BN’s Charles Payne, NewOak Capital President James Frischling, Tea Party News Network News Director Scottie Nell Hughes, small business expert Susan Solovic, retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar and Penn Financial Group founder Matt McCall debate the role of government in education.
I see a lot of lists along the lines of “7 Must-Have Traits For a Successful Entrepreneur.” I’ve even seen lists that have as many as 50 personal attributes delineated that are required if you want to be an entrepreneur.
But today I just want to look at a few and put a slightly different spin on them. Some of the traits that often appear on these lists are:
- Prone to getting into trouble.
- Won’t take no for an answer.
If I look at that list without any headline above it, it sounds to me like it’s describing kids and that brings us around to what I’m thinking about today: How do we encourage more entrepreneurism in our youth?
Nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit
Frankly, while most of us would agree that a large percentage of children have those attributes, many adults – including both parents and teachers – relate to kids in ways that suppress and eventually eliminate those traits from our youth. Unfortunately, surviving in an institutional setting, like schools, can wring these qualities right out of people.
However, it needn’t be that way. If we can collectively recognize that the best strategy to lift our society as a whole is to create more opportunities for everyone, we should begin to value those qualities that contribute to making successful entrepreneurs, including those I listed above. After all, when an entrepreneur is successful it opens up areas in which many individuals can flourish.
I can write about this, people can give TED talks on the subject and Entrepreneur Magazine can publish articles on the topic, but one organization has been working directly in this area for many years: Junior Achievement. I want to give them the thanks and recognition they deserve, talk a little about the organization and encourage you to do some follow-up.
Junior Achievement’s mission is “to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy,” and I think we can all agree that meeting this goal is more important today than it has ever been. JA has been helping introduce and train young people for almost 100 years and it works with kids of all ages – kindergarten through high school.
Working in the classroom
JA has some 213,000 volunteers who go into schools and teach “workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.” They learn to start businesses, invest in the stock market and manage their finances.
I know students and teachers who have worked with JA and they have nothing but praise for the program. Are your schools connected with your local JA? If not, do some lobbying and get the program going. Also, consider how you might volunteer with JA. The program is all about practical, real-world, knowledge and skills. You might be the ideal person to deliver that to some eager students in your community,
One might say that this shouldn’t be left to what is mostly a volunteer organization. I disagree. I think bringing in real entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals is the best way to really get children educated and excited about creating opportunities through commerce. And with major backers such as AT&T, Microsoft, CapitalOne and others, I think many or our best business leaders believe this is a great program as well.
Being in business for yourself is tough. You strive to provide the best product and service to your clients, while still juggling the day-to-day activities of managing your company and having a life. And today, with all the changes occurring in technology, it seems you just get your arms around everything and then something new is launched in the market.
If you find all the changes a challenge and you’re in the accounting industry, then I have a special invitation for you. Join me at Solutions 14 in Las Vegas, November 9 – 12, sponsored by the Sleeter Group. This one-of-a-kind event is being held at Ceasar’s Palace and is the place to find answers to help your build your business from industry experts and thought leaders.
More than 70 sessions will offer information on every aspect of your business, from practice management to marketing to software you use every day. Additionally, Solutions 14 brings together dozens of technologies in one place to offer you a broad but in-depth education.
While the conference is jam-packed with learning opportunities, we also plan to have a little fun. (Whoever said accountants are boring?) You’ll find ample opportunities to laugh and live a little — receptions, networking with your colleagues, award ceremonies, walking tours, exercise classes and a lively fun members banquet.
Want to know more? Of course you do so visit the Solutions 14 website. Mark your calendars and register now. I look forward to meeting you and helping you build your business.
If you’re thinking of hiring a recent college grad—and honestly, there is nothing better you can do to ensure the future of American business, except maybe hiring a military veteran—you care about what’s on his or her resume. You want to know what the candidate studied, what his or her grades were, what their extracurricular activities were, any related work or internship experience, etc., etc.
You also care about the candidate’s character, work ethic, and other personal characteristics that will help him or her make a positive contribution to your company.
If you are like most employers, you probably also care about the reputation of the college the candidate attended, its strength or weakness in certain disciplines, and how it ranks on the U.S. News and World Report annual listing of “America’s Top Colleges.”
But let me tell you something: Placing too much reliance on those college rankings can be a big mistake. When it comes to colleges, there is reputation, and there is what actually happens there.
Take, for example, the following two colleges.
College # 1 has been racked by public relations disasters. Its most recent president left after only two years for a high profile government job, and its dean left after only three years to take a much less prestigious job at a much smaller college. It is cited frequently in articles dealing with fraternity/sorority hazing, drunkenness, date rape, racist and sexist behavior, a rampant sense of entitlement, and student violence.
Recently a group of students took over the president’s office at college #1 and staged a sit-in. According to a student publication, the protestors harangued the president for hours without stating a clear agenda or making concrete demands—merely stating instead how uncomfortable they were to be at that college, which they perceived as a bastion of “white, male, heterosexual” supremacy even though a majority of students are female and/or minorities. Here are some of the student comments (quoted ver batim):
“Um, when you come to the rescue? Of another older man, the head of a historically, prestigiously, exclusively white institution, um, who’s had a history in the economies of slavery and genocide being that this school was founded on Native Americans. Like when you come to the rescue of another white man, from the scary brown people who are demanding justice, right, like that is problematic.”
“I would like to know that you, Mr. President, would be cool with me being cool and safe and not experiencing violence and harassment and assault of my character and person and being every day on this campus.”
“You are the president. You were brought into this office through structures that oppress the rest of the people in this room.”
“I’m not playing by the rules right now. I’m sitting here talking to you, we’re snapping our fingers, we’re interrupting. But that just proves how passionate we are!”
“When you talk about like, oh, oh, just calm down, oh, don’t interrupt people, be civil, you are not living the things that we have lived to force us to speak up. And to force us to interrupt. If you’re gonna say something right now, I’m sorry, I don’t really care, I will talk over you. Why? Because people are gonna listen to you more than they will ever listen to me.”
College # 2 hardly ever makes the news. It’s a good bet that you’ve never heard of it. Its focus is on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and its multiracial, multiethnic student body comes mostly from working class and lower middle class backgrounds, including many recent immigrants to the U.S. It boasts rapidly expanding graduate schools in business, criminal justice, and engineering.
There are no protests at college # 2. In the words of its current president, who has presided over a decade-long expansion of the college’s facilities and explosive growth in its endowment, “Our students work extremely hard, because they value the opportunity we’re giving them, and they are genuinely grateful to be here.”
Recently, when a student at college # 2 lost both her parents in a freak auto accident, the faculty, students, administration and alumni/ae banded together and raised money for a special scholarship fund to help her finish her education. This was not reported in any newspaper or magazine anywhere.
College # 1 is Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school which universally tops the lists of America’s most prestigious educational institutions (www.dartmouth.edu).
College # 2 is the University of New Haven, a small private college that has little or no visibility outside of the State of Connecticut (www.newhaven.edu).
If presented with candidates from both of these colleges, which would you choose? Historically, if you based your decisions on college rankings, you probably would choose the candidate from Dartmouth.
Based on this column, would you still do the same?
• • •
Cliff Ennico (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com
COPYRIGHT 2014 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
However, teaching entrepreneurship is a subject I seldom—if ever—see discussed, so I doff my figurative hat to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for its Lemonade Day. Join in and pledge to buy a glass of lemonade from a young entrepreneur in your neighborhood.
It’s a cute and memorable way to put the subject in front of the public, but let’s not drop it after this one event. I think teaching the principles of business and inspiring the attitude of entrepreneurism should be a national priority.
Right now STEM education and careers (science, technology, engineering and math) are the hot topic, yet statistics indicate that they aren’t quite the problem some are hyping them up to be. The US graduates about twice as many STEM-trained students as there are new jobs each year and Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman recently pointed out that IT wages today are about the same as when Bill Clinton was president. If there was a huge shortage, market pressures should have pushed them up.
Creating world-class STEM professionals is, of course, critical to our future, but cultivating the entrepreneurs who are able to turn great tech ideas into business realities, is even more important. Which Steve did more to change the world, Jobs or Wozniak?
Here are six principles we should teach our children if we want to bring out their entrepreneurial best:
Goal setting. Get kids to see the connection between today and a point in the future and how the path between those two points can change what the future is like. As they grow older, show them how one goal is a step to another, bigger goal.
Selling. Sell is not a four-letter word; it’s the activity that drives the economy, which creates opportunities and allows people to realize their potential and achieve their dreams (goals). Get kids excited to sell. As adults, we can do a lot to make selling a positive experience for children.
Financial facts. Money and wealth obey some very strict laws and none of us are exempt. We need to teach these to our kids at an early age and help them create the financial habits required for success throughout life. We are truly doing our kids a disservice if we don’t teach them the facts of financial life.
Relationships. Economic relationships and personal relationships have never been closer or more important than they are today. There is a huge “anti-bullying” campaign right now, which is good. However, we should be teaching a proactive approach to positive relationships. Show children how we are all connected and when your neighbor does well, it can help you do well also.
Teams and Leadership. For most of us, there are times when we are called to follow and times when we are called to lead. Children need to be prepared for both roles and find which suits them best. Students who want to lead, need to understand the responsibility that it requires.
Social responsibility. Giving back to the community, treating employees well and being a good neighbor are all crucial for continued business success. Children need to be taught these virtues and experience them at an early age.
So, as you’re buying a glass of lemonade from a young neighborhood entrepreneur, lift your cup, toast the future of business and resolve to promote these principles at home and in the schools.
There is one thing I know for sure: What makes us successful today, won’t work tomorrow. The world is changing rapidly and it’s our job to stay on top of things in order to protect our businesses. But it’s a challenge to manage the day-to-day tasks of running a business and at the same time keep our eyes focused ahead on the changing horizon.
One excellent way to stay informed is to attend a small business related conference. I realize you barely have time to attend a networking event in your own backyard, much less attend a conference that is hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Conferences, which are usually two or three days in length, offer an unique opportunity for a business owner. First, you get to meet people from across the country or even from other parts of the world who are experiencing the same business challenges as you. You can learn from each other. Plus, you may discover a new business opportunity. At a recent conference I attended, I met someone in a similar business as I, and we’re now collaborating on a new revenue driving project.
Furthermore, conferences bring in well-known speakers, experts and industry thought-leaders to educate you on business trends and strategies. This knowledge pool provides you with the information you need to help you stay a step ahead of your competition. Most likely, you wouldn’t have access to such high-level educators sitting back home in your office.
Now, that you see the benefits. Let me invite you to an upcoming event where I’ll be speaking. It’s “Sage Summit: Grow From Here”, July 28-31, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. The program is jam-packed with seminars, demos, labs and keynotes designed to help you grow your business, and everyone is invited — you don’t have to be a Sage customer.
Some of the keynote speakers (other than me) are: Biz Stone, one of the founders of Twitter; Robert Gibbs, former press secretary to President Obama; Karl Rover, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George w. Bush; Magic Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises; and Jessica Alba, co-founder the Honest Company. The list is extensive. You can learn more about the speakers, the agenda and the registration process on the Sage Summit 2014 website.
I hope I’ll see you in Vegas. And whether you join me for this event or not, I hope you will invest in education and making connections for your small business. Build your greatness.
I was extremely touched to receive an e-mail from a young lady in India who had read, and was reacting to, a column I wrote years ago called “The Trouble With Kids Today.” In that article, I commented on the lack of entrepreneurial spirit and drive in a younger generation accustomed to having things given to them and structured for them.
Her e-mail deserves to be quoted at length:
“Education is definitely a boon bestowed, which if inculcated does
give you the result of being recognized in the society as educated.
But I think we have to ask: is that the end or is it the beginning? If education was enough to be qualified for a happy life, then why do we have people in the category of ‘educated unemployed’? With all this education and still striving to make a living, don’t you think that they are not truly ‘educated’?
My brain and my heart had a joint committee meeting and the result
turned out to be saying ‘education’ is the process of teaching and making
oneself productive enough in the field of his /her liking. It is just not about hanging degrees and certificates around the neck but making the mark of self recognition.
Many people with little formal ‘education’ have ended up as chapters in the school books for the students to draw inspiration from: for example, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Mark Twain, [Indian entrepreneur] Dhirubhai Ambani, [Indian cricket star] Sachin Tendulkar, and William Shakespeare. Their success hardly rested on the virtues of education but on the shoulders of the determination and focus that brought out their abilities, which enabled their recognition as pioneers in their own fields.
Despite unprecedented technological and cultural sophistication, this
generation’s 20-year-olds lack some of the ‘soft skills’ that are
necessary to move up the professional ladder: perseverance, humility,
flexibility and commitment. Instead, they are obsessed with textbook education and white-collar dreams.
Could you please write something about this?”
You bet I will.
The difference between “book” education and what I will call “street smarts” – the ability to deal with people, to see and exploit opportunities, and to adapt to a world that is constantly changing – has been noted for generations.
One of my favorite quotes, from former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, is that “nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Or as one of my teachers once told me, about the necessity of a college education in contemporary America: “If you are not educated, you had better be smart. If you are not smart, you had better be educated.”
Of course education has a role. You cannot be an entrepreneur in the information technology industry without a thorough grounding in mathematics and computer science. You cannot be a star athlete without intensive practice every day and studying the professionals.
But it is not education alone that gets results. I am the proud owner of a degree (magna cum laude, no less) from a prestigious Ivy League college. I worked very hard to get that degree, learned a great deal both in and out of the classroom, and wouldn’t trade my four years there for anything on Earth.
If anyone asked me why I have achieved what I have, however, I would not give credit to that college but to something that happened much earlier.
I grew up in Yonkers, New York, a working class community just north of New York City, and lived in a cramped one-bedroom apartment with my parents. Next to Yonkers was an extremely wealthy community called Bronxville. Many of my friends in grade school were Bronxvillians, and when I visited their homes I was amazed at the amount of space they had, the beautiful back yards where we played, and the fact that they often had their choice of three or four bathrooms.
I was embarrassed to invite them over to play at my home, where there was barely room for me, and swore very early on in life that someday I would have a big house in a place like Bronxville. I read books like crazy and drove my teachers nuts with questions. My first grade teacher understood what I was doing and kept me after school every day doing advanced reading and math assignments. Soon I skipped a grade, was reading at a college level at the age of 10, and started on the path to that Ivy League college.
My education was important, but my desperation to get out of that damned apartment and get something better out of life made me what I am today. And I am still hungry. If you are any good, the hunger stays with you for life, and your education never stops.
law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.
Cliff Ennico (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com), a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.
Frequently I here small business owners say they can’t find workers with the technical expertise they need to staff their IT positions. CompTia, a non-profit trade association that advances the global interests of IT professionals is offering some answers for small business owners as part of this year’s National Small Business Week. The organiza tions finds that early classroom exposure to information technology and expanded apprentice and internship programs for people entering the job market can go a long way in keeping the country supplied with a deep reservoir of technology workers
Like many technology companies, ASI System Integration, Inc., a New York City-based IT systems integration company, often finds itself challenged in finding enough workers with the right technical skills to keep pace with customer demand.
“The need is there, but the resources are not,” said Angel Pineiro, senior vice president, services, for ASI. “We are feeling it, especially in trying to grow our business.”
Pineiro related that ASI recently won a contract for a year-long technology migration project at multiple locations across the United States. The project requires upward of 100 technicians.
“If the project were only in the New York metro area it would be a piece of cake for us,” he said. “The problem is that other U.S. cities and more rural areas lack access to workforce development and IT training resources.
“We also have an internal technical internship program to get new hires the experience they need,” he added. “We team them up with an experienced engineer and technician and they will shadow this person for some time.”
Pineiro and ASI are strong proponents of the wider use of apprentice and intern programs.
The longer term solution is to “bring technical education and experience to the ccording to Pineiro.
“Technology is a career that’s very diverse, but the only way the next generation is going to truly be aware of technology as a career path is to add it to the curriculum,” he said. “Begin by educating the kids in elementary school. By high school they will be more aware of their career choices. We are in a different era today, but education has not kept up with the changes. We need to wake up.”
Through its Public Advocacy group and its partnership with TechVoice, CompTIA supports the following actions to close the skills gap:
* An increased focus on STEM education at all levels.
* Stronger linkages between education, on-the-job training and work-based learning.
* Additional funding for training and, where relevant, certification of workers.
* Professionalization of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce.