Last week I went to a school in Roswell, Georgia, to teach a middle school class about entrepreneurship. This was through Junior Achievement’s “JA in a Day” program. I sit on Junior Achievement of Georgia’s board, and “JA in a Day” is a great program.
So I spent half a day with a class of about 30 kids ages 11 and 12. I taught four programs during my three hours. JA runs these all the time and you get assigned topics ahead of time. The last time my Engauge colleagues participated they were assigned ‘economics’. Needless to say, I was thankful I got the topic of entrepreneurship and not economics (sorry, Jomo).
Kids that age are incredible. Full of energy and promise and wide-eyed and…did I mention full of energy?
I asked the kids in my opening talk if they knew any entrepreneurs. About five or six of them raised their hands and I asked them who they knew and what they did. One of the kids knew an insurance broker that had started his own company. He said those words, “insurance broker”. I think I learned what that meant when I was in my early twenties.
The kids were told to come up with team names. Clearly these guys wanted to win :)
Interestingly when I asked them to name famous entrepreneurs, Bill Gates was yelled out far more than Steve Jobs. And later when there was a quiz question with clues about an entrepreneur, I read one about a technology entrepreneur and the first guess was Gates, not Jobs. I definitely grew up with Gates as “the guy”, but I thought for sure these kids would have looked to Jobs as that since Gates stepped down as Microsoft’s CEO in 2000. When some of these kids weren’t even born yet.
But I was glad for the opportunity to talk about the ridiculous amount of good that Bill Gates does in the world.
Teaching this class about entrepreneurship, albeit for only a short period of time, got me thinking. I wonder what the world would be like in ten years if instead of kids getting a half day once a year (if that) learning about entrepreneurship, they had semester long classes about starting companies and building a business. I gotta think in a scenario like that, we’d have a hard time finding enough people to work at all the companies in the marketplace, instead of having atrocious unemployment rates.