The pearl of entrepreneurship is a spark of irritation that creates a gem of an idea in business. Is it learned, taught or is it an evolution of experiences?
Standing in front of classroom of fourth grade students in San Diego, Californi, Claudia Laird Obertreis, a business leader volunteer for Junior Achievement, introduces basic business concepts to students who any other time of the day may be playing games or videos on a mobile device.
An entrepreneur herself, Obertreis teaches abstracts in Region and Resources explaining” human, natural and capital resources to offer products or services to customers”. Each session has a creative group activity where students have a chance to exchange ideas and collaborate.
Obertreis says, “I am teaching creative thinking skills, collaboration, problem solving and how business works.” Surprisingly, Obertreis shares, “students remembered the meaning of these words I presented during the five week class: profit, loss, supply chain, risk, reward, goods and services.”
The traits of a successful entrepreneur, according to Obertreis, is one who has a “clear vision of what they want to create, how to deliver the vision and how to attract and retain customers.”
Responding to the question, why teach a classroom of nine year old students, Obertreis says, “I want to take my business experience to the classroom so that young people can think like an entrepreneur. I realize that not everyone will own their own business. However, the best employees are those that understand how business operates. Entrepreneurial-type employees understand the relationship between outstanding customer service, sales, marketing, overhead expenses and customer needs. These employees see the whole picture.”
Obertreis explains further that the “for-profit world, government and non-profits have customers and limited resources. Understanding the goal or the mission of the organization is vital to delivering the desired outcome.”
Even with the current economy and past recession, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports more than 500,000 at least try to start a new business creating almost 2,500,000 jobs. The job market relies on entrepreneurs. The value of a new business, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research is that
“The younger companies are, the more jobs they create, regardless of their size.”
The reality is being an entrepreneur is a high risk venture and most people will enter a more traditional form of employment. Yet, by learning business basics along with creativity, problem solving and collaboration these fourth grade students in Obertreis’ class are future pearls in society and will have an advantage in their life’s pursuits by thinking and acting like an entrepreneur.
By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C. (Please abide by 9 Muses News copyright policy. All rights reserved.)