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6 programs to sow the entrepreneurial seed in your child

March 26, 2020

There are more and more disruptive models that are helping to change basic education. Learn how these proposals offer a different way of learning.

11 min read

The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur collaborators are personal.

Children are entrepreneurs by nature. Think about it! They are risky, innovative and passionate, visionary, limitless and determined, cunning, creative and brave, and all of these characteristics are worthy of those who run a business. In this edition we want you to meet small children who started a project to propose solutions to everyday problems and the organizations that are promoting them.

Entrepreneurial children have always existed, but they did not have as many opportunities to develop their talents; This topic was even seen as taboo because it was confused with child labor. Today, throughout the country there are programs that boost their potential with activities that enrich them, whether in business or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas.

Among them is BusinessKids , a pioneer in the niche of entrepreneurial children, which emerged in 2009 and operates 85 centers in Mexico and the world with an enrollment of more than 3,800 children and youth who have started more than 2,800 businesses.

We also have RobotiX , which 13 years ago started what is now an educational movement that uses robotics, exponential technologies and STEM, and which has benefited more than 250,000 students with its methodology.

Even more disruptive models like LIKS , which developed an afterschool program through art and technology (artech), and have a Hub of Curiosity and Imagination, a makerspace with tools like 3D printers to create projects. So far it has had 900 students.

These options are scarce, considering the size of the problem. 26% of elementary school children are apathetic to learning, a percentage that increases to almost 70% when they leave high school, reveals Gallup, a global analytics firm. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why 75% of students drop out of school (for every 100 children who enter primary school, only 25 graduate), according to figures from the Ministry of Public Education.

And it gets worse: a 2015 OECD report indicated that half of 15-year-olds did not reach basic level 2 of PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), which assesses the areas of science, reading and mathematics , and of which only 1% of the students managed to reach levels of competence of excellence.

But there is good news in this scenario. On the one hand, there are institutions (mostly private) that are already turning to see these innovative models and are open to implement them. So the land is already being planted.

Teach relevant content

It is not that the children have changed; Genetically they remain as they were 40 years ago. What has been changed is the world they are living and the one they will live in 2050, when they are between 30 and 40 years old.

“Knowledge per se is no longer relevant because today everything you want to know is on the internet. In the future, skills such as creativity, enthusiasm for what you do, resilience and mental exibility will be needed, and current education must go according to that reality ”, argues Ana Figueroa, CEO of Yourney, a learning hyperpersonalization program for children.

Roberto Saint Martin, from RobotiX, thinks: “Before Google it was thought that we should be human libraries, but today what is left over is information. We need to weave useful content and reinforce physical, socio-emotional, cognitive and creative skills. ”

Thus, what matters today are competencies: that the student knows where to look for information, question it and analyze it, how to work as a team and negotiate, learn to control their emotions and be empathetic, and that they can communicate and persuade effectively, among other. “The challenge is to make this systematic change so that in all countries that is the focus of education, so that students have a skill, knowledge and attitude that, mixed, generate something positive in the world”, Roberto warns.

The transformation in Mexico has already started with educational reform, and the players in this niche must evolve. Mainly, adapting to the minds of minors and how they process ideas and absorb knowledge, says Maricarmen Cabrera, founder of BusinessKids.

“We must teach them to undertake from the child's point of view, using play and fun in a playful environment, because they learn through brain constructions and experiential experiences,” he points out.

Its courses are based on four pillars: business, financial intelligence, personal empowerment (self-esteem, self-confidence and emotional intelligence), and values ​​and social awareness.

Another program with a similar focus is Yourney , based on 15 skills of the 21st century: such as mental exibility, critical thinking and creativity, which are the same ones that are required to undertake.

For all levels

These models are not only changing what they teach, but the way of learning in the long term, since their students from elementary to high school are given the tools so that they seek their own learning and maintain self-government over their education and their lives.

It is very important to keep in mind that the student's academic success is related to school commitment. “The importance of learning is such that it can motivate or demotivate the student. Children need to be passionate about learning new things, focusing on what interests them and their strengths so they can apply it to their lives, ”says Patricia Desentis, COO of Yourney.

There are also initiatives such as Yeii, founded by Érik Álvarez, that implement entrepreneurship and innovation programs at the kindergarten, primary and secondary levels, focusing on children and young people developing initiative and determination, as well as competencies in innovation, strategy and sales.

Marco Velázquez, founder and director of Dekids , a startup that implements face-to-face entrepreneurship and technology adventures for children, warns that it is useless for children to add STEM technical knowledge if they do not go hand in hand with personal development. “I prefer the HP approach or productive skills that have to do with being skillful and productive making innovation that helps someone solve a problem; that's the ideal mix. ”

Teamwork

Without a doubt, one of the most important parts of the equation is the parents, since they are the ones who decide to enroll their children in these activities when they realize that the traditional school is not giving them the skills to face the future. In fact, from this concern Yourney is born, with Ana as a mother and her need to offer her daughter a deeper education. “Our early adopters are parents with this awareness who are looking for something different,” he details.

“We have the complicity of parents and they bet, together with us, that these skills will serve them as much or more when they grow up than what they learn in school,” says Marco, from Dekids.

However, the percentage of these parents is low, to the extent that misinformation and lack of knowledge of these alternatives are the greatest obstacles for these models to grow. A tip! To avoid it, check out the special content for parents of entrepreneurial children on the following pages of this magazine.

The third pillar, schools, are also attracted by the change, although the interviewees agree that the majority of these are private institutions (which make up 14.5% of the total in the country) that want to reinvent themselves.

All the initiatives interviewed mentioned collaborate with schools, public and private, that seek to enrich their educational offer. The response has been very positive, although, as Érik Álvarez warns, the problem is penetrating schools of a lower social class and that have other types of concerns, lack the budget or do not see the potential yet.

Within this pillar, teachers play a leading role, not only as facilitators of content, but as coaches who provide pedagogical development and emotional security.

The trend, according to Gallup, is that the effort of teachers and institutions is aimed at targeting and inspiring an intrinsic motivation to learn, which can be achieved through methodologies such as personalized, project-based learning aligned the maker and thinker movement (do it yourself), or micro-schools (which adapt to the teaching model that responds to the particular needs of students).

In this sense, the government is a powerful piece in the game, which could even tip the scales in the wrong direction, or put the accelerator on the new educational models. The challenge is great but, as Yourney's Ana mentions, “the biggest risk is doing nothing to change.”

Alternative models

1. BusinessKids

Children's entrepreneurship development center whose purpose is for children to start businesses through play. Its courses are aimed at children, teens, adults, seniors and even toodlers. At the end, each student has their own business in the market, according to their age and vocation.

2. Dekids

Aimed at children from nine to 13 years old who want to learn to develop projects based on their dreams and ideas, learning about professional programming languages, technological entrepreneurship based on Design Thinking. It operates on CDMX and soon in Guadalajara. At the end,
The program organizes pitch days in which students present their projects to special guests.

3. LIKS

It has two modalities: After school, for ages four to 17, with creative experiences that allow students to develop their own interests, it is designed to cover 85% of the 2030 jobs that have not been invented today, and PrepaLIKSe , two years in which, in addition to taking open high school, they develop a venture, obtain a SEP certificate and travel to global innovation hubs. It operates a hub in CDMX and plans to open two more in 2021.

4. RobotiX

It has two solutions: RobotiX Center and School and RobotiX in the box. The first one is focused on boys and girls who want to study robotics, programming and STEAM, and is available in CDMX, Toluca and Mérida. The second is designed to help schools integrate content from these areas. These clubs have been implemented in more than 1,100 schools in CDMX, Sonora and Campeche, impacting more than 160,000 students.

5. Yeii

Entrepreneurship and innovation programs based on the creation of projects with an innovation component to which all the teachers of the course contribute, lasting one year, according to the school calendar. It also teaches workshops related to entrepreneurship. It has a presence in 20 private schools in Monterrey, San Luis Potosí and Saltillo. It has impacted some 8,000 students, and to grow its presence they will launch an online platform, as well as state business representations.

6. Yourney

Based in Monterrey, it connects children and youth with learning experiences in small multi-age groups, through experiences and challenges. The former are real-life situations and the latter are real problems launched by local companies, and which provide possible solutions with friendly design thinking models for this market. Thus, the learning becomes very deep and the connections more real. It does this by identifying 10 important aspects of each student's individuality (including their passions, interests, superpowers, abilities, values, etc.) to generate a hyperpersonalized program.