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Seven steps to encourage your entrepreneurial girl prodigy

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Staff Writer
Academy for Enterprising Girls

So you’ve got a young budding entrepreneur on your hands? Great news! Here at Enterprising Girls we want to encourage more girls and young women to get involved in business studies and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) - all great subjects that will ensure our kids have the skills they will need to have a successful career.

With women still massively underrepresented in STEM professions, and we are at risk of seeing a decline in the skills that underpin innovation and economic growth at a national level.

Because the jobs of the future will increasingly demand skills in STEM to provide the innovation and creativity needed to develop technologies and find solutions to current and future problems, we need to ensure more young women have these skills so they can succeed in the workforce of the future.

Enterprising Girls has built an alliance of Australia’s digital leaders, education professionals, entrepreneurial organisations, large and small businesses to help parents change this and ensure more girls see STEM and being an entrepreneur as a career option.

We want to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of young girls, developing their design thinking and innovation skills alongside a passion for STEM, so they can be the bold and brave business leaders of the future.

So if your child is showing signs they’re business-savvy or interested in STEM, then here are a few ways you can encourage them to grow their passion.

  1. Help them to set goals and plan.

Setting goals, particularly ones you can stick to, is tough for anyone. So encouraging children to set themselves small goals and develop a plan for their idea can really help them to develop those important skills. Whether it’s condensing an idea into a simple goal, or writing out a ten page business plan, these can help give your child clarity about what they want to achieve, which will help their entrepreneurial spirit to develop

Get creative. Encourage the ideation process. It’s all about getting those creative juices flowing and helping your child feel comfortable to take risks or think outside the square. Encourage them to express themselves and don’t be afraid to give them their own time and space to do it. After all the school and homework, the last thing they want is to feel like being creative is a chore.

Embrace the chaos. Kids can be messy, but this is all part of the fun… stay with me… If mess isn’t your thing, try to allocate a part of the house to more chaotic activities so your child can feel comfortable making a bit of a mess and get creative without being confined by rules.

Start networking. The art of networking can be an important one to master for an entrepreneur, so helping your child feel comfortable in a crowd, or being social can be really invaluable. Often this is all about building up your child’s confidence and encouraging them to communicate with other people.

Nurture their passion. Getting your child to focus on a key passion or hobby can be a challenge, particularly if they like doing lots of things (or are generally good at lots of things). But working out what they’re passionate about the most can be immensely satisfying and help them to focus on their future career decisions. Are they passionate about sport, science or computing? How would they turn that passion into something they want to do in five, ten of 15 years?

Find a role model. Role models can help girls to develop their own goals, ambitions and dreams, with girls more likely to pursue a career in STEM or as an entrepreneur if they are inspired by role models to do so. For girls, female role models are crucial to their perception of whether they could work in STEM. In fields where women are particularly underrepresented such as physics and engineering, surveys have found more than 80 per cent of women perceive a lack of female role models as a significant hurdle for gender equity in their field. ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ is often very true, and if your child wants to pursue a certain subject or area of interest, it will be much easier for them to develop their passion if they can see other women doing something similar.

Teach them financial literacy. Helping your child understand financial basics is essential when it comes to ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to make sensible decisions about money. Often we spend a lot of time on our own finances and budgeting, but can forget to pass that knowledge onto our kids. Teaching them to save, to complete chores for pocket money, and the importance of budgeting are all vital life skills. If you need some tips, The Barefoot Investor for Families might be a good place to start.

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