In today’s Financial Nutrition blog post, we are reprising this post from November of 2013. Entrepreneurship for girls and young women is an important topic, as you can see below. In this week’s Financial Nutrition Facebook posts, we will be exploring different topics around women and entrepreneurship, including the need for women to start their own businesses to prevent glass ceilings from ever being created.
An important part of our Financial Nutrition curriculum is Entrepreneurship. We offer Entrepreneurship both as weekend workshops for schools, and in private in-home programs as a component of financial education, and as an individualized learning experience (shameless plug: see www.financialnutrition.com/programs/ for more information!). One obvious question is: Why? Why do we think learning about Entrepreneurship is important both as a part of gaining financial understanding, and as a skill set to learn on its own?
One of the challenges of teaching about money to younger folks who may not yet have any real financial responsibility is the experiential component. Understanding money is often a learning by doing enterprise, so ideas like compound interest, mortgages, and investing can be alien to the younger set who have not yet engaged with those concepts in a real-world context. While students do express interest in these ideas, as well as in budgeting, spending, saving, and other important financial concepts and behaviors, full-on engagement can be an issue if the material is presented only theoretically. Teaching about starting a business, and the financial processes that go into it, can provide an exciting context for learning about how money works. This holds attention, and solidifies understanding.
Interestingly, though, I am finding that more and more young women are actually interested in starting their own enterprise, whether it is for-profit or socially based. I can understand this interest from the context of women and money. The women entrepreneurs I know are motivated by income potential and time flexibility, being their own boss and not having to worry about discriminatory barriers, and usually, a sincere interest in serving others and making life better. For some women, having their own business is the most effective way to overcome income inequality, bypass discriminatory barriers, and find a way to do fulfilling, meaningful work on their own terms.
As an educator, I see huge value in teaching girls and young women about Entrepreneurship, whether or not they want to own their own business one day. Entrepreneurship is all about creativity and resourcefulness. Equally important are the required elements of tenacity and resiliency — every entrepreneur knows in their world, it is a must to embrace failure, and to learn to bounce back with an even better idea. Entrepreneurship demands a certain amount of fearlessness and measured risk taking, which can be translated more positively into self-confidence and belief in one’s abilities. Idea generation and opportunity recognition are also key to starting a new venture. Whether the venture is for-profit or socially minded, Entrepreneurship is all about finding a better way, a new way, or maybe even the only way, to help make life better.
Kudos to those young women and girls with the vision of owning their own business! It is a mark of an interest in developing themselves to their full potential, as well as making the world a better place. We support that vision, and believe in helping our students achieve it.