12 Opportunities for Kids to Gain Hands-On Business Skills

12 Opportunities to Gain Business Skills What are some opportunities or organizations out there to help kids gain real-world entrepreneurial skills that parents should look into?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Lemonade Day

Lemonade Day (http://www.LemonadeDay.org) provides children with the opportunity to learn how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace and create the foundation for future success in the global economy. Lemonade Day is a free, fun, experiential learning program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business – a lemonade stand.

– Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

2. Business In a Box

Operation HOPE, the leading nonprofit to promote financial dignity, has a stellar program called “Business in a Box.” It’s centered on getting youths running businesses for $500 or less!

– Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments


3. Startup Weekend

Six-year-old Ashwin Gowland stole the show at Startup Weekend in Seattle last year when he presented his new idea to create stickers that wash off with water. I love the idea of encouraging kids and teens to think about the problems that they would like to solve in their own lives. By getting involved in Startup Weekend and creating something tangible in a weekend, they can see what’s possible.

– Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

4. TEDxKids

TEDxKids has been gaining great traction, enabling local schools to listen to all the speakers of a normal TEDx event in a more interactive way in order to captivate their young audiences. I truly believe this will help develop young entrepreneurial minds over time.

– Blake Beshore, Tatroux

5. CoderDojo

CoderDojo teaches kids to program and develop software on the weekends. What better skill can a child learn growing up these days?

– Logan Lenz, Endagon

6. Old School Books and Games

There are many books on the topic of teaching kids to be entrepreneurs. One I recommend is “The Parents’ Guide to Raising CEO Kids.” There are also many PC games available that can teach kids about entrepreneurship, such as “Galactic Zappers” and “Cha-Ching.” Board games, such as Cash Flow, can also teach kids about money and entrepreneurship.

– Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. CEO Space International

CEO Space International (www.ceospaceinternational.com) has a week-long teen entrepreneur program they run twice a year; it is intensive and encompassing.

– Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group

8. iD Tech Camps

One of the best ways for kids to get exposed to real-world entrepreneurship is through technology camps. iD Tech Camps operate at over 60 universities around the country each summer to enable kids and teens to gain access to a coding education. Those hard skills — even if you don’t end up launching a business in technology — are helpful to building successful entrepreneurship skills.

– Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

9. Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement teaches classes in K-12 schools with a focus on financial literacy and entrepreneurship, which are both areas that are mostly ignored in many schools. They also have a high school program that allows students to work with a team to create an actual business. It’s great exposure to entrepreneurship, but it also helps them gain some real-world entrepreneurial experience.

– Brant Bukowsky, Veterans United Home Loans

10. Unique Internships

If you’d like your child to get some experience in the entrepreneurial space, you can always look for out-of-the-box internships (even if they aren’t in high school yet). You may have to lend a hand in figuring out the parameters of the internship, how it might contribute to a school project, etc. You don’t need to look at listings; just call up a local startup and ask.

– Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding

11. Bring Your Kids to Work Day (Any Day!)

Take your kid to work and show him or her how the business is structured and how it makes money. Even if you don’t own the business, act as if you do so your kids can learn from a business owner’s success.

– Joe Martin, Merchandize Liquidators

12. “Kidpreneurs”

“Kidpreneurs” is a great resource for kids to gain real-world entrepreneurial skills. It’s written by two entrepreneurs who have been there and done that, and seeing others’ examples is a great way for kids to learn.

– John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

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