4 Ways Students Can Develop Entrepreneurial Skills


(Family Features) Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. Young people who aspire to become prominent business professionals can now get a head start on the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful entrepreneurs before they ever leave high school.

Training for a particular field is an essential step in career preparation, but success comes from more than academic training. Developing ingenuity and creativity can take young professionals far, and those skills aren’t necessarily found in a classroom.

If you, or a student in your life, is set on embarking on a challenging and rewarding path toward economic success, explore those entrepreneurial interests with these tips from the experts at Junior Achievement (JA), whose research shows 61% of teens would rather start their own businesses than have traditional jobs.

Tap Into Your Network
Role models can provide immeasurable insight into the world of business and economics, demonstrating what it takes to build a successful and sustainable career. Identify someone in your circle who can serve as a mentor as you plan for the future. This might be a teacher, neighbor, someone who attends your church or a business owner in your community. Meeting and chatting even a couple of times a month can help you channel your ambition.

Participate in Leadership Events
Leaders put their skills into action. As a student, you can begin practicing your leadership skills by participating in events that challenge and engage you. For example, the JA National Summit allows student teams – through the support of leading businesses like Staples, the Pacific Life Foundation and Chick-fil-A – to demonstrate their business acumen, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking in a competitive environment, showcasing their companies to Members of Congress.

Through one of the four dynamic competitions, the Company of the Year Competition, students launch and operate real business enterprises under the guidance of dedicated local business volunteers, conceptualize and market a product or service that addresses unmet consumer needs and attracts investors for their ventures. By most effectively demonstrating its company’s achievements, as well as the personal development of each team member, FlameGuard, which offers a variety of fire safety products, was crowned this year’s JA Company of the Year.

Understand Your Intended Industry
It’s never too early to begin following notable happenings in professional fields that interest you. That might mean monitoring news stories and setting up search terms to alert you to the latest articles. You may also be able to subscribe to publications dedicated to the industry and join professional organizations connected to the field as a student ambassador. Researching the field can give you a stronger idea of how you can become more directly involved as a student.

Expand Your Education
As a student, you may have limited opportunities to explore your career field while also meeting the requirements for your high school diploma. However, you can join (or start) a club to sharpen your focus on areas you have a special interest. You can also look for ways to learn more about your chosen field outside of school hours by attending camps, seminars and workshops. You may even be able to land a part-time job, internship or apprenticeship that provides greater visibility to your future career plans.

Find more ideas to support your growth as a future business leader at ja.org.

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