Monday, April 3, 2017

Kids and Enterpreneurship

When I was still an undergraduate, I had a friend who was very financial savvy. He would read the Financial Times and discussed with gutso the issues highlighted in the Business Times. At the age of 20, he was already investing in equities, making consistent profits that was big enough to afford his multiple short vacations to other Asian cities.

Being project mates, we spent a lot of time in his house working on our tasks. During those times, I witnessed occasions when his dad was home entertaining business friends, and how at ease and confident he was communicating and socialising with his dad's guests who were mostly twice his age. He was much more interested in current affairs and able to discuss them with ease than most peers our age.

I remember I was constantly in awe of his knowledge and skills and bugged him often to teach me. I learnt a few tips and tricks that started me on my personal investing journey......  but the other skills were a lot harder to impart, so I learnt mostly by being a silent observer.

Through observation and reflection, I came to the conclusion that we really cannot underestimate the impact and influence that family environment and upbringing have on children. For instance, children of successful businessmen may gain an invaluable advantage over others in the form of informal training on entrepreneurship from a very young age.

Over the years, I have come to believe that it is important to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in my kids, while they are still little. Whenever the opportunities arise and we found teachable moments, we made sure the kids learn a few lessons.

When M was in Primary 1 and 2, he used to draw a lot in school during his free time. His favourite subjects were usually robots or machinery, and anything that was mechanical in nature. At age 7, he would churn out pieces on Transformers, such as this on Optimus Prime every other day.

His classmates loved them so much that they would crowd around him to watch him draw. Not content with just the occasional pieces of drawings as gifts, some offered to pay him for his art. Without telling us, he actually sold some drawings for a while.

At Primary 3, M started to obsess over fossils and trilobites. He spent hours reading up on the topic and soon became sufficiently knowledgeable to influence some of his classmates. Some were so eager to learn more, but frustrated that they could not understand the advanced content from books and the Internet sources. M saw an opportunity to design simpler versions of 'guidebooks' (though they were more like information booklets) for sale at a small price and bundled them with personal coaching sessions.

Sometime in Primary 4, when M was 9+, he started making weapons such as bows/arrows, catapults, pistols, crossbows etc... with recycled materials. For a long time, he was already gathering 'junk' from the classroom floor and bins or collecting them from peers. At first, he made them to satisfy his own curiosity. Very soon, his creations caught the attention of nearly half the class. A few friends tried to learn from him but they gave up too soon and decided to buy from him instead. He even came up with a catalogue featuring products from $2 to $8 per piece. His order book filled up within days and within a month, he made a handsome profit by his own standard.

Besides M, Chippy was also keen to dabble in some of his own projects from selling art pieces to origami and games that he created. They were all as well-received as M's.

At one point, teachers intervened and told the boys it was against school rules to sell. What I thought was encouraging though, was how the boys had their views on the matter. They even asked the teachers for an explanation and were prepared to present their own arguments. However, no explanation was given, just a plain 'Stop - don't do it'. That, I thought, was a really lousy way for the teachers to handle a teachable moment. But I made sure the kids learn to view the situation from other perspectives and we spent time discussing their options.

There was plenty to learn from these experiences, from understanding customers' needs, pricing, marketing to cost management and ethics etc... it was a fun learning experience for the boys and us.

To me, teaching them about entrepreneurship is not just about the principles of running a business, but also about the spirit of entrepreneurship. I am still learning as a parent and I am constantly reading and reflecting to find a more effective way to guide the kids and encouraging a risk-taking mentality, cultivating in them a curiosity and desire to solve bigger problems. Hopefully I can inspire them to find in them a desire to serve, with the aim to improving quality of lives while finding and following their passions.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2-days and 3-days Workshops

Magic Fingers
Suitable for 3 to 4 years, a parent-accompanied class

Accompany your toddlers as they explore and discover a world filled with colours and textures. Observe how little fingers create their own interpretations of a colourful world through play-based activities that stimulate their senses in a language-rich environment.  Allow us to open their eyes to the wonders of Science through experiments that delight and surprise.

Dates: Saturdays 6th and 13th May 2017
Time: 3.15pm - 5.15pm  (total 4 hrs)

Curious Explorers
Suitable for 4 to 6 years old          

Do animals play hide-and-seek? As we embark on a journey into the animal kingdom, we invite our curious explorers to discover the secrets of predators and prey in their natural habitats. Through hands-on activities, dramatization and crafts, our explorers will hone their problem solving skills to complete their adventures.

Dates: Sundays 14th, 21st and 28th May 2017  
Time: 4.15pm - 6.15pm  (total 6 hrs)

Creative Thinkers        
Suitable for 7 to 9 years old

Through the tale of an endearing spider's life journey, our participants will be treated to an exciting and experiential three sessions where we introduce current affairs through speech and drama, group discussions and games that stretch their imagination. Participants will put on their thinking caps as a team to solve scenarios that test their ability to think critically and creatively. For some, the writing challenges will be all it takes to ignite the writing spark in them as they discover the power of words.

Dates: Sundays 21st, 28th May and 4th June 2017
Time: 10am - 12.30pm  (total 7.5 hrs)

To register, please email with the following details:
1. Parent's name and mobile number
2. Child's name and date of birth
3. Workshop selected

Confirmation of places are on a first-come-first-served basis.


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