The complete guide to entrepreneurship for kids

The complete guide to entrepreneurship for kids

Where would we be without entrepreneurs? The world would be very different. Without entrepreneurship there would be no innovation; no inventive business ideas with the potential to revolutionise society, create jobs and boost our economy.  

 

Thankfully, entrepreneurs are not a dying breed. There’s a new generation ready to take on the world’s problems and solve them. According to GoHenry’s Youth Economy Report, 26% plan to be their own boss in the future – and one in five (21%) say that this is a priority for their future career. What’s more, this desire starts as young as seven.  

 

So what are the signs you have a budding entrepreneur on your hands? How do you encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and what skills do children learn from entrepreneurship? Read on for answers to these questions and more in our complete guide for kids.

 

How to explain entrepreneurship to kids

 

“One who organises, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” A dictionary definition isn’t all that helpful when you’re trying to explain entrepreneurship to kids. 

 

“Entrepreneurs dream big, are passionate about what they do, work hard and don’t give up when things get tough” is a more child-friendly way of putting it. But to explain entrepreneurship more precisely, try using real examples.

 

Entrepreneurs find solutions to problems people don’t even know they have. Take Paul Lindley for example. 

 

Paul recognised a gap in the market for an upmarket, all-organic baby food range, with bright, modern packaging after his daughter was born. He started Ella’s Kitchen, which is now the UK's largest baby food business. Today, the Oxfordshire-based business has an annual global turnover which exceeds £100m.

 

But being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean you’re all about the money. It’s about your ability to innovate and change the way we do things. And that takes passion. 

 

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wasn’t motivated by money. His focus was doing something he loved and in the process, he created ground-breaking, game-changing products. 

 

Why kids should be taught entrepreneurship early on in life

 

Teaching your kids entrepreneurship early on in life encourages self-reliance. It can also teach your children the value of money and hard work, about taking risks, learning from mistakes and the rewards that come from perseverance. 

 

Starting a dog-walking or babysitting business young may not make your child a millionaire by the time they’re 18. But developing an entrepreneurial skillset early will help your kids through school and university, as well as in their future careers.  

 

What skills do kids learn from being entrepreneurial?

 

Entrepreneurs share common traits. They have big ideas, even bigger goals and they think outside the box. To be a successful entrepreneur, though, requires certain skills. 

 

Financial literacy

 

To run and grow a thriving business you need to be able to manage money effectively. That means understanding income and expenses, cash flow and budgeting as well as tax. Teaching your children about entrepreneurship will accelerate their money management skills and instill a healthy respect for money.  

 

Problem-solving  

 

When entrepreneurs encounter a setback, they don’t give up. They see failure as a necessary part of the learning process and focus on solving the problem and moving forward instead. 

 

Children with strong problem-solving skills are resilient. They’re more likely to face challenges head-on and find ways to overcome adversity. They’ll see failure as a temporary setback instead of an end point.

 

Critical thinking

Successful entrepreneurs are critical thinkers. It’s a skill that allows them to assess opportunities, keep a business agile and pivot if necessary.  Developing critical thinking skills – questioning what’s being said, analysing and evaluating the evidence to form a personal judgement – will help your child grow up making sound decisions. 

 

People skills

 

To attract investors, entrepreneurs need to be able to articulate ideas and convince an audience. It doesn’t always come naturally. By starting a business young, your child will have plenty of opportunities to practice. Interacting with customers will help hone people skills that’ll support them in any future career they choose. 

 

Time management

 

Successful entrepreneurs are focused. That requires strong time management skills. Knowing how to plan, create a schedule and stay consistent will help kids keep their goals in mind and cut out unnecessary distractions. 

 

How to spot an entrepreneurial mindset in your kids

 

Is your child always questioning things? Are they creative? Do they understand the value of money? Are they always tinkering or taking stuff apart to see how it works? Chances are you have a kid with an entrepreneurial mindset on your hands. 

 

Here are some signs your child might be a budding entrepreneur:

 

  • They show an interest in making money at a young age –  whether it’s selling cakes or mowing lawns for neighbours. 
  • They love solving problems – almost to the point of obsession.
  • They’re calculated risk-takers.
  • They’re curious, always asking questions and challenging the status quo.
  • They’re independent – they get a kick out of figuring things out for themselves.

 

Different ways you can teach your kids to be entrepreneurial

 

Whether your kids show entrepreneurial traits or not, encouraging entrepreneurship will teach them valuable life skills. Here are some ways to go about it.

 

1. Encourage them to problem-solve for themselves

 

No parent likes to see their child struggle. But if you always jump in and help out, how will they learn to handle tough situations on their own? Mastering a difficult task is character-building. Resilience comes from learning not to give up when things get hard. 

 

For example, tackling a household chore that stretches your child will require them to use problem-solving skills. Even if they don’t succeed, praising them for keeping going is just as important as praise for a job well done. 

 

2. Encourage their curiosity

 

Children are naturally curious. But the dreaded ‘why’ phase is something you want to continue. Encouraging your child to ask questions, explore, experiment, probe theories and evaluate the results will help them learn to think critically. 

 

To nurture curiosity, wonder out loud and ask them open-ended questions. Instead of dissuading your child from exploring other hobbies, support their passions. When kids are deeply interested in something they are more engaged and keen to experiment. Try to be open-minded and see where it takes them.

 

3. Encourage them to start enterprises 

 

The best way to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit is by encouraging your child’s money-making ideas. Help them make a business plan, spread the word and be their first customer. 

 

If your child isn’t ready to dive into starting a business but interested in the idea, there are plenty of games that help teach kids entrepreneurial skills such as Monopoly, Game of Life and video games like Sims, Fistful of Dollars.

 

4. Teach them financial literacy

 

It’s never too soon to start teaching your kids financial literacy. Research by Cambridge University shows children develop financial understanding by the age of seven. Make money talks part of your every day conversation and put theory into practice. 

 

“If you provide children with an income – in the form of an allowance – you give them the opportunity to have real life practice with managing their money,” says Beth Zemble, GoHenry’s VP for Education. To reinforce the link between earning and work you could consider paying extra allowance for completing weekly chores too.

 

Successful young entrepreneurs who have a thriving business

 

Jenk Oz is the youngest CEO in Britain. When he was 8-years-old, he decided to create iCoolKid (now Thred), a website that covers everything from activism, art, tech and science for teens. Jenk now 17, is a serial entrepreneur who also acts in West End theatre productions and records his own music.

 

Henry Patterson’s business, Not Before Tea, began when Henry wrote a book at the age of just 10 years old, titled “The Adventures of Sherb and Pip”. Henry was able to get a government grant to help with the self-publishing of his book.

 

The book sold thousands of copies and Henry was able to expand the business into a lifestyle brand by selling products such as bags, cards, nursery décor and nappy pouches based on the characters in his book.

 

Success stories from the GoHenry community

 

Our Youth Economy Report revealed that more and more kids in the GoHenry community are rejecting a conventional career path in favour of being their own boss. What’s more they’re making a success out of it. 

 

 

SAIRA, AGE 9 started making jewellery

 

“I started my jewellery business during lockdown. At first I made necklaces and bracelets and started selling them to friends for £3 each. Next, I’d like to start making earrings, and I’m hoping to start selling my jewellery through my Instagram page as I have over 8,000 followers. I’d also like to work with a charity to raise money to help girls in other countries get an education.”

 

 

Matilda (12) went into the cupcake business.

 

“Last year I came up with the idea to sell cupcakes, and my mum helped me get some business cards printed. We asked if they could be displayed in the local shop, and orders soon started coming in. During the summer vacation I was earning about £75 per week – enough to buy a new bike!”

 

Creative business ideas for kids

 

Is your child eager to create a business but short of ideas? Here are a few to get them started:

  • Tech-savvy children could earn money helping friends and relatives set up new devices. 
  • Animal-lovers could start a pet-sitting business, or offer a dog walking service. 
  • Crafty kids could sell stuff they’ve made on platforms like Etsy or at local craft fairs. 
  • Neighbours might be glad of an enterprising teen offering lawn care and mowing services. 
  • Gift wrapping services or making cards and decorations will be in demand during the holiday season. 

 

Once your kid has an idea, find more ways to inspire them in our article on how to help your child to launch their own business.

 

How GoHenry can help

 

When it comes to encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in your kids, GoHenry can help. An easy way to get your child financially independent is to allow them to have their own pre-paid debit card for kids. They’ll learn to budget their money, spend wisely and manage cash flow too. 

 

Plus, if you decide to pay your child for chores, you can set up tasks on your GoHenry app. They get paid as soon as the chore’s marked complete. And our in-app Money Missions tool is designed to accelerate financial literacy through fun videos, quizzes and interactive games. 

 

 

Related articles

 

What age can you get a debit card?

 

How old do you have to be to get a credit card?

 

Financial milestones for kids

 

Financial literacy resources for children

 

How to teach kids the value of money

 

Activities to teach your kids financial literacy

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Written by Charlotte Peacock Published Jan 5, 2023 ● 7 min. read