Want a strong local economy?
Then it should come as no surprise that you need a continuous flow of new businesses.
That message is one that we hear often and loudly in both rural and urban areas. New businesses help grow the economy. They also employee workers, spend money, borrow money, and are often active in local community organizations and groups.
With this in mind, communities have been offered training, loan programs, mentors and support systems, and marketing support. They also look for ways to lower entry costs and provide new ways to connect with the market.
All of these are great programs. And while not all succeed, active communities continue to try new things and tweak the programs that are working.
This blog is a call-out to communities that they not overlook maybe one of the most important efforts in their game plan of building the business sector. Such programs are often focused on growth now and in the near future. What happens though for the long term? Is the pump being primed with a new generation of entrepreneurs?
Youth entrepreneurship efforts are a crucial part of a sustainable, economically-strong community. These efforts mean there will be interested people who want to take over existing businesses as owners retire or who desire to try a new idea.
Today it is argued that future generations will need four skills to succeed. These include: teamwork, creativity/imagination, critical thinking, and problem solving. These same four skills also form the core of a successful small business owner. Thus entrepreneurship training and practice not only prepares a person to be their own boss but, if they should take another path, gets them ready for the workforce.
This blog post is just one example of how youth entrepreneurship education can work.
The great thing about a youth entrepreneurship effort is that the skills taught are not focused on a specific discipline. While the blog post follows a youth who remains in an ag career, it would also be possible to shift elsewhere as opportunities arise.
And not only does youth entrepreneurship efforts pay off down the road but they pay off today as these young women and men become more engaged, try new ideas at perhaps a small scale, and often are involved in other community activities.
So, want your community to succeed both today and tomorrow? Make sure there are programs and opportunities for youth to learn entrepreneurship skills.
More ideas for growing your own entrepreneurs
Deb Brown and I share more ideas like this in our latest video at SaveYour.Town, Grow Your Own Entrepreneurs. The video is available on-demand starting Friday, November 9, 2018, and it is only available for two weeks. Your questions, stories and examples from your own town are welcome, too.
- About the Author
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.