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Entrepreneurship school for children

A school for kids (5 to 12 years old).
EC
Eric Chagnon
community-activities-teens.jpeg
Founders of

1. The seed - A trip to Kenya

Our son Gaïa was 8 years old at the time. Coming back from school, he was very excited.
My teacher will be teaching in Tanzania this summer. She's raising money for the school where she'll go. I want to help her!
He called everyone he knew, asking them to support the kids in Tanzania. A few weeks later, he was proud to be in the top 3 of all the kids who participated in the fundraiser at his school.
That got him thinking. One day at dinner time he had an idea.
We should go there too !
We thought about it for a while... and decided to go on an adventure.
Gaïa, you've been selling your semi-precious stones and kombucha cultures at our events. We're all entrepreneurs in this family. Let's go there and see if we can help them with our skills.
A few months later, we arrived at Virginia's house in Masailand, Kenya. She knows everyone in her community. We started by visiting remote groups of women who sell beadwork.
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We discovered they had to go through brokers to sell to tourists because they do not speak English. The brokers were making all the money. We worked with the women to create a product catalog and thought them how to use it. They could now communicate with tourists by using this tool.
Gaia also had an idea :
It would be nice if the bracelets were easier to remove and put back on.
After talking about it for a while, the women came up with an idea to improve their product. It worked!
We also got introduced to Jimmy, the man who started the Kid-O-Preneur project in the Nairobi slums. He invited us for a visit.
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The Kenyan kids explained how they grow chicken to sell eggs. Gaïa explained what he was doing with his stones and kombuchas. He was curious to know if it would be a good idea for them to sell fertilized eggs. They come from very different worlds, but could connect though this shared passion.
We met with dozens of entrepreneurs during this trip. Instead of looking around for a job that might not exist, they create their own projects, creating jobs and wealth for many. They are vital for the wellbeing of their families and community.

2. The vision

We all want children to be happy and to have everything they need to realize their most beautiful dreams.
To contribute to this goal, we propose the creation of entrepreneurship schools for children.
The best musicians and athletes start learning their craft at a very young age. Similarly, kids will gain extremely valuable skills by learning the craft of entrepreneurship.
The basic idea is simple.
Start with the basics : Teach everything prescribed by the local government (reading, writing, maths, science, etc.).
Use the best research-based teaching approaches.
Engage children in entrepreneurial projects that allow them to apply and develop their skills and knowledge. They'll nurture skills that are precious in the 21st century :
Teamwork and collaboration
Creativity and problem solving abilities
Leadership and grit
And much more.
No matter what they choose to do later in life, these children will be confident they can succeed.

3. It takes a village to raise a child

There is a broad community of people who are passionate about entrepreneurship. We believe they will be very supportive.
Parents
: They will be proud to send their child to such a school. They'll be open to contributing to the best of their ressources and abilities.
Teachers
: They'll be creating applied learning experiences for kids. What a great way to teach! They'll have fun and be proud of their student's progress.
Entrepreneurs
: They love sharing their ideas and experiences. They are ressourceful and have broad networks. We believe they will be more than happy to help the schools and the children in any way they can. Imagine you're an entrepreneur who's part of our network. You receive a video call from a 9 year old girl who's asking your advice. Wouldn't you be happy to help her succeed ? How about going into class one morning to share your journey with the kids ?
Politicians
: They know entrepreneurship is an important key for the future wealth and prosperity of their people. They'll know they'll gain support from voters by supporting this initiative.

4. Money talk

4.1 Money and children

Money is a sensitive issue for many, especially when it it mixed with children, so lets talk about it a little.
Kids play video games all the time. They win gold coins, tokens, points... The game of entrepreneurship is played with money. Play well, you get more. Play poorly, you loose some.
In the Super Mario Bros video game, you can collect coins, but the goal is to save the princess. Similarly, in the game of entrepreneurship, you can collect money, but the goal is to create the most value for all those who play with us.
When money flows, kids can take some for themselves and their family, re-invest in their future projects, go on a field trip and give to a local organization they love. They'll move on to bigger projects, have fun and be proud of themselves. They'll also learn from a young age to have a healthy relationship with money, respecting it without making it their God.
In some one country, a kid might use his profits to go to the water parc with his classmates. In another country, a kid will use his profit to buy his daily breakfast or buy medicine for his mother.
Imagine a community where all the children grow with an entrepreneurial mindset, where they know each other and nurture the skills they need to succeed. Wouldn't you want to be part of it ? We sure would !

4.2 Financing

Entrepreneurship schools can be financed in many ways.
Private
: An entrepreneurship schools network can be developed in an entrepreneurial way. We could develop the methods and the ressources and then grant licenses to operate. Parents would bear the cost of their children's education and some children could receive scholarships. The government could also subsidize a portion of the fees. In the end, school owners could certainly turn an interesting profit.
Public or supported by grants :
The government or private foundations could provide the financing. This would allow entry to any kid who wants to participate in the schools.
A first prototype can be realized at a reasonable cost. Here's how we see it :
72 students (4 groups of 18 students)
4 teachers / guides (ratio of 1 : 18)
4 classrooms with multiage groups + some common areas to eat and work on projects.
San Francisco is much different than Patna in India. Therefore, the cost for the facilities, equipment and teacher's salaries will vary greatly depending on the location and size of the project.
Larger school could also be envisioned to be more cost effective and offer a broader set of services. We recommend a ratio of 1 teacher for every 18 children and to design the school in a way that allows children to develop close relationships with a subset of the whole school.

5. Location, location, location

We think entrepreneurship schools can benefit children from everywhere around the world. There are however places where they might be more welcome.

6. Going ahead

We're excited by this idea, so we decided to give it a go. We already have the core curriculum with the "play to learn" method we developed at Amélio. Most of this curriculum is available in both French and English. We run a small school where kids and parents are excited by the idea. We'll be experimenting and learning this year.
We would love to bring this idea to a much larger scale. We do not have all the expertise and ressources to realize such a project at scale.
We're looking for people who are excited by this idea and want to contribute to it.
We can be reached at
and
to organize a meeting.


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