Every day, the world wants more innovation, which necessitates the involvement of more entrepreneurs in the solution of major issues. Small businesses are the engine of innovation and the economy’s backbone. They created 16 times more patents per employee than larger patenting organizations, according to research. The necessity for producing a new generation of entrepreneurs is growing in the backdrop of the global crisis and a severe economic environment. That is, the world requires young, dynamic people who are capable of actively participating in business, the economy, and society.

Therefore, tomorrow’s game-changers will be our children, who will bring constructive change to our country and the world. With programs that improve their abilities to originate ideas and turn them into reality, we must ignite and nurture their entrepreneurial attitudes. We must encourage kids to be able to take initiatives, whether they work on small business ideas or solving social problems. In most parts of the world, these young entrepreneurs have revolutionized the way businesses are done by giving wings to their ideas in new ways. Generation Z members are the major bearers of the innovative potential since they are mobile, adaptable, and eager for change. They are willing to solve socially relevant issues in addition to their progressive outlook.

Significance of Entrepreneurship for Kids

Confident, cheerful, innovative, resourceful, and resilient are all characteristics of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a problem and solves it through a sustainable business model. Their convictions make them leaders, and their ideas gain traction. Entrepreneurs make their own decisions and are aware that they always have multiple options. The sooner someone adopts this mindset, the sooner it becomes a habit, and the more control they have over their own destiny. A future of possibilities, happiness, abundance, and success awaits an entrepreneurial child, whatever success means to them at the time.

Children who develop critical thinking skills early in life are less prone to follow the crowd or be influenced by others’ opinions. Children who are critical thinkers build their own informed viewpoints and gain confidence in their ability to effectively negotiate issues and challenges. According to the Investopedia Financial Literacy Survey – 2022, Generation Z children are more financially savvy than previous generations. Also, a firm foundation in entrepreneurial problem-solving empowers children and better equips them to deal with difficulties that happen in their daily life, resulting in resilience.

Harvard University has organized a comprehensive study on happiness and found that the best predictor of happiness is the development of strong social networks. When children learn to collaborate with others, ask for help, and accept that things don’t always go as planned, happiness and achievement become more accessible. Our school and colleges should incorporate activities to make students collaborate with each other, even if they are putting up a stall at an upcoming annual festival.

Global Trends for Kids Entrepreneurship

If we look into the trends for kids’ entrepreneurship in the world, it is evident that many developed regions such as the US, EU, and India are promoting kids’ entrepreneurship to foster the entrepreneurial mindset in the young generation. According to Europe 2020 growth and jobs strategy, kids’ entrepreneurship is high priority on the EU political agenda as a tool to stimulate innovation among the next generation. Moreover, a burgeoning movement in the United States is educating children on how to think like entrepreneurs or how to become entrepreneurs. While some of these programs offer extracurricular opportunities for entrepreneurial kids to learn about business, others are incorporating entrepreneurship into children’s fundamental school courses. In this regard, David Crockett High School and its feeder elementary and middle schools in Austin launched the nation’s first K-12 public-school entrepreneurship program. Similarly, in India, the platforms like ‘Kidspreneur’ are nurturing future entrepreneurial leaders. This platform has impacted over 15,000 students in one state and now expanding rapidly in other states of the country.

Kids Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

There is no such thing as a kids’ entrepreneurship culture in Pakistan. As a nation, we are so routine that we don’t even encourage out-of-the-box thinking in order to provide a better learning environment for our children in which they may demonstrate their creativity and the results of it. In Pakistan, there are few opportunities for children to start businesses. The government, the business sector, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have never seen entrepreneurship for children as a gamechanger for Pakistan’s economy and a source of breakthrough innovations.

According to UNICEF, Pakistan currently has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children (OOSC), with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5 to 16 not in schools, accounting for 44 percent of the total population in this age range. However, Pakistan is full of raw talent and unguided youth. It’s a country where creative talent outperforms expectations, academic records are created and then broken, and Nobel awards are awarded at an early age.

Arfa Karim, the world’s youngest Microsoft certified professional (at the age of 9), Haris Khan, the world’s youngest Smartphone Developer (at the age of 11), Hammad Safi, the 10-year-old professor, and a slew of others have wowed the globe. This proves a person’s age has no bearing on the greatness he or she might achieve in life. Consider for a moment how much these and other children could achieve in their lives if they were given the correct atmosphere. Also, those who do not have a chance to receive an education can get one if we start providing them with opportunities to make money and develop their skills in a beneficial way. Encouragement of an entrepreneurial culture at such a young age will also benefit Pakistan’s economy and can alleviate poverty.

Policy Recommendations

Here are some policy ideas that may be effective in instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in Pakistan’s educational system and society at large.

  1. Every private and public educational institution should have a time slot or a class dedicated to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in children. Mentors must assist children in focusing their interests and encouraging their creativity and active thoughts and ideas. A culture of innovation must be fostered by providing an appropriate environment and methodology for a child to identify his or her skills and help to polish them in preparation for a future entrepreneurial existence.
  2. Non -governmental organizations must play their part in developing the culture of kids’ entrepreneurship in Pakistan. These organizations are supposed to seek foreign help and adopt their model of infusing kids’ entrepreneurial culture in Pakistan. They can organize conferences and launch awareness campaigns regarding the significance of kids’ entrepreneurship and teach the public how it can help to build a strong economy.
  3. The government can also take necessary and supportive steps in promoting the culture of entrepreneurship among children. Like the former PM’s ‘Kamyab Jawan Program, there must be a similar initiative for the children who do not have access to educational institutions in order to get business training. Such a program will help them in learning skills (if not proper formal education) and this is how they can become financially independent. By initiating such programs, there are possibilities that we can abandon the curse of child labor as well and make them able to build a better lifestyle for themselves and their families. In this way, their exceptional minds and creative powers will not be wasted, and these flowers will receive adequate sunlight to flourish.
  4. To encourage entrepreneurial activities among Pakistani children, entrepreneurial contests should be held at the tehsil, district, division, and provincial levels across the country. These competitions must be similar to the declamation competitions or hackathons. This will aid in the identification of young entrepreneurial abilities from around the country, and children from small towns will have the opportunity to demonstrate their entrepreneurial abilities.
  5. Media can also play an integral role in flourishing the entrepreneurship culture among kids. They must produce such programs, TV shows, and movies that inspire young brains to create something out of the box and ultimately opt for entrepreneurship at a younger age. Moreover, there should be reality shows in which kids can get a chance to share their entrepreneurship stories with the whole world. This will also motivate the other young minds to achieve something and make themselves productive in entrepreneurial decisions.
  6. Last but not least, there is no doubt that the young generation and predominantly the kids of Pakistan are extremely talented. There is a dearth of the channel, path, or roadmap through which these incredible, creative, and energetic minds can set themselves on the entrepreneurial path and live their lives much better than their ancestors. For this, every section of society has to work together and help young minds to grow. Most importantly, parents must encourage their children in developing an entrepreneurial mindset. It should be part of their upbringing to teach their children how to be self-employed so that they do not have to rely on others for a 9-to-5 tedious job but they should invest their energies to start something of their own.