How to utilize local entrepreneurs to teach kids entrepreneurship.

Parts 1-4 of the series included: an overview of the 5 things to successfully teach kids entrepreneurship, how to choose a business idea, how to create a feasible business model and what business basics to teach. Part 5 I will focus on how to use local entrepreneurs to help teach kids entrepreneurship.

I will include what types of entrepreneurs work best to help teach kids entrepreneurship and how to approach them so that they are excited about sharing their business and their story. I will also include a fun activity that you can do that will get the kids thinking about the qualities of a successful entrepreneur.

“All Entrepreneurs have a story and have made mistakes and it is certainly less painful to learn from others’ mistakes!”

-Julie Ann Wood

I have found entrepreneurs to be quite excited to share their stories (and mistakes) with young entrepreneurs. Their stories help teach kids entrepreneurship and provide insight that they may not get from just learning the business content. Instead of learning the hard way, they can learn valuable lessons from entrepreneurs who have already learned the hard way. That is why we build field trips and guest speakers from a variety of entrepreneurs and business types into our More Than a Lemonade Stand Youth Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

Here are 3 tips on finding and choosing entrepreneurs that can help teach kids entrepreneurship:

  • Find businesses in your area that the kids and/or their families most likely do business with and/or buy things from already. It may be a restaurant, grocery store, coffee shop, dentist or bank.
  • Ask entrepreneurs you already know if they are willing and able to tell about their business (make sure it is something that would interest the kids).
  • Find a unique business that may be different from the businesses kids would be familiar with or possibly have some interesting manufacturing process they can show the kids.

Once you have found the entrepreneurs that you feel would be good to teach kids entrepreneurship, then you need to contact them to see if they have the time (entrepreneurs are busy running their businesses).

It’s helpful to let them know that you are only looking for 45 mins – 1 hour of their time.  They are usually willing to give up an hour of time to help young entrepreneurs. Remember what type of business they run and don’t ask them for a time that would be one of their busiest times (i.e. restaurants are busiest during meal times). Also, let them know that you would like to have them share their story including how and why they started their business, what their business does, what problem it solves and what lessons they’ve learned.  Lastly, if they say no don’t take it personally. They may be too busy, or they may not be comfortable talking to a group of kids. Always thank them for their time (we have the kids write thank you notes ????)!

When the speakers and or field trip is complete, debrief by discussing the different businesses they saw and what was interesting about them.  Then discuss the different characteristics of an entrepreneur.

A fun small team activity you can add to teach kids entrepreneurship is the “ultimate entrepreneur”.

Each table of 4 or 5 kids get a piece of butcher roll paper about 5 feet long.  Then as a team, they draw their version of the “ultimate entrepreneur” including labeling the parts with the different characteristics (i.e., a watch might be labeled with meeting deadlines). They have about 45 minutes to draw and label and then each team has 3-5 minutes to present their version to the class.  It is a fun activity and the creativity is wonderful. If you would like a copy of the ultimate entrepreneur handout we use in our youth entrepreneur program, complete the Contact Us form on the eseedling website and put in the comments that you would like one and we’ll email it to you.

In part 6 of the series, we’ll review how we use the Biz Ops Game and a real life team lemonade stand as experiential learning activities  to learn about business. If you missed any of the first 4 parts of the series Five things to successfully teach kids’ entrepreneurship, you can view them on the eseedling blog.  If you would like to learn more about our youth entrepreneurship curriculum visit