A recent study out of the UK demonstrated that daughters with mothers who were entrepreneurs, had a “propensity” for it, meaning, the daughters were more likely to be self-employed if their mothers were. In fact, the heavy influence of an entrepreneur mom actually negated the forces — like masculine stereotypes — that can act against women becoming entrepreneurs.
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.
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.
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.