Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship: What Do You Know About Entrepreneurship
“I sincerely believe that if you ignite the spark that lies in all children— whether they are special needs or not— every single child will exceed realistic expectations.”
~ Kristine Barnett Author of The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius
What Do You Know About Entrepreneurship?
Are you an entrepreneur? Do you know an entrepreneur? Is your knowledge of entrepreneurship limited to the characters as seen on ‘Shark Tank’ and the movie “The Social Network”? What do you know exactly about entrepreneurship other than that it involves starting your own business? Does the venture sound as complicated as the word describing it?
What does it take to be an entrepreneur? How smart do you have to be? How creative are entrepreneurs? Does the entrepreneur come up with all the ideas on his/her own? Is someone born to be an entrepreneur or is it something that can be taught and learned? Why are some entrepreneurs successful, and others less successful? How does an entrepreneur define success?
Lots of questions, we know. But asking questions like these is an important start to your journey down the path of self-employment. Why? Because it helps you meter what you know, versus what you don’t know, coupled with what you are unsure about. It also measures your perception of entrepreneurship and how you feel about it. There are many more questions one could ask, but these will get both your mind and your heart stirred enough, to want to ask more questions.
Who Do We Mean by Everyone?
As you may notice the title of this article, we suggest everyone be educated on entrepreneurship (self-employment). But whom exactly are we referring to? Well in general, studies have shown that anyone exposed to & taught the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, show clear indications of better performance and problem-solving in the workplace. Harvard, in a study with the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (Also known as NFTE – Pronounced ‘Nifty’), proved that students whom were taught entrepreneurship at a young age, tested better in school, improved their interest in learning and increased their sense of work ethics.
Well, one might say, that because the study was done with neurotypical students, it holds little weight when speaking of students with disabilities. The reality is, the fact that a student has a disability, does not mean they are any less competitive and innovative than neurotypical students. In all actuality, we have seen here at Picasso Einstein that students with disabilities are more competitive than those with no disabilities. We have seen students whom prior to learning entrepreneurship had lived a life simply going along with the plans and activities that were set before them by their parents and therapists with little input of their own. After learning entrepreneurship they wanted a say in their lives, a stake hold in their future, an impact on their own decisions in life. Yes, these changes were shocking and difficult for some families to manage, but they were fundamental changes in attitude and self-determination nonetheless.
Parents are no exception to the rule. When we first started teaching individuals with disabilities about entrepreneurship, they were going home to families that would stifle the idea of them being self-employed. So what did we do? We started “Project Family'” a course that involves the parents and caregivers in the entrepreneurship learning process. We realized early on, that the immediate sustainability of these business ventures need the parents to be involved, versed on self-employment and most importantly, convinced that their son/daughter could fully participate in the venture. A sad reality we deal with all too often, are parents who think self-employment is beyond their children. Many parents have succumbed to the very system that would have all of us focus solely on the disability, and lose sight of the potential abilities. Additionally, many parents have never been entrepreneurs and so therefore, the ability to buy into self-employment is difficult because of the lack of information and/or misinformation about basic microenterprise and self-employment understandings.
Caregivers, Professionals & Teachers can be powerful influencers in a self-employment venture. Individuals involved in the life of anyone with a disability have a unique opportunity to either fuel the fire of self-employment, or stifle the desire. More often than not, professionals struggle to understand how to fully support a self-employment venture. Sometimes the struggle is due to the common disproportionate focus on one’s disabilities, but most times it is simply due to one’s lack of entrepreneurial experience or understanding.
Peers, Friends and Family members are the key I t o long-term sustainability. As part of a needed measure of sustainability, this group of individuals increases in value exponentially when parents pass away, divorce, separate or when they age. Peers, Friends and Family members keep a business venture sustainable, stable and manageable for persons with disabilities especially during moments of psychological & emotional stress. It does not matter where they live, how old they are, or if they are actually blood relatives. Anyone whom the entrepreneur considers to be “family” and/or “friends” can be put to good use when supporting a self-employment venture.
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