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5 ways to help your entrepreneurial child become the next Elon Musk

Parents encourage your entrepreneurial children to follow their dreams. By Natasha Hall/UnSplash

Parents encourage your entrepreneurial children to follow their dreams. By Natasha Hall/UnSplash

Published Apr 29, 2022


If the jobs market is not providing you with work, go make your own, is the new mantra for the youth of South Africa, crumbling under the the heavy weight of an unemployment rate of 35%.

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And entrepreneurship is one way South Africans can turn the tide and stay afloat and parents can help. And don’t think it’s only your money kids are after to start their ventures. Support and assistance does not come in the form of financial aid only.

In fact, that should be the last resort you, as parent, should take when your child has exhausted all fundraising avenues to produce start-up capital. Assistance, say the experts, comes in the form of emotional, mental, and physical support support as well.

Josh Adler, executive director of an entrepreneurship initiative, Anzisha Prize, says the high unemployment rate makes it evident that the jobs market does not provide enough opportunities for South Africans and is therefore not secure, says

The result of this harsh reality is the creation of alternative new avenues of making money for yourself.

Adler says parents have “no clue” how to assist their children in their entrepreneurial dreams because they are so used to the basic education-then-employment model.

“My very first business venture was started while living at home, and by the time I left, I had no need to look for a job because my business had secured me a regular income. The business grew and so did we, just like any other career,” says Adler.

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Having come through the ranks himself, starting his business when living with his parents, these are his tips to parents to help their child create their own employment:

1. Understand entrepreneurship for yourself

Entrepreneurship, Adler says, is often perceived as “an alternative solution for people struggling to secure employment”.

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Humans possess an “inherent ability”, when faced with societal challenges, to think innovatively. In this context, this means that by solving identified issues, we “generate revenue and employment opportunities”. And that, is basically what an entrepreneur does.

2. Let children know it’s okay to be an entrepreneur

Adler advises that parents assure and support their child(ren) who exhibit entrepreneurial traits by “showing them that it is okay to choose this path as a career choice”.

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3. You should care about entrepreneurship.

“The labour population of the African continent is growing faster than the economy is able to generate jobs,” Adler says, further stating that the reason for the seemingly stagnated market is that these fast-growing economies were not job generative.

Dean of Global Programs and Parents at the Africa Leadership Academy, Uzo Agyare-Kumi, says “entrepreneurship offers the continent the best and most sustainable solution” in terms of tackling unemployment in Africa.

4. Do not let fear of the unknown dim your child’s entrepreneurial light

Adler lists engineering, medicine, and law as careers parents deem secure, and poses a question: Shouldn’t children be taught to create their own income opportunities? He asks this particular question presenting a reality that some traditional paths no longer offer opportunities.

“While the fear of the challenges and uncertainties that come with entrepreneurship is understandable, the potential rewards should be acknowledged,” says community and project manager of Adler’s initiative, Nolizwe Mhlaba.

Since entrepreneurship is the road to independence, Adler believes “parents should also, where possible, find ways to demonstrate how to do it to their children by being entrepreneurial themselves”. This will also provide assurance for their children that entrepreneurship is a career choice, despite fears around “instability, uncertainty and hardships” set in.

5. Be there for them

Teach them the importance of planning. Have them draw up a detailed business. Offer physical help by assisting them by making yourself available when they need an extra pair of hands. Also teach your young child the importance of setting up a budget, and sticking to it, is an essential component of the strive towards a successful business. Invest time in developing the financial literacy of your child and educating them of the importance of money management.

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