2019 Small Business Awards

Put on that suit and tie! Our annual Small Business Awards are right around the corner and the nominees are getting geared up!

October 19th of 2019 marks our second annual Small Business Awards. This past year, we had many kid bosses participate in our markets where they pitched and sold their products and services. All the kids that come to represent their businesses get a chance to be voted for in seven different categories by the attendees of the market. Every kid that participated was fantastic and we are so excited to announce our 21 finalists! 

For Best Logo

Sweet Tooth Sushi:

Friends Cole and Jett got their idea by combing two of life’s treasures- CANDY & SUSHI! You can find their product at Big Top Candy Shop

Senor Succulent:

Hudson pots trendy and easy-to-maintain succulents in whatever he can get his hands on! Recycled cans, old snickers containers, you name it!

Sugar Sugar Bling Bling:

Harper, 10, makes candy jewelry coated in resin that rocks. Rocks candy of course, not cavities!

For Best Pitch

The Screaming Mallow:

Josh, from Rawson Saunders, has created a game that involves shooting marshmallows out of a tube. His fan game is a big hit with the kids at markets!

Marcella’s Jewelry:

Marcella, from Rawson Saunders, makes beautiful jewelry out of beads and tassels. These lovely necklaces and bracelets are sure to be show-stoppers!

Mosquino’s Citronella Candles:

Aubrey and Annabelle from Magellan created Mosquino’s Citronella Candles to help aid with a problem we know all too well- Mosquitos! They make repelling bugs smell great!

For Best Service

Crazy Crayon:

Friends Harper and Marianna created Crazy Crayons to repurpose crayons that otherwise would have gone to the landfill.

Awesome Possum:

Sisters AJ and Amora were inspired to create fun bath bombs and lotions with fun prizes inside to help encourage bath time!

Lip Love:

Founded by elementary student Camila, Lip Love was consciously made to be safe, trendy, and fun.

Most Memorable

Sweet Tooth Sushi:

Friends Jett and Cole made their business by combining two amazing things- CANDY & SUSHI! You can find their product at Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress!

The Screaming Mallow:

Josh, from Rawson Saunders, created a game that involves shooting marshmallows out of a tube. His fun game is a big hit at the markets!

Sugar Sugar Bling Bling:

Harper, 11, makes candy jewelry coated in resin that rocks. Rocks candy of course, not cavities!

Most Philanthropic

Paw Perfect Accessories:

Evan and Lee started their business because of their similar love for dogs! They create tie-dye bandanas for pups and other animals alike!

Kids Can Save Animals:

Created by Magdalene and Kate from St. Gabriels Catholic School, this brand encourages kids like themselves to raise money for animals!

Bake It Till You Make It:

Mckenna, 12, sells amazing cupcakes for a cause! For every two she sells, she donates one to the Ronald McDonald Foundation.

Most Useful

Loco Lotion:

Founded by Addie, from Eanes Elementary, Loco Lotion is true to its name! Crazy good bath products that make you smell amazing!

Mosquino’s Citronella Candles:

Aubrey and Annabelle from Magellan created Mosquino’s Citronella Candles to help aid with a problem we know all too well- Mosquitos!

Kids Can Save Animals:

Created by Magdalene and Kate from St. Gabriels Catholic School, this brand encourages kids like themselves to raise money for animals!

Best Booth Appearance

Coba Candle:

Started by two 7th grade Rawson Saunders students, Reese and Jacqueline, Coba Candles was created to light up your day in more than one way, with a kind note at the bottom of each candle.

Sugar Sugar Bling Bling:

Harper, 11, makes candy jewelry coated in resin that rocks. Rocks candy of course, not cavities!

Lip Love:

Founded by elementary student Camila, Lip Love was consciously made to be safe, trendy, and fun.

Last but not least, we’d like to extend a BIG CONGRATS and thank you to all of the mentors who helped our small businesses get their start.

Check out all of the mentor of the year finalist-

Congratulations!

Everyone that participated in our markets did an amazing job! We cannot wait to see all of the awesome kiddos at the markets to come. Tickets are now available for our Small Business Awards so buy them while we still have them here!

How Entrepreneurship Works to Build Soft Skills and Prepare Students for Life After the Classroom

By: Zeke Dumke IV, Managing Parter at Dumke Law & SKC Chairman

Entrepreneurship is a current hot topic in broader society, but it is important for parents to understand that the opportunity to learn entrepreneurial skills goes well beyond creating new businesses. The skill learned through your entrepreneurship training applies across many areas
of life. After all, the core of entrepreneurship is about creating opportunities by solving problems. Here are some of the skills honed with entrepreneurial training.

Financial Literacy
Your child, and family, is well served in understanding sources and uses of the funds that support their life; the same way they need to understand the sources and uses of the funds they use in their small business idea. By breaking down actual versus projected income and expenses and creating a budget in the world of a small business, your child will build the skills and habits of thinking about money in a different, and perhaps more responsible, way.

Working as a Team
We all will have to work with those we do not get along with in our lives. Learning the skills to complete tasks with those you do not agree with, and may not get along with, will assist your child with interactions outside of their small business, but in their current schooling and for the years to come in their personal and professional lives.

Problem Solving
As stated previously, entrepreneurship is about identifying solutions to problems, and capitalizing on a solution. If you have a problem, there is a high likelihood that others have that same problem and will pay for a solution. This is not only a skill that can bring potential monetary gain, but a training of reframing how to view problems, that will come up in life. If early on in life you start to view obstacles as opportunities, you can build the skills and habits to see issues as opportunities.

Understanding Community Impact
When you are first starting an endeavor, it is very likely that your first customers will be friends and neighbors. This very real experience of having those in your community supporting your business, and seeing the impact of that local purchase, will help your children understand some very basic economics of community participation that can influence their purchasing decisions for the rest of their lives. This will, hopefully, not only influence their decision to “buy local”, but also the importance of supporting small businesses and non-profits. Many go through life unconscious of the importance of small businesses and non-profits in their communities. By being a part of that ecosystem, as both a seller and beneficiary of a youth entrepreneurship program, your child will have a consciousness of their impact from a young age.

Experience
At all levels of education and career beginnings, there is a dichotomy of needing to get the first job and that job needing so many years of experience. Youth entrepreneurship is, in my view, the best work around for this conundrum. Building your own business will provide a full spectrum of experience and perspective that will benefit a business at any stage or size. This experience cannot only help your children set themselves apart in applying to jobs or schools, but can also help them understand what they like, and what sort of training or role they would like to take on in the future. With so many immediate and future benefits gained by children in youth entrepreneurship programs, it should be a priority for all in the community to support the kid businesses and the organizations that assist them. You can support Start-Up Kids Club by clicking here.

About the Author

Mr. Dumke is an experienced financial and legal professional, with an expert understanding of family office investing, impact investing, private equity, and venture capital. Previously, Mr. Dumke founded and managed Reddo Capital Partners, a social impact investment firm and has worked with his own family office. While managing Reddo, he focused on real estate finance, private credit, consumer lending, and private equity. Mr. Dumke served as finance chair for a respected philanthropic foundation for a decade and is backed by a successful career as an attorney specializing in civil litigation and intellectual property, admitted to the Bar in the states of California, Texas, and Utah. Mr. Dumke has lead microfinance projects in Southeast Asia, where he was able to fuse his passion for social impact with his professional expertise. He is the founder and managing editor of Business Law for Managers and Entrepreneurs, in conjunction with the Business Section of the Utah Bar. He currently sits on the boards of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, SJINC Foundation, the Katherine and Ezekiel Dumke Jr. Foundation, and volunteers as an advisor to other non-profits in the field of venture philanthropy. He holds a BS in Business and Economics from Westminster College, an MBA from Bond University in Australia, and a JD from the University of San Francisco.

Pitch YEA! 2019-What a NIGHT!

Sunday, January 27th, 2019, 9 kid bosses help us make history by taking the stage to pitch their ideas in Austin, Texas for a chance at some of the $5,000 pot. Believed to be one of the first competitions of its kind—open to all students under the age of 18, students from far and wide were invited to apply to pitch. December 4th, 2018, nine finalist were announced (three from each age category: 8 and under, 9-13, 14-18) and began their journey to build their pitch with the support of SKC and mentors.

OUR NINE FINALIST INCLUDED:

8 and Under

IMG_5573.JPG

Anjali

7 yr. old, CEO of “The Get to Know You” Game, student at Magellan International School. Anjali was mentored by Britney Hicks, founder of Bright Angle.

Jonah

8 yr. old, Founder of Jonahs Austin Scavenger Hunt, student at Eanes Elementary. Jonah was mentored by Stephen Stearman, program development director at Notley Ventures.

Ameila

8 yr. old, Founder of Loco Leashes, student at Eanes Elementary Amelia was mentored by Britney Schielack, co-founder of the Platform..

9-13 Years Old

IMG_6447.JPG

Cara

13 yr. old, Community Conversations, impact leader and student in La Grange ISD. Cara was mentored by Brandon Schielack, co-founder of the Platform.

IMG_9420.jpeg

Jett & Cole

13 yr. old founders and creator of Sweet Tooth Sushi, students at Hill Country Middle School. Jett and Cole were mentored by Alik Mock, founder of Genwise.

Arielle-Lo-Lo_BusinessPic.jpg

Lolo & Arielle

10 yr. old creators of YouROCK LunchTALK, students at Lake Pointe Elementary and The Magnolia School. Arielle and Lolo were mentored by Shelley Delayne, founder of Orange Co-Working.

14-18 Year Old

20181111_165734(0) (1).jpg

MJ

14 yr. old creator of Pride Place, student of Crockett High School. MJ was mentored by Stephaine Therien, founder of Beyond Green Media.

Jasmine & Destiny

14 and 16 yr. old creator of Eyeon, students with AISD and High Five Destiny and Jasmine were mentored by Martin Tyson, founder of High Five.

fullsizeoutput_d5a.jpeg

Walter & Julian

18 yr. old founders of Surface, students at Crockett High School Kason and Walter were mentored by Jason Allen.

Each finalist presented an amazing pitch to our judges:

  • Kathy Terry, founder of InLieu and co-founder of P-Terrys
  • Ben Doughtry, co-founder of Favor and Sunroom Rentals,
  • Adam Toren, best selling youth entrepreneur author
  • Jack Bonneau, previous Shark Tank contestant and founder of Jack’s Stand

And three finalist walked away with funding to help their big idea become a reality. SKC founder, Amber Wakem was joined by co-host, Mikalia Ulmer, the founder of Me and the Bees founder.

Prior to taking the stage, all finalist took place in a pitch coaching workshop hosted at Capital Factory. Finalist were joined by their mentors for a SIX HOUR day of practice, prep, and motivation with special appearances from:

  • Me and the Bees founder, Mikalia Ulmer,
  • Alamo Drafthouse founder, Tim League,
  • Live a Great Story creator, Zach H.
  • Pitch coaching extraordinaire, Isaiah McPeak

ALL FINALIST RECIEVED-

All students walked away with a free checking account, courtesy of ABC Bank, a three month membership to the SKC CO:LAB, free cCommerce hosting on the Platform, and a voucher good for three days and four nights to a hotel in Orlando.

Big Winners of the Night

CROWD CHOICE

Lolo O. and Arielle K.

_DSC4824b.png

8 AND UNDER

Anjali Pai, winner of $1,000

9-13 YEARS

Jett Bennett and Cole Scott, winner of $1,000

_DSC4865.png

14-18 YEARS

Julian and Walter, winner of $1,000

OVERALL

Julian and Walter, Winner of $2,000 ($3,000 Overall!)

We couldn’t be more proud of all of the finalist for the amazing dedication and presence they brought to the stage. We can’t wait to see all of the BIG things they accomplish. Mark your calendars. Next Pitch YEA! Austin is scheduled for 1/26/2020! Stay tuned for more information.

Thank you to our sponsors and volunteers who made the 2019 Pitch YEA! Austin possible. Together we are changing the world

Sponsor Slide.png

Reviving an Age-Old System: Part Two- Career Options and Employability

Welcome back! If you’re joining us for the first time, a few weeks ago we introduced the series, How the Implementation of Entrepreneurship can Revive an Age-Old System and how an entrepreneurial education can benefit both the typical and atypical learner by: improve students life skills and preparation, provide realistic career options, increase their college readiness, enhance their social and emotional fortitude, as well as spark innovation. Last week, we explored how entrepreneurship could impact the long term success of students by providing a platform to gain crucial life skills—this week, we’ll chat about how it helps provide students with realistic career options and improves their employability.

Realistic Career Options and Employability

From a young age, students are taught their career options through the lens of community helpers. While culturally, we are beginning to teach less gender stereotyped careers, the fact of the matter remains that children are still given limited access to realistic career options. In line with our “teaching to the test” approach, students learn to plan their future through set parameters instead of thinking outside of the box. For instance, a student who loves animals, might see their future in veterinarian medicine or zoology, whereas their actual career possibility is virtually endless. Entrepreneurship poses students with the power to see these options and explore the opportunities that lay outside traditional career choices. 

As we continue to teach students the age-old idea that they can grow up to become doctors and lawyers and presidents, with our norm-based rigor, we’ve also created a system where many of them are competing for those jobs.  In reality, as of 2017, the top three oversaturated careers in the country were: teachers, lawyers, and doctors. (Hemmings). With climbing unemployment numbers and record high student loan debt, the options presented to students are in dire need of change. 

While entrepreneurship as a whole poses a career option, the goal of an entrepreneurial education isn’t to create another over saturated field, more so, expose students to nontraditional opportunities that might not have previously been considered. Senior Vice President at the University of Miami, Bill Green, writes, “For young people to have meaningful work, they need education, skills, and opportunity. They have to be ready to join the labor force, and there must be jobs for them to take. To enhance young people’s opportunity for productive work, it is important not only to teach them necessary basic skills, but also to help them see that creating jobs as an entrepreneur is important work in itself.” (2010). 

Through his work at the University of Miami, Green, has worked in the community to use entrepreneurship as a viable opportunity to teach students about their career opportunities. Serving a broad range of students, their program has sought to empower youth “at a time in their lives when hope and possibility are high and risk is relatively low.” Their program Launch Pad, has created 45 new companies and created over 100 new jobs in its first two years. 

Green believes, “To expand the number of people who will explore the creation of new businesses and enterprises, the education of young people should legitimate entrepreneurship.”By taking this type of approach, students learn to identify problems in their community and are exposed to micro or specialty fields within careers they might want to pursue. 

Already having a marginally disproportionate success rate as entrepreneurs, an entrepreneurial education for atypical learners, provides students the opportunity to explore a career option they might thrive in much sooner in their life. 

  In an article written by dyslexic born founder of the Dot, Pip Jamieson, she explains how many highly successful people with learning disabilities don’t see it as a disadvantage, more as a highly desirable trait the enhances their ability to not just become entrepreneurs but also find a job! She explains as automation and computers are leading the way to take over careers, people with learning disabilities like dyslexia have traits that “are far harder to automate,” increasing their future employability. (2018). Jamieson believes with learning disabilities come increased traits like: creativity, intuition, curiosity and the ability to continually learn. 

As more and more districts cut out creative programming, atypical learners are presented with the lack of ability to engage this important and employable trait. Jamison continues, “Crucially, creativity is the skill-set that is least susceptible to automation. A recent study by NESTA and Oxford University found that 86 percent of ‘highly creative’ workers are found to be at low or no risk of automation. While the same study found that creative occupations are more future-proof to technologies like machine learning and mobile robotics.” Additionally, she writes, “Although it can be hard to focus in on individual words, people with dyslexia have better peripheral vision than most, meaning we quickly take in a whole scene, see outer edges and the big picture. In essence, more data flows into our brains each day.” Presenting an entrepreneurial education to atypical learners not only provides them a resource for expression, it also helps them flex their critical thinking, career building muscles.  By engaging in a hands-on, project-based experience, students are also presented with real time work-based understanding that sharpens their workforce skills and improves their employability.

As more and more traditional occupations become obsolete, the incorporation of entrepreneurship plays a big in preparing our next generation. No matter what career field is entered, the basics skills required of employees remain the same, and at it’s core, entrepreneurship presents students with the opportunity to explore endless possibility.


About the Author:

Amber Wakem, 2018 ; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography

Amber Wakem, 2018; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography

Amber Wakem holds a Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education. After teaching early childhood for nearly a decade in both a public and private setting, Wakem grew frustrated by the lack of support her young dyslexic daughter, Harper, received. Despite accommodations, Harper’s classroom struggles affected her social and emotional well being—her once bright child disappeared. However, it was through Harper’s self-governed interest in entrepreneurship, Wakem saw her daughter come to life, her brilliant brain shining through. Instantly, she realized how powerful this type of education was and left her job to start Start-Up Kids Club. Wakem’s passion for entrepreneurship have extended past the impact it’s had on her own daughter by watching how it’s affected the community around her. Today she continues to shake up the way we look at education by advocating for inclusive practices beyond standard accommodations and pushing for a broader incorporation of 21st Century Skills through an entrepreneurial education.

Start-Up Kids Club was forged in the belief that by teaching ALL kids entrepreneurial skills we have the power to shape the world by broadening perspectives and enhancing life skills through community, connection, and experience. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, SKC relies heavily on the support from the community to fulfill its mission. Show your support today.

Reviving an Age Old System: Part One- Life Skills and Preparation

Last week, we introduced the topic of how entrepreneurship could revive our education system. Over the course of the coming weeks, we’ll explore five areas of impact.

Impact from Entrepreneurship on Life Skills and Preparation

Life skills can mean many things to many people. According to Wikipedia, “Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life….the subject varies greatly depending on social norms and community expectations but skills that function for well-being and aid individuals to develop into active and productive members of their communities are considered as life skills.”  (no author, 2018). With the shift in our educational infrastructures to subject students to constant norm-based assessments of learned knowledge, teachers have relied heavily on “teaching to the test”, an approach that is crippling students of basic skills like critical thinking and problem solving. As more and more students are graduating high school, many are doing so without the basic skills needed to prepare them for life. The incorporation of an entrepreneurial education can be used to teach basic life skills and readiness to students regardless of the career path they choose to enter.

16.png

No one learns the same way—even typical learners. Individuals fall into four main types of learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. (Elrick, 2018). As previously stated, the primary methods used to deliver content in classroom to students are a mix between lecture, text, and assessing. These types of delivery methods appeal to certain learning styles, but not all, making the ability to make meaningful connection to content difficult. When teaching using an entrepreneurial based approach, students are exposed to traditional subject matter like: reading, writing, math, economics, and science, but are also presented with the opportunity to learn 21stcentury skills through a relatable, real life experience.

Entrepreneurship presents teachers with the opportunity to meet all learners where they are, regardless of their learning style. Lauren Palmer, the 2015 Hyundai Skills of the Future winner, writes, “In schools, there is little talk of mortgages, loans or investments. There is usually little opportunity for young people to gain an insight into business, and the word ‘entrepreneur’ is usually paired with the faces of people like Branson or Lord Sugar in the media, not as something that everyone can be. Schools are brilliant at teaching skills to use in exams, but the focus is taken away from soft skills that advantage young people in the real world, when school finishes…the current education system is so focused on academic success, and there is a lack of soft skill focused teaching.In fact, by 2020, it is estimated that more than half a million workers will be held back by a lack of relevant business and life skills.” (Palmer, 2015). 

Palmer writes as a graduate who struggled to feel prepared for life after graduation and stated, “It was hard for me to convince a university to offer me a competitive place based on my previous exam results alone. I was not the only one, and studies have shown that in industry today, there is a significant skills gap in CVs and job applications.” She isn’t alone in her experience. Polls from major employers around the world show students are lacking the skills needed to prepare them for life, many of which struggle with simple skills like communication and problem solving. Palmer credits her success to extra-curricular programs like Skills for the Future, an organization that uses an entrepreneurial approach to equip students for life after the classroom. She believes by bringing in entrepreneurship to the academic setting, we can reinforce skills like: communication, critical thinking, time management, teamwork, financial literacy, dedication, and resilience. 

Students lack of life skills and preparation don’t just effect their success in college or the workplace, it affects their ability to be self-sufficient.  A 2016 PEW Research Poll showed for the first time in 130 years, more adult children are living at home than ever before. (Domonoske, 2016). Without the ability to critically think and problem solve, many adult children don’t know how to care for themselves. Our “teaching to the test” approach has removed the ability for children to think outside of the box. By adding in a project based, entrepreneurial education, students can interact with real life problems in a safe environment, all while reinforcing the necessary skills needed for success in any career, not just entrepreneurship. Providing this type of educational support can help prepare our typical learners for both the workforce and adult life.

17.png

Taking into consideration the various learning styles in which individuals learn, the atypical learner tends to be more kinesthetic and visual. Reviewing the traditional classroom learning styles of lecture, text, and assessing, atypical learners are the ones who tend to stick out in these situations—and not in a positive way. Often labeled with behavioral problems, as definite, slow learners, or disinterested, atypical learners, like those with learning differences like ADHD and dyslexia, while capable, fail to understand or stay engaged with material in the manner it’s presented. With content being delivered over long stretches of stationary time, atypical learners tend to struggle to make connection largely because their brain isn’t wired that way. These students are also twice as likely to drop out of school as a result.

On average, 1 out of every 10 people in America is dyslexic, yet over 35% of entrepreneurs identify with the learning difference, and more than 55% of Americas most successful entrepreneurs reportedly have been identified.  Additionally, 4.4% of the US population has been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD and it’s been reported that roughly 60% of the entrepreneur community have it. (ADD Resource Center, 2014). So, while our classrooms label these students as problematic and slow, the reality tends to reveal a problem with the institutional approach. 

In an article published by the Economist in June 2012, it states, “Entrepreneurs display a striking number of mental oddities.Dyslexics learn how to delegate tasks early (getting other people to do their homework, for example). They gravitate to activities that require few formal qualifications and demand little reading or writing. Attention-deficit disorder (ADD) is another entrepreneur-friendly affliction: people who cannot focus on one thing for long can be disastrous employees but founts of new ideas…Those square pegs may not have an easy time in school. They may be mocked by jocks and ignored at parties. But these days no serious organization can prosper without them.” Throughout the article, they reference many famous entrepreneurs with learning disabilities like: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Charles Scwab and even how early investors in Facebook commented that, “Mark Zuckerberg has a touch of Asperger’s.” While the writer believed that typical learners will “do just fine”, they believed every business needed employees with learning disabilities.

Knowing that employers are finding graduates lacking necessary skills to be successful, the idea that students with learning disabilities, who are more likely to drop out raises the question, how prepared are they? The Heritage Foundation found that high school drop outs are more than twice as likely to live in poverty, be unemployed, and go to jail and in her report, research assistant, Mary Clare Amselem, writes, “Schools must gear their energies toward determining how best to develop the non-cognitive skills associated with success in school and beyond…Education is arguably the most crucial factor that contributes to a child’s ability to move up the economic ladder.” (2014). 

Exposing atypical learners to an entrepreneur-based education helps provide a meaningful academic environment that not only helps students make meaningful connections to content, but it has shown to keep them more engaged, thus helping prevent them from wanting to drop out. Amselem believes, “For many young Americans, the decision of whether or not to complete high school is the first significant choice they will make in life and it will decisively influence their future. Encouraging students to acquire the skills needed to make the right decision is crucial for their chances of upward mobility.”

Research supports the benefit to both the typical and atypical learners life skills and preparation can be found from the implementation of an entrepreneurial education. Next week we will explore how entrepreneurship has shown to increase students employability and can provide realistic career options.


About the Author:

Amber Wakem, 2018 ; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography

Amber Wakem, 2018; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography

Amber Wakem holds a Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education. After teaching early childhood for nearly a decade in both a public and private setting, Wakem grew frustrated by the lack of support her young dyslexic daughter, Harper, received. Despite accommodations, Harper’s classroom struggles affected her social and emotional well being—her once bright child disappeared. However, it was through Harper’s self-governed interest in entrepreneurship, Wakem saw her daughter come to life, her brilliant brain shining through. Instantly, she realized how powerful this type of education was and left her job to start Start-Up Kids Club. Wakem’s passion for entrepreneurship have extended past the impact it’s had on her own daughter by watching how it’s affected the community around her. Today she continues to shake up the way we look at education by advocating for inclusive practices beyond standard accommodations and pushing for a broader incorporation of 21st Century Skills through an entrepreneurial education.

Start-Up Kids Club was forged in the belief that by teaching ALL kids entrepreneurial skills we have the power to shape the world by broadening perspectives and enhancing life skills through community, connection, and experience. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, SKC relies heavily on the support from the community to fulfill its mission. Show your support today.

How the Implementation of Entrepreneurship can Revive an Age-Old System

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question we as educators often ask our students. We teach them from a young age how when they grow up, they can be anything; a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher—even the president. Yet recent studies have shown only 52.9% of high school graduates go on to receive a college degree. (Chuck, 2015). How will these kids grow up to be doctors and lawyers and teachers when they aren’t graduating college?

2.png
3.png

Of the students who enter the workforce without a degree, only 13% of them are prepared for the road that lies ahead of them, a tell-tale sign, our education system is failing our students and future leaders. A poll from employers across the United States show students lack basic life skills like: communication, the ability to deal with failure, financial literacy, an understanding about how the world works, the ability to collaborate, creativity, how to problem solve and critically think, as well as, innovation and how to take initiative. (Strauss, 2016). Not only are these numbers alarming, it reveals the need to change the approach we take towards educating our upcoming generations. 

Over the coming weeks, through our six-part series, “How the Implementation of Entrepreneurship can Revive an Age-Old System”, we’ll explore how entrepreneurship can benefit both typical and atypical learners. Typical learners are defined as students who do not fall under federal 504 and IEP, while atypical learners consist of students like those with: Dyslexia, ADHD, Visual Processing Disorder, Dysgraphia and more.

How the Implementation of Entrepreneurship can Revive an Age-Old System.png

6th Century Chinese philosopher, Confucius, was quoted saying, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” (Confucius, n.d.). Now, more than 15 centuries later, research still confirms the best and most meaningful learning experiences comes from doing. While schools have shifted to incorporating project-based learning styles, largely, the vast majority of students still learn from lecture, books, and rigorous assessing. This approach notoriously deprives students from hands on, meaningful learning, and unfortunately, places students with learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD in a position where they are twice as likely as typical learners to not succeed.

When we look at the staggering success rate of high school graduates as a whole, both typical and atypical learners are missing vital aspects like: life skills and preparation, realistic career options and employability, college readiness, social and emotional fortitude, and the innovation to create the jobs needed to employee generations to come. If our students aren’t leaving school prepared for the workforce or to pursue a higher education, we as educators must beg to differ that our approaches are working.

Considering the historical impact of a hands-on learning experience, coupled with the staggering disproportionate success rate of atypical learners in fields like entrepreneurship, the key to solving our current educational crisis isn’t hard—it’s experiential. By incorporating an entrepreneurial approach, we’re empowering learners of all types with a meaningful, relatable education that prepares them for life after the classroom.  

Next week, we’ll explore how entrepreneurship can impact students life skills and post academia preparation. If you haven’t had the chance to check out our info-graph with some alarming statistics, we’ve attached it below. These numbers are 100% of the reason our organization is passionate about revitalizing our education system through the incorporation of entrepreneurship.


Amber Wakem, 2018 ; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography

Amber Wakem, 2018; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography

About the Author:

Amber Wakem holds a Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education. After teaching early childhood for nearly a decade in both a public and private setting, Wakem grew frustrated by the lack of support her young dyslexic daughter, Harper, received. Despite accommodations, Harper’s classroom struggles affected her social and emotional well being—her once bright child disappeared. However, it was through Harper’s self-governed interest in entrepreneurship, Wakem saw her daughter come to life, her brilliant brain shining through. Instantly, she realized how powerful this type of education was and left her job to start Start-Up Kids Club. Wakem’s passion for entrepreneurship have extended past the impact it’s had on her own daughter by watching how it’s affected the community around her. Today she continues to shake up the way we look at education by advocating for inclusive practices beyond standard accommodations and pushing for a broader incorporation of 21st Century Skills through an entrepreneurial education.

Start-Up Kids Club was forged in the belief that by teaching ALL kids entrepreneurial skills we have the power to shape the world by broadening perspectives and enhancing life skills through community, connection, and experience. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, SKC relies heavily on the support from the community to fulfill its mission. Show your support today.