By Abdul Rawuf
Dear Mr. Jafar, My two teenage sons (15 & 14) are into entrepreneurship. \nIn addition to their distinguished academic records, they are socially active and have created an online social network (www.chillax.la) which they aim to change the way users utilize such networks. How can I get them into entrepreneurship camps, leaders classes for their age, any other activities that would strengthen their foundation? Respectfully, Husam
Your encouragement alone is a very good start!
I actually started my first business here in the UAE when I was around your children’s age. Thanks to my parents’ encouragement and moral support, I found the courage and ability get my vendors to take me seriously and to be able to launch my business.
Today there is no lack of entrepreneurial seminars, competitions, forums, and various other events that anyone of any age can participate in. Such events are generally age agnostic and only take into account the viability of a business concept and of course the team behind it. Your sons should have no problem participating and presenting their business at such events where they would also be able to find mentors and advisors that can coach them on the way forward.
They might even be able to find such programs at their school. Entrepreneurship programs have found their way into the education system and are now becoming a vital part of many academic curriculums. In fact, this is even extending to primary schools now. I was recently very pleasantly surprised to hear a story from a friend whose son is attending 2nd grade in a school in Dubai. He was working on a project that required him to come up with a new product or service for a multi-national company, do a “feasibility study” and put it into a proposal that was actually sent to the company’s CEO. Of course this would have been done on a very basic level, however, the goal of such projects is to get children in to that entrepreneurial and business frame of mind from a very early stage.
I see you’re listed on the website as one of the advisors to your sons. Again, I believe your support is crucial and is surely to provide for a fantastic learning experience for them.