Singapore is a country of entrepreneurs. It has over 40,000 startups and at least 150 venture capitalists. According to Angel Investment Network, around 7% of Singaporeans participate in an entrepreneurial transaction. Meanwhile, not less than 45,000 businesses operate here.
Many of these companies are owned and run by families, a tradition not uncommon in the Asia-Pacific region. In a 2018 report by Credit Suisse on family enterprises, most businesses in the area are passed down through generations except for those in Japan.
Further, Duke Corporate Education shared that families build not only small and medium enterprises but also conglomerates. Families own about 17% of the world’s biggest Asian firms.
If you have a business in Singapore, perhaps you, too, are thinking of leaving a legacy to your children. The question is, when is the best time to prepare them for the task at hand? How do you accomplish it?
When to Teach Kids about Entrepreneurship
According to Jeff Brown, the founder of TeachingKidsBusiness.com, there’s no exact age to teach kids about businesses. Instead, parents can take a hint. They can introduce children to entrepreneurship skills when:
• Kids ask questions, such as “What office do you go to?” or “What do you do?”
• The opportunity becomes available, like when you bring your product at home or introduce an employee
• They develop lifelong skills such as socialization, analysis, and creativity. These are critical foundations for any entrepreneur.
How to Teach Kids to Do Business
There’s no single strategy to teach kids to do business, but experts often agree on:
1. Help Them Set Up a Routine
In his 2018 article in Entrepreneur, John Rampton recommended helping toddlers establish a sleep routine:
• Let them take a bath.
• Brush their teeth.
• Read storybooks for kids.
• Prepare them for bed (lights out!).
In particular, kids can learn a lot from the books they read. Some picture books can already teach them hard skills like counting or reading. Others can help them develop a character like resilience and patience. Parents can then relate these stories to everyday life, especially those often faced by entrepreneurs.
2. Enroll Them in Business-Driven Classes
In the summer, you can look for organizations that run entrepreneurship camps like Smarter Me. Some of these classes focus on innovation, which is essential for Singaporean businesses.
In a KPMG report, over half of the 100 family-owned Singaporean companies had no existing innovation plan. Less than 30% encouraged employees to try new ideas.
While most students in the country are some of the brightest in maths, parents can complement their learning with mini-MBA courses. The Keys Academy, for instance, offers its CEO track. It introduces children as young as 6 to the basics of business and leadership.
These activities can also expose kids to different learning styles and people. They will learn to be diverse, flexible, and social. All these will help them make the right decisions in the future.
3. Allow Them to Fail
Most people believe that Asian parents set high expectations or significant pressure on their children, whether they like it or not. These leave little room for kids to fail.
However, one expert suggests that moms and dads should allow children to make mistakes. In fact, they need to practice tough love sometimes. This way, they become less self-entitled and more open and generous. They discover how to regulate their emotions and even manage their stress levels later.
Your kids will have to wait decades before they can take over the reins. However, anytime is a good time to prepare them for the long road ahead. In fact, the earlier, the better.
Further, learning need not be boring. It can be fun and natural so that children will enjoy the process.