So there I was ready to teach a class full of 4th graders about entrepreneurship. I had carefully prepared my presentation, but as I heard the teacher instructing the students to listen to me for the next few hours, I thought she was making a big mistake. What do I know about 4th graders other than I was one 41 years ago! As the 26 students looked at me, I wondered if I would connect with at least one future entrepreneur in the group.
I was intrigued when I first learned about the Junior Achievement Our Region program because it uses hands-on activities that introduce students to entrepreneurship with a secondary focus on social studies, geography, business, economics, ethics, writing and math. I wanted to volunteer, but I wondered what I was in for when those 52 eyes stared up at me.
The fun began when we played the “Hot Dog Stand” game. We reviewed the basics such as how important it is for businesses to make money, and we had a lively discussion about what businesses do with the money they make. Then I separated them into groups of five to figure out how to sell hotdogs at the beach. The nine-year-olds fascinated me as I watched them discover all the tasks involved in selling a simple hotdog. With the profits, most agreed that they should buy more hot dogs to sell the next day, but a few chose to buy iPhones or shoes and saw the consequences.
The kids identified why business owners need to find employees with good people skills, pay them fairly, and need to be good and ethical community members. The students also learned how pricing, marketing and food costs affect profit and the ability to support families. For a few in the group, the hot dog stand became personal as they shared stories about their parents who worked so hard in their businesses. When I started the program, I hoped to connect to just one aspiring entrepreneur, but the children taught me that I had underestimated them. I saw the entrepreneur spark in most of the kids that day, and I hope I fed the flames!
I spend most days preparing, implementing, monitoring and adjusting comprehensive plans to manage wealth that my clients have accumulated. We navigate complicated tax rules, law changes and volatile markets for clients and proactively adjust their plans accordingly, so they can live independently and pass wealth to their family and favorite charities. We offer programs like Our Region to our clients’ children and grandchildren to prepare them for inheriting the wealth their parents and grandparents have accumulated. As these children learn how hard it is to earn, accumulate and then keep wealth, they will be better prepared to inherit it.
At the head of the class, I listened to 4th graders talking about landscaping, lumber, food, shipping and other businesses they wanted to start. If this class has anything to say about it, our future is bright if the youth find mentors who can help them navigate the complications of business. When you see the entrepreneurship spark, give it what it needs to nurture that burning desire as early as possible. If we have more entrepreneurs creating jobs, more people will catch their personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish they are going after, and more importantly, have control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams they fish in.
Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.