Amazing Kids! Magazine

Why You Should Launch an Entrepreneurship Program at Your School

By Kenan Pala, age 13

 

We’ve all had those semesters that are packed with activities from morning to night. If you’re not in class, you’re at practice. If you’re not at practice, you’re participating in another extracurricular. Then, there’s that whole homework situation to worry about, so you’re probably not thinking too much about what you’re going to do after high school—let alone college.

But it’s never too early to start exploring a career or look into subjects that can get you where you want to be, such as entrepreneurship. Many schools are now giving kids the tools to become entrepreneurs. If your school isn’t one of them, you could be the one to make the change.

By creating an opportunity for your peers to learn about entrepreneurship, you’d be preparing them and yourself for a successful future where you might be the mastermind behind the next Facebook or Google.

Start Young

When people are young, their brains are more open to learning. It’s easier for an infant to learn a language than a 40-year-old. And by teaching middle school students entrepreneurship, they’ll not only learn new things, but they’ll also gain a knowledge that’ll benefit them down the road.

Better yet, entrepreneurship can help with other school subjects. For one, it teaches critical thinking, which can make it easier to solve challenging math problems or change the way you look at something in history class. You also have a chance to flex those problem-solving muscles—something useful at any age.

This, of course, isn’t to say that learning entrepreneurship will be a breeze. It can take up a lot of time, and not everyone, in the end, will become an entrepreneur. But some will, which is why I decided to start Student Inc., an after-school program for kids interested in diving into the entrepreneurial world.

From Idea to Reality

The idea for Student Inc. started after I founded Kids4Community, a nonprofit that encourages kids to give back to the community. My friends were interested in getting involved, and I grew so much during the process that I wanted to give other kids the chance to experience the same thing.

After some thinking, I decided to start an after-school club that not only teaches students about entrepreneurship but also could eventually help them start their own future business.

Student Inc. is a program in which members meet on Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The curriculum begins with basic business lessons—like feasibility studies, marketing strategies, and the qualities of an entrepreneur—and ends with a grand finale that allows students to start their own business.

This past year, for example, a group of students decided to start a business called Startups, etc., in which they put together holiday packages for 8- to 10-year-old kids.

Without Students Inc., chances are this cool idea and many others would never have become a reality.

Encourage Entrepreneurship

If you’re interested in starting something like Student Inc. at your school, here are some steps to make it possible:

  1. Find a location to meet.Talk to your principal, guidance counselor, or the director of your local community center. You’ll need a place to meet, and these people can help you secure a location.
  2. Design a curriculum.A club isn’t much without some direction. A curriculum will provide this, so gather information on entrepreneurship from local business owners or the Internet. Then, decide how to execute the curriculum.

Take Students Inc., for example. We work in 12-week intervals, which correspond with our semesters. I recommend doing something similar to provide structure. From there, adjust as necessary to meet the needs of your organization and members.

For the actual meetings, you can invite local entrepreneurs to discuss a given topic for about half an hour. Then, open up the remaining time for questions or to work on a business plan for a startup.

  1. Register the club.If you’re meeting at school, you’ll probably need to get some sort of approval to become an official club. No two schools follow the same process, but it can be as easy as filling out a form and finding a supervisor.
  2. Get the word out.Once you’ve got a place to meet, the club’s curriculum, and school approval, all that’s left is recruiting members. A little word of mouth can do wonders, but you may also want to make flyers to hang around the halls and include the details in the school’s announcements as the meeting date gets closer.

Entrepreneurship knows no age. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook at 19, or Evan Spiegel, who founded Snapchat in his twenties. All you need is the opportunity to learn how to explore your ideas and then the strategies necessary to make those ideas a reality.

If you’d like to get some pointers on organizing and launching an entrepreneurship program at your school, please feel free to contact me though the Kids4Community website.


Kenan Pala is the 13-year-old founder of Kids4Community, a nonprofit that helps kids and their families give back to their communities in meaningful ways. Kenan also founded Kids Tri Hard, a clothing line that provides more affordable clothing options for youth triathletes. As a result of his passion for entrepreneurship and philanthropy, Kenan was recognized as one of the top 10 youth volunteers in the U.S. by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. In his free time, Kenan enjoys playing guitar, competing in triathlons, traveling, playing trumpet, and practicing martial arts.

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