My Club Kidpreneur Foundation celebrated International Women’s day this week with the launch of a unique new entrepreneurial program as part of our collaboration with Google for Entrepreneurs campaign #40Forward: 40 startup communities rethinking the gender gap.
In recent times there has been a flurry of media activity highlighting the push for gender equality in entrepreneurship. To validate why this is important, research by the Kauffman Foundation found that women-led start-ups are more capital efficient, achieve 25 per cent higher return on investment and, when venture-backed, generated 12 per cent higher revenue than male-owned tech companies.
Yet attend any start-up event, demo day or meeting of small business owners and entrepreneurs and you could be excused for thinking that you’d entered the male locker room. Scan any nations rich list or financial pages and males typically dominate by a factor of 10:1. When it comes to the dreams and aspirations, we have for our daughters – ‘world-changing entrepreneur’ rarely seems to enter the conversation.
At Club Kidpreneur amongst our 8-12 year old budding business brains however, we (happily) have almost the exact opposite problem, and, I see, a massive opportunity! More than 50 per cent of the 5,000 plus participants so far in our Ready-Set-Go of business and Camp Kidpreneur programs are girls.
These super savvy kidpreneurs come to our program with brilliant, well thought out creative ideas, and typically ‘get’ key business concepts such as prototyping, production line efficiency, profit, merchandising and customer service faster and more intuitively than their male counterparts.
Girl entrepreneurs do better!
They are passionate about creating something awesome, build stronger more effective partnerships. And, you know what? These girls on average do better than boys usually by a factor of 2:1 (if ‘success’ is judged by one of the typical measures such as business revenue). They also have a natural inclination to re-invest in social causes they care about.
If 8-12 year olds were our sample group, we probably should be more worried about the future of our boys in business and leadership!!
The issue we aim to tackle in partnership with the #40Forward program is this: Despite girls starting out on a level playing field, with little to no gender bias and if anything showing more passion for business and entrepreneurship than boys, why then do so few keep this entrepreneurial spirit, commercial savvy and business success into their teens and beyond into womanhood?
While gender psychology and biological imperative is certainly not an area I could write about with any deep knowledge, if I had to choose between nature and nurture my experience with Club Kidpreneur leans me towards backing the later. If this is the case, it’s good news for the future of female entrepreneurship. It means that improving the way we nurture entrepreneurship in girls will have a significant impact when they are women. But we need to start now and we need to start young.
At Club Kidpreneur, we have gone a long way to ensuring we nurture entrepreneurship in girls (and boys) from the ages of 8-12 in primary schools around Australia. Shortly, with local country partnerships, we will expand around the world. We aim to empower kids with the inspiration, business skills, encouragement and support to start their own micro-enterprise. Fostering their almost boundless imagination and enthusiasm to create something, and help them build the resilience, agility and business and financial literacy skills needed to survive in this world of flux.
With Google’s #Forward40 support we have taken nurturing a step further – aiming to align entrepreneurship with the primary school curriculum and mobilising our amazing teacher resource to spark and nurture the entrepreneurial flames. Few people have as much influence on our kids than primary school teachers and (in Australia) 80 per cent of the teachers are female. Spending more waking hours with the kids than their parents, these teachers are significant role models, particularly for impressionable girls.
If teachers are fearful of business, view it as murky, self serving, discriminatory club, aren’t confident in their knowledge, or can’t understand business’ integral role in our society, then they may just be inadvertently stifling the business aspirations of our girls before they have the opportunity to flourish.
To this end, we have launched a train the trainer program for primary school teachers. A one-day intensive program that aims to train the teaching fraternity on how to encourage kids to excel at business. Not to mention how to recognise entrepreneurial spirit in their most disruptive charges and harness its special potential.
Our aim is to inspire and engage teachers on the power of business as a force for good, demystify business concepts and show how entrepreneurship is a viable career choice for their kids in this ever changing world. We will also be providing training, support and materials to help teachers easily integrate our not-for-profit programs into their already overflowing schedule of lesson planning and preparation, classwork and extra curricular activities.
The future of female entrepreneurship is bright if we recognise the importance of helping teachers nurture this spirit in our girls at a young age. If you are an Australian Primary School Teacher or potential international partner please register your interest at: [email protected]
Creel Price is the Founder and Chairman of the Club Kidpreneur Foundation. To read more from Creel, you can follow him as an Influencer on LinkedIn.