In recent days, we all read and hear about young entrepreneurs starting new companies and raising millions of dollars in funding. For parents who dream about their kids becoming entrepreneurs, these articles reinforce the stereotype of ambitious school dropouts or dot-com millionaires. Promise of fame and fortune is without a doubt alluring, so the question that pops out is: “How a parent should raise a child with an entrepreneurial spirit?”
By definition, the path to becoming a “professional” is more structured than the route to becoming an “entrepreneur.” If you want to become an investment banker, for example, you will have to work hard in school and in college, search for a scholarship offered by investment institution or a bank, and present your resume at career fairs organized by the government authorities, ideally.
In a contrast to that approach, there are no designed paths to becoming an entrepreneur. It is hard to set a child on the right course, altough in Dubai opportunities are plenty..
However, there are qualities and characteristics that a parent can instill in a child over the course of his or her youth that will help prepare him or her for the risky, emotionally draining, economically irrational and statistically doomed decision to become an entrepreneur.
Some children are born with the natural desire to venture and to build things from scratch, but it is dependent very much on the parents to nurture and reinforce those inclinations. Providing focused parental guidance is imperative to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of a child.
The following works for most:
Let a child discover her or his own passions
Parents often have their child’s day scheduled down to the minute with classes, sports and other activities. It is important to give kids the opportunity and responsibility to choose what they want to do and explore their passions. The debate team or the math team at school can actually help, as long as a student has chosen to join it by himself. Passionate focus is a key element in the success of his entrepreneurial endeavors.
Challenge the child
As parents, we have the responsibility to challenge our kids and help them to reach their full potential. Parents should not hesitate to set up meetings with principals and the pastoral head in school. They can introduce themselves and help the children get closer to different teachers and leading students in each class, as such moves can actually help mentoring them. Sometimes, we may look like crazy over-involved or over-protective bossy individuals, but from another point of view this is parent’s teaching responsibility.
Lead by example
If at least one of the parents runs its own business, it is important the child to see what it is like firsthand. Taking a child on business trips, to the office and introducing him or her to other successful entrepreneurs who can share their own experiences with the youngsters. It is also important not to shield a child from the challenges and anxiety that come along with starting from scratch and building something new.
Don’t rule by fear
Pointing out what is wrong is definitely important, but encouraging positive achievements is even more productive. Entrepreneurs need to believe they can do anything. They shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk.
Great entrepreneurs are not born of a desire to make money or to be famous. It is an expression of individuality, and they simply can’t imagine doing anything else. Building something new is the only thing that can make them happy. It is up to parents to be realistic about the challenges of entrepreneurship, support children to follow their passions and prepare them for living up to their full potential.