The importance of teaching kids about social entrepreneurship

A high number of programs presently exist which focus on teaching children about entrepreneurship. Consequently, if children are being taught about entrepreneurship why not teach them about the positive version of entrepreneurship which is social entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is a version of entrepreneurship that aims at creating solutions for cultural, social and environmental issues. This is in contrast to the traditional entrepreneurship which focuses solely on wealth building and providing consumers proper services or products.

So… Why should we teach kids about social entrepreneurship?

The earlier, the better…

First of all, social entrepreneurship should be taught to kids for the same reason as any positive piece of knowledge: because kids easily assimilate it and later in life have a high chance of applying the knowledge they learned. Imagine a world where young entrepreneurs, instead of creating food ordering apps, online stores or mobile games they focus on issues such as solving the environmental crisis, uplifting impoverished communities, integrating migrants into the wider society etc. Many brilliant young minds working together in this regard will probably create solutions the many of these problems.

Easy development of important skills

Secondly entrepreneurship develops a high number of useful skills that kids can use later in life. Examples of these skills included leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, commitment, teamwork and organizing skills. So why not apply these skills in a social context? The world would be a better place if gifted young leaders would use their leadership skills to inspire people to better their communities instead of inspiring them to work for 5% extra sales.

Earn money by doing something good!

Finally, social entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship focused on social reasons teaches kids that wealth can be accumulated in ethical ways. Elon Musk is one of the richest men on the planet due to the fact that he engaged in social entrepreneurship. Tesla, the car company that allowed him to gather large amounts of wealth, was successful specifically because it was targeted at solving the issue of global warming. A regular car company would not have gathered so much success, and indeed, out of all the American car companies started after General Motors and Ford, Tesla is the most successful one. Another example in this case is the ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s. Ben and Jerry’s gained worldwide fame specifically because it advertised itself as engaging in practices related to social entrepreneurship such as paying their workers a fair wage and purchasing products from suppliers engaged in ethical business practices. Ben and Jerry’s is one of the most well-known ice cream companies in the world. Them engaging in practices related to social entrepreneurship did not hurt their business at all.

In conclusion it is important to teach kids social entrepreneurship for a high number of reasons. Social entrepreneurship brings many more benefits for the local community of the entrepreneur and to humanity in general, compared to traditional. Kids are at a stage in their life where they assimilate knowledge very easily and so can adapt and apply entrepreneurial skills, which will be important later in life. Moreover, there is a high chance they will apply this knowledge later on in life, so it is in the best benefit of everyone that they focus their minds on issues related to social entrepreneurship such as improving the lives of migrants and global warming.

So… Don’t waste time and start to inspire these young entrepreneurs-to-be!

Iris Bos
Project Manager – Inqubator Leeuwarden
i.bos@bdfriesland.nl