Youth can make their own future by increasing their entrepreneurial skills

Youth can increase career success with entrepreneurship skills and opportunities through 4-H.

As the residents of Michigan deal with a struggling economy, many youth are concerned about their future. While there are many skills important for career success, entrepreneurship skills in particular can propel youth towards prosperity and freedom. These skills include understanding business basics, such as a business plan and marketing, learning how to take risks and becoming an innovator. Many of these qualities are useful in any career path, such as problem solving, creative thinking and communication skills.

It is important to encourage entrepreneurial thinking among youth and young people, as entrepreneurs drive job creation and innovation and will play major roles in the future economy (Encouraging Future Innovation). The U.S. Small Business Association reports that small firms employ half of all private sector employees, represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, and create more than half of all non-farm gross domestic product.

While at least half of all high school students are interested in someday owning their own business (Junior Achievement 2010 Teens and Entrepreneurship Survey), there are not many entrepreneurial skills being taught in school or other formal education settings. Motivated teens looking for education or peer inspiration need to actively seek out a supportive environment. The Michigan 4-H website has many resources for a budding entrepreneur, including lists of websites and books that offer learning opportunities.

An upcoming prospect for both teens and adult volunteers is the 4-H Entrepreneurship Teen and Adult Volunteer Leader Workshop being held March 31 - April 1, 2012. This is a great place to learn more about entrepreneurial skills and put them into practice. Participants will choose between several tracks, and will have an opportunity for hands-on learning about marketing, budgeting, problem-solving and presentation skills and goal-setting, and they’ll meet real-life entrepreneurs. Adults also have the option to learn about a dynamic curriculum (Generation E) that could be used in schools or in after-school 4-H clubs.

According to the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, successful entrepreneurs “assume that they cannot predict the future, but instead can act to make a future that is different than that of the past.” If you are interested in making your own future, take steps today to increase your entrepreneurial skills!

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