Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: Entrepreneurs Are Creatively Solving Problems

Extension Update from Megan Burda: Entrepreneurs Are Creatively Solving Problems

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Entrepreneurs Are Creatively Solving Problems

I am thrilled to be part of the Youth Entrepreneurship and Business Opportunities Issue Team through Nebraska Extension. This week, our team hosted an INVENTURE Day event in Loup City. A similar event took place in York last October. Students have the opportunity to use their creative skills and design a product based on an unknown object. One objective of this program is to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset in youth.

Being an entrepreneur is more than just having the ability to start a business. Entrepreneurs have a variety of skills and characteristics that make them successful. These skills include the ability to manage money, work with people, keep good records, listen to their customers’ needs, constantly learn about their surroundings, and be innovative. But, one does not have to start their own business in order to learn these skills. In fact, current businesses are also looking for people with this entrepreneurial mindset: someone who can think creatively to solve problems.

No matter the project, many youth can already be learning these important skills. If they are involved in a school group/club, they must learn how to be a good team player. That might mean being the secretary during meetings or helping the team run an event. Or, maybe they help their family raise livestock. With this project, they must learn about the industry; manage the money to feed, groom, and take care of that animal; always understand what their “customer” wants in good quality food; and work with others who may be helping them raise that animal. Perhaps they are interesting in sewing, baking, engineering, and woodworking projects. The same holds true: the young person has the opportunity for mastery in these project areas.

There are many things we can do to help youth gain more of these entrepreneurial skills. One way is to help them find projects, clubs, or groups that they are most interested in. Encourage them to think outside of the box when creating things in those project areas. Help them keep good records when doing livestock projects. Help them start a record book or portfolio for any of their projects so they can show what they have done over time.

Utilizing these skills can also fall under the category of “social entrepreneurship” where they put forth the effort to make a difference in their community. They use entrepreneurial skills in order to create change. Maybe it’s raising money for a cause or collecting items to then donate to those in need. Help youth explore this side of entrepreneurship by carrying out a service project during the year, such as a clothing/coat drive, a bake sale or lemonade stand to raise money for a club or group to then donate to another cause, raising money to beautify local parks, or helping the elderly rake leaves or shovel snow during fall and winter. The young person can manage this “business” and learn what it takes to manage items/money, work with people in their community, keep good records, and pay attention to their surroundings so they know what their community needs most, and, ultimately, think creatively to solve problems.

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