Tank, and discussing business at the dinner table: ideas, successes, and stories. The conversations are authentic and meaningful. Problems are discussed, ideas are entertained, and the dialogue is real.
3.Young entrepreneurs need to have skin in the game. When a child has a business idea, some of the money that is invested needs to be their own, otherwise there's no real commitment on the child's part. Follow through, drive and dedication are important elements that an entrepreneur must have and when someone else is footing the entire bill, those characteristics can get lost.
4.Start early and say yes. The parents on the panel wish they would have helped their children by starting these discussions earlier in their child's life. They also encouraged other parents to say yes when your children have an idea. And remember, the next big thing can be simple- it doesn't have to be some grandiose idea.
5.Reach out to organizations that can help your children if it's outside of your realm. Let's be honest: we don't know everything and that's ok. The important thing is that we know where to look for help. Use your resources.
What's your advice for parents and young entrepreneurs? Do you have something to add to this list? Email me at: Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org