How early is too early to talk business with our kids, or should we be educating them as young as possible? We talk to our Launchpad members to find out.
Did you ever run a lemonade stand as a kid? Set up a stall in the playground trading snacks or toys? Often the children of successful entrepreneurs are inspired to try their hand at running a business themselves. What skills and experience do we need to be teaching our kids so they can conquer the world of business? At what age should we start having conversations with our kids about business and money making (and saving?). We asked our Launchpad members their thoughts on this topic.
WHEN (AND HOW) SHOULD WE BE TALKING TO OUR KIDS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
1. As soon as they are curious about it!
“I’m a big advocate of child-led curiosity and learning, and I would have my kids observe my work environment and always be open to questions because they learn best through observing. I’d like to share with them that entrepreneurship is a fantastic opportunity to LEARN – to innovate, be creative problem solvers and develop project and business management skills. Working with others, understanding risk, managing finances, and the best one of all, managing failures. If our kids didn’t want to go to university and would like to have a go at starting their entrepreneurship journey instead, we would absolutely support it – it’s one of the best life lessons one can have!”
Anabel Chew, Co-Founder of WeBarre
2. Teach your children to contribute to the family finances, and earn their success
“Our family currently has two entrepreneur parents. Both my husband and I chose to shift gears and become entrepreneurs in our respective passion areas. So this question really made me pause and think – what defines me as an entrepreneur and why? Would I want my kids to have entrepreneurial skills, and why?
After some self-reflection, I believe an entrepreneur is someone who can successfully identify, strategise and organise actions to fulfil a need, and deliver a solution to create either economic or social value. (Or even better – both!) From my own journey, I can share that one needs various attitudes and behaviours to be a successful entrepreneur. The key ones for me are courage, discipline, commitment, passion, and open-mindedness.
We all want to instil cultural, social, and family values in our children. I also think we could instil these key entrepreneurial values as well! After all, these values being held by our children from as young an age as possible can help them to thrive in the ever-changing future.
So, next time your child asks you to buy them the latest gadget or wants you to take them on an extravagant holiday, why not encourage them to contribute to the cost or even fund the entire budget? Or if your child is passionate about something, empower them to put solutions to challenges (however big or small) and teach them to be open-minded to any feedback they receive. For me, instilling the entrepreneurial mindset starts with instilling beliefs of courage, commitment, and discipline.”
Priyanka Tiku Gupta, SHE Coach & Founder
3. Encourage them to come up with an idea and execute it!
“Kids should learn about entrepreneurship early; it all starts with being independent and having ideas to work on, and being creative. It does help if they see it around them as kids learn from observing first and then from trying after. But I have to say I was very impressed that my son, after Trick or Treating at Halloween, didn’t eat his candies (it is not what a 4-year-old does?) and a few days later set up space outside our house to sell them to our neighbours. Seeing him coming up with this idea and then executing it made me smile.”
Linda Morrison, Creative Director and Founder of MiliMilu
4. Entrepreneurship can be intimidating; I believe any mention of entrepreneurship should be through action, not just words
“Entrepreneurship is an intimidating word for young adults, even to pronounce and to spell! So I believe any mention of entrepreneurship should be through action, not just words.
I remember I first spoke about entrepreneurship to my kids when they were 8 and 6 years old. The earthquake in Nepal caused havoc but also brought the world together to extend help. This gave us the opportunity to talk to our kids about helping to solve a problem, in a very small yet meaningful way, through actions beyond reaching for the wallet. The chat resulted in the kids organising a funfair which provided a fun evening for families and raised money for Singapore Red Cross.
I believe kids approach problem-solving and experience failure, creativity, and teamwork differently from adults. So when we let them get excited about a problem that they want to solve, make mistakes, learn and grow, it gives them a hands-on experience with these life skills.
We can write a book on this topic, but all it takes is to let them take action to learn about entrepreneurship. My husband did end up writing a book, Freddy the Eager Fundraiser, to introduce social entrepreneurship for kids!”
Ferzin Patel, Canvas & Weaves
5. Entrepreneurship starts by encouraging our kids to use their creativity and solve problems, building their confidence, and helping them to learn through mistakes and failures
“At a young age, I already understood that my father operated his own business. I guess it’s one of the factors that influenced my entrepreneurial spirit. But entrepreneurship wasn’t something that was discussed with us while we were growing up. That’s why when I became a parent, and now a business owner, I realised how important it is to introduce aspects of entrepreneurship to my children at a young age. And that starts by encouraging them to use their creativity to solve problems at home and in school.
As much as possible, I try to expose my children to activities that allow them to build their confidence and learn through mistakes and failures at the same time. I also try to explain to them what I do and the services I offer at a level that they would understand.
I know they might not fully grasp the concept right now, but in doing so, I hope they develop proven and essential traits that successful entrepreneurs have such as tenacity, grit, resilience, leadership, and people skills.”
Anne Suaverdez, Founder, Wresonate Media
6. It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about entrepreneurship!
“As soon as they are old enough to understand, I explain that mummy is going to work. I want them to know that Mama is taking the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur to have flexible working hours to be with them whenever needed. Furthermore, mummy is brave enough to follow her passion in life to try to make a living from what she loves.
I want to be an example to my four kids to believe in themselves and show them that I am passionate and not afraid to take risks. I think it’s also important to emphasise that entrepreneurship is not always easy but can be very rewarding if you are successful.
By having these conversations with our kids early on, we will instil in them the importance of following their dreams and being their own boss. So, when they are older and see their parent working hard to build a business, they will understand why Mama does what she does, and with hard work and a bit of luck, they might even be inspired to build their own successful business in the future too!”
Dana Wolf, Certified Marie Kondo and Feng Shui consultant, Anjia Living
7. The best time to start teaching your children life skills was yesterday. The second-best time? Today.
“I believe that as parents, nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset in our kids ignites the spark of curiosity and confidence to try new ideas independently. By encouraging Kidpreneurship at an early age, we essentially assure the future generation of businessmen and pioneers that it’s okay to capitalise on their creativity rather than deny it. I attempt to practice this with my own children by:
1. Letting them recognise a problem and come up with a creative solution for it.
2. Teach them to be resilient in the face of failure because, frankly, things won’t always go your way.
3. Encouraging them to learn by doing. Be it their first lemonade stand, pet sitting job, or attempt at that Youtube unboxing video, all such opportunities help the kids realise the importance of hard work and the value of money.
4. Helping them to become financially literate asap! Developing a holistic attitude towards money goes a long way in setting a good financial foundation. This thought actually triggered me to start Milestone, a fun, financial literacy app that teaches children to earn, learn, save and give, and that’s how I came to embark on my own entrepreneurial journey!”
Ankita Singh, Co-founder and CXO, Milestone
8. What’s beautiful about speaking with children is that we’re forced to break topics down.
“In adult-speak, we talk about capturing market share and maximising profit. But at its essence, entrepreneurship is about taking calculated risks to develop solutions that people will invest in.
These aren’t foreign concepts to children, who are inherently risk-taking and problem-solving without the fear of adults. We can help them be positively oriented around solutions rather than failures and to take smarter risks. From birth, we can give them space to experiment safely and encourage reflection by chatting about lessons from failures, modelling how to deal with it, and move on.
I think we should focus more on why entrepreneurship matters rather than what it is. To be entrepreneurs for good, we need to relentlessly ask if we’re truly adding value. Talking about value builds an attitude towards service.
We can start with things our children hold dear – a favourite toy: who made it, and how did their work bring happiness? If our child drew a picture – it brought me joy, can we bring that joy to others?
The abstract concept of money as a representation of value will come in time. Our work to ground children in the human experience of value is priceless!”
Grace Zhu (33) and Preetha Suryakumar (32), Co-Founders Full Circle Family, a Digital Learning & Coaching Platform for Parents
9. I feel like there is no better time to talk to kids about entrepreneurship than today
“Personally, as a mom of two boys and with number three coming along soon, I feel like there is no better time to talk to kids about entrepreneurship than today. Especially if your child is able to converse with you and understands the importance of being independent, there’s really no limit. My four-year-old son, Rio, watches me hustle day in and day out, whether I’m packing my orders, working on designs, taking calls, photographing jewellery or even just being my brand’s own model.
His questions are endless, and it thrills me because I’m able to show him what it’s really like to start your own business, grow it and watch it thrive. Often times he asks, ‘Mama, how do you feel when you cannot go to work in the lab anymore?; And I reply that as much as it saddens me to leave that part of my life, there’s nothing like being your own boss and getting to be with you and your brother all day. It is important for kids to know the value of work, how to work hard for what you have and how to appreciate it so they can implement this skill in other aspects of their lives.”
Henna Thadani, Owner & Designer at Del Rio Jewels
Thank you to our Launchpad members for sharing their views with us! Want to share your thoughts? Reach out to us.