How to Raise Entrepreneurial Giants of the Future in Africa

How to Raise Entrepreneurial Giants of the Future in Africa

In this piece, I will be sharing with you a few tips on how to raise financially savvy and entrepreneurial kids. Before going deeply into this subject of discourse, let me admit to few points.

Entrepreneurship isn’t meant for everyone. There should be no pretense about that. We do not all need to be entrepreneurs or business owners to be successful in life. Entrepreneurship involves some brutal psychological price or pains that not many people were raised or genetically made up to bear. 

Much as I admit to these points, need to also state that the future of jobs (given current skill-sets we all have) doesn’t look really bright. In not so distant future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are going to render a whole lot of people jobless. This is even when the world population growth rate doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Preparing our kids towards this future through entrepreneurship training from an early stage of their growth is the best pathway forward, I think. Also we must broaden their minds beyond the limit of our aging national curricula. Many things we currently teach our kids at schools today are perhaps not relevant to their future. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba shares similar sentiments.

I do believe that entrepreneurship, to a large extent, is not a DNA thing. Neither is it a preserve of any tribe or race. The skills, the values and the mindset underlying it are teachable, especially from early stage of one’s growth. In my view, overprotective parents are less likely to raise kids with independent and entrepreneurial mindsets. 

In view of the aforesaid, below are some of the ways, as suggested by Peter T. Mayer on Quora, to raising new entrepreneurial giants for the future:

First. Teach them the value of money at the very early stage of their growth

Try to hold back on some of your kids’ demands. Buying everything your they demand of you doesn’t make you more caring than other parents who try to help the kids manage their expectations. Sometime make them earn what they want. You can achieve this by giving them certain deliverable target as a precondition to buying them the requested gifts.

Second. Teach them responsibilities

Teach them that they are responsible for their own things and certain things need to be done by them, each with own actionable results. Let them see that for every wrong judgement, there’s a consequence. More importantly, teach them the virtue of taking responsibility for their actions. This is the only way to breed children that don’t grow up to become buck-passers and blame-game addicts. Entrepreneurs don’t blame ‘village people’ or witches for their woes. They boldly face the consequences of their wrong judgement in business decisions.

Third. Teach them independence

Let them do things alone. Dad and mum, calm down. You were not with them in the womb, yet they survived. Let your kids grow on their own terms. Don’t be overprotective. If a kid is not in the mood to smile, don’t force it. If s/he’s not willing to crawl before walking, don’t force it. There is no rule that says every child must crawl before walking. This is one beautiful lesson I learnt from my daughter.

Dear parent, it makes no sense if your son/ daughter has to call you for concurrence or validation before taking every single decision. Let’s stop breeding weaklings. One key virtue of entrepreneurship is independence of mind and thought.

Fourth. Teach them the virtues of hard work

Sometimes, get your kids to help you out on your office work or certain business commitments (provided no confidential data breach is involved), and reward them. Let your kids have a feel of what you do and the stress you go through, to give them the comfort they are enjoying. Let them see how hard work pays. If they help you fix some business or work-related issues, reward them with some token. With that, the subtle message you’ve passed is “Entrepreneurship comes with pain of hardwork and ultimately huge reward”.

Fifth. Teach them the concept of sacrifice

Let your kids know that to reach a goal in life, they might have to give up some comfort and make certain sacrifices. Let them experience it first-hand that nothing comes easy. Make them give out some of their own things (money, clothes etc.) to the needy. Teach them the habit of letting go what has been lost. Get them to give out something to get what they want. Let’s stop breeding self-entitled and the-world-owes-me brigands. Entrepreneurs don’t have entitlement mentality. They give to get.

Sixth. Teach them virtues of perseverance and competitiveness 

Engaging your kids sports and martial arts is one important way to bringing the virtues perseverance and competitiveness out of your kids. Now let’s get this straight. Getting your kids to learn these sports wouldn’t rob them of their career desires (that’s even if you’re not the one imposing a career choice on them). Not every kid will turn out to be C. Ronaldo or Serena Williams. Getting kids involved in sporting activities helps them appreciate the pain of perseverance and the turf of competition involved in life pursuits. 

Entrepreneurs are resolute people in times of pain and troubles. They don’t fear competition either.

Seventh. Help your kids grow their creativity

Let your kids create things with little or no influence from you. Help your kids provoke their creative thoughts. Give them some make-believe life problems to solve, without interrupting with their thought process. Get them to do some seemingly impossible tasks at their own pace and freewill. Only provide them a guide. Allow your kids to explore the works of arts in a way that would help trigger their creativity at the early stage.

Eighth. Get your kids to learn the habits of saving and investing

Teach them basic investment options. Let them know that great people don’t spend an income they’ve not received. Let them know that great people don’t borrow to fund bogus life style. Get them to learn the habit of deferred gratification. Instant gratification mentality breeds greed and lack of vision. Teach your kids how to dream and see beyond the periphery.

Finally, let your kids know failure is normal

I do understand the need to sometimes pressure our kids to get the best scores and come first in exams and competitions etc; but to be a successful entrepreneur, a kid need to be taught how to handle failure and not be let down by it. Let them know that failure doesn’t mean an end of the world. Don’t treat your kid like prisoner because s/he fails in school test or job interviews. Don’t call them failures, or good-for-nothing entities. Don’t undermine or emotionally run your kids down on account of failure.

However, much as it is very normal to make mistakes and encounter failure in life pursuits, let your kids know that mediocrity is never an option. Entrepreneurs are prepared to make mistakes, but they don’t intentionally make stupid decisions. They don’t sit by and watch things happen. They make things happen.

Let us raise a new set of entrepreneurial giants for the future. 

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