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Observations, Inspirations, and Giving Thanks for Kid-Preneur Day

This week we hosted our second Valley Innovators Kidpreneur Day at Patino School of Entrepreneurship. The event was a combination of functional keynotes on topics such as leadership, banking, accounting, legal, and marketing, plus included workshops to educate youth ages 5 to 18 about the inner workings of becoming an entrepreneur.

I’m always amazed at the things I observe and learn while coaching, teaching, or mentoring kids. And with the Boys and Girls Club participating with nearly 50 children, thanks to their relationship with our sponsor Fresno First Bank, we added an exciting new group of students into the entrepreneurial mix.

In the spirit of giving thanks this week, here are three observations from Kid-Preneur Day that I’m thankful for and can be applied to any entrepreneur’s journey.

1.Retrain Your Brain To Think Bigger

One of the most interesting exercises of Kid-Preneur Day is we separate the youth into two groups for workshops by age (5-11 vs 12-18). We then divide into smaller cohorts and have teams create a business idea to present to the larger group. We provide some guidance but overall the goal is for the teams to dream up big ideas, think through how they would be implemented, and effectively communicate them to the group.

The younger kids really thrive in this environment. Their ideas flow freely and are extremely creative in the problems they try to solve. While some are naturally shy, they are very energetic, collaborative, and supportive of one another which melts away most fears. The older kids, interestingly, exhibited a different dynamic. Their ideas were often smaller and more realistic, as if they have been trained to think more pragmatically about solving problems. They also require a bit more encouragement than their younger counterparts to dream bigger, however, once challenged on it, barriers begin to fall.

2. Focus On A Replicable Mindset

A second observation is more focused on mindset. For the older kids, there were a handful of “natural” entrepreneurial thinkers -- they love to problem solve, are creative, and don’t have a fear of sharing opinions or rejection from their peers. What’s amazing though, is once the group is exposed to the way these “naturals” approach challenges, others began to replicate their mindset through more pointed questions and problem solving. My takeaway is that while some entrepreneurs are naturally gifted for the pursuit, others can be inspired and trained to replicate this “natural” mindset in a short amount of time.

3. Entrepreneurs Can Come From Anywhere

The most inspirational aspect of the event is the kids themselves. As I looked around the room we had kids from all walks of life -- low income households, middle class, foster homes, and all races and genders. And it didn’t matter. The ideas, creativity, and problem solving came from anywhere in the room. In fact, such a diverse background seemed to only help the conversation, as the kids provided interesting ideas for solving problems given their unique experiences.

Have a great holiday weekend and thanks again to our attendees, mentors, sponsors Fresno First Bank, Coleman & Horowitt LLP, Kovacevich & Bennett, Persimmon Marketing and volunteers from Patino High School administration, students and Fresno High Aquatics athletes for making our Kid-Preneur Day so rewarding.

If you’d like to get involved in our next Kid-Preneur event as an attendee, mentor, volunteer, or sponsor send us an email:

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