There are many reasons that cultivating young entrepreneurs makes sense. As I have recently been working on a TEDx talk I’m giving later this year; I realize how important it is to start teaching and mentoring kids about entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset.  Here are 5 reasons that affect each one of us and the future of our communities and why we should all be cultivating young entrepreneurs!

1.Entrepreneurs are retiring and cultivating entrepreneurs will help fill the void.

You’ve seen the For-Lease Signs and the headlines in the paper about local business owners retiring and closing their businesses that they worked so hard to build. It is just the start of a trend that is happening all over our country. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 10,000 persons are turning 65 every day and nearing retirement (and this will go on through 2030). And even scarier, the US Census states that two-thirds of small businesses are owned by those baby boomers who are turning 65 each day. This is leaving a huge void in our local communities of which small businesses are the economic driver. Cultivating young entrepreneurs would help fill that void.

2. Our public schools are being evaluated on standardized testing scores and so teachers are forced to “teach to the tests”.

Students are also pressured to take courses for college prep and to earn credits that they can use for college to help lower the financial burden for the cost of college. This leads to many stressed out students (and teachers) who are disengaged from their local community and don’t realize that there are any opportunities as an entrepreneur or small business owner or that they have the power to help solve the economic crisis problem that their communities are facing. Cultivating young entrepreneurs and integrating it into our schools or communities would help connect the students to their local communities and help them to realize their options as a business owner in their own hometown.

3. Entrepreneurs don’t always succeed on their first try.

According to the Small Business Administration, over 22% of businesses fail within the first year and more than half of the businesses fail within the first 5 years. The number #1 reason they list for failure is there is no market for what they are selling. If we start cultivating young entrepreneurs we can teach and mentor kids at a young age about these statistics and help them to create businesses that solve problems and fill a need people have so that they can succeed and make our economy stronger. We can also teach kids that failure is not bad (opposite of what schools teach) and that is the way to learn and improve (making our kids more resilient).

4. Entrepreneurs are happier!

According to a study by Baylor and Louisiana State Universities, they found that entrepreneurs have lower rates of physical and mental illness, visit the hospital less often and overall higher life satisfaction.  And according to the Lemonade Day report; for every 1% increase in entrepreneurship in a state that was a 2% decline in the poverty rate.  These are powerful statistics and ones that make a compelling case of why we should be cultivating young entrepreneurs.

5. Kids, more than ever before, want to make a difference.

I’ve been working with young entrepreneurs for over 10 years and I have noticed a huge change in the types of businesses they are starting. Sure, there are still lawn mowing and pet sitting businesses but there has been a significant increase in kids starting businesses that give back. It might just be a portion of their proceeds to ones that are solving a social problem such as getting rid of plastic in our ocean (it’s amazing what a viral sea turtle video can do).  They are living in a crazy world and to give them hope and realization that they can make our world better is such a powerful thing for them.

I recently read a quote from the current CEO of the Girls Scouts that I found really powerful:


“Children are 25% of the population but 100% of our future.”

~Sylvia Acevedo

CEO-Girl Scouts USA


Cultivating young entrepreneurs would help kids realize that they have opportunities as an entrepreneur and small business owner and that those opportunities are right in their back yard!

Julie Ann Wood is the author of More Than a Lemonade Stand and creator of the youth entrepreneur curriculum of the same title that is now used in 20 states and 11 countries. She is passionate about creating the next generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners so that our communities can thrive into the future. You can learn more and download a free e-book and a free teacher’s toolkit at