Play, have fun, grow and start a business? The Tec de Monterrey promotes business skills in students from six to 12 years old.
Franco Arturo Canseco devised a robotic spinal column and a solar desalinator before turning six. At seven he generated a sketch of a neutron band that helps people sleep. With this project, in July 2019, it obtained an investment of 2.5 million pesos in the Shark Thank Mexico entrepreneurship program.
Finally, last February, he launched the presale of his product. The little boy, originally from La Paz, Baja California Sur, expected to sell 100 units in one weekend and sold them in one day.
This 11-year-old entrepreneur is part of a new generation of children in Mexico who are exposed, both at school and at home, to various stimuli aimed at developing their entrepreneurial skills, explains Mildred Berrelleza, regional director of the Academic Department of Entrepreneurship Region Tec Center of Monterrey.
“Entrepreneurship comes from home by generating in our children the resolution of problems, by teaching them to solve them in different ways. And, on the other hand, it has been deepened with some educational institutions that have placed great emphasis on children being able to have entrepreneurship programs that teach them the value of work and money, as well as problem solving, “adds Berrelleza.
Since childhood, Franco Arturo has had the concern of inventing solutions and has always had the support of his parents. “What we did was bring the tools closer to him. All children are creative by nature, but the instruments must be approached so that they can develop creativity and motivate them to improve an idea and strengthen it, “says Érika Rodríguez, the entrepreneur’s mother.
To create the neutron band, devised on a sleepless night, Franco Arturo investigated for three years and spoke with specialist doctors. Even his parents encouraged him to participate in innovation competitions so that his proposal did not stay in a drawer. With the neutral band, he participated in one of these competitions and came in seventh place, which motivated him to improve it until he reached the product that is now.
With the idea of encouraging creativity, self-sufficiency and personal initiative in children, the Tec de Monterrey Business School Campus Querétaro created the Escuela Emprendedora program. This initiative, launched in conjunction with the entity’s Basic Education Services Unit, develops valuable skills in students between six and 12 years of age in public primary schools.
“The raison d’être of this program is to develop an entrepreneurial spirit with those skills that will serve them in their professional and personal lives,” says Romain Pouzou, regional director of Innovative Social Entrepreneurship in the Central Tec Region.
The widespread incorporation of entrepreneurial education, encompassing knowledge and skills, in primary and secondary education programs has been a priority topic on the global agenda since at least a decade ago. “Exposure to entrepreneurial training throughout the learning life of the individual, starting from youth through adulthood to higher education – in addition to reaching those who are economically and socially excluded – is essential,” reported in 2009 the Global Education Initiative of the World Economic Forum.
The Entrepreneurial School works to develop nine fundamental skills in students, including self-confidence, persistence and tolerance of failure. The teachers involved in the program identify substantial changes in their students, who show more creativity, build their own opinions and are more innovative. In order not to lose these advances, Pouzou considers it important to generate an evolution in the educational system, so that the children who graduate from this model have the necessary tools when they go to secondary school to feed this fertile ground.
Entrepreneurial School has operated for two school cycles. Twelve teachers from Tec, eight public schools from Querétaro with their 38 teachers and 1,180 students have participated. The plan is that the next school period this program will be extended to other cities in the central region of the country.
How to encourage entrepreneurship in children
- Create an environment where the child feels safe to talk about his ideas and dreams.
- Suggest financial and business simulation games. There are various options online.
- Encourage him to find solutions to everyday problems they face at home.
- It stimulates his imagination by asking him what other uses he can give to common objects.
- Invite them to use the devices sparingly and primarily to answer questions.
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