We at The Story Exchange strive to celebrate the efforts of female entrepreneurs of all ages. Through our Young Women to Watch initiative, we are especially focusing on younger women business owners.
Related: Who Are the Young Women to Watch?
And research shows that there may be many on the rise – recent polling has indicated that many girls and boys alike have such aspirations early on in life. In fact, according to Gallup, younger students were significantly more likely to aspire to be entrepreneurs.
Less encouraging, however, was the revelation that the entrepreneurial goals of students waned as they aged. Of study participants who were in grades 5 through 8, 51 percent said they wanted to one day become entrepreneurs. That number dropped to 33 percent among high school students.
Those who were involved in polling also noticed a disconnect between aspiration and action. Approximately 40 percent of all students involved in the study stated that they wanted to start their own business one day, but many of them reportedly failed to take the initiative needed to start down the path to business ownership.
“Seventeen percent of all middle school and high school students say they work at least one hour weekly,” the release on the poll’s findings stated. “With little exposure to the workforce, few youth have any experience … that would help them build a business later in their lives.”
It’s the sort of research that makes efforts such as the Young Women to Watch list all the more important; encouraging young prospective business owners to realize their dreams by celebrating children that already have could do wonders for them.
Gallup officials asserted that creating more educational opportunities for those interested in potentially starting a business might help younger students realize their visions as well, adding that “[a]t no other time in the recent past has it been more important for America to invest in tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.”
“Simply put, if U.S. communities are to be thriving places to live and learn well into the future, America needs a strategy that includes investment in its youngest and most hopeful members — its youth,” researchers continued in the release. “To bolster these numbers, identifying these students and increasing their educational opportunities may increase entrepreneurship.”
Related: How to Start a Startup in College
The United States Department of Labor has attempted to address the issue of encouraging young entrepreneurs through education, stating on their official website that such initiatives would “prepare people, particularly youth, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers by immersing them in real life learning experiences where they can take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.”
As for young female entrepreneurial hopefuls in particular, we found the words of poet and activist Maya Angelou to be inspiring. She said that taking the time to work toward properly building one’s confidence was integral to long-term success.
“Do little things that make you proud of yourself. If you want to cook, then cook. If you want to start exercising, don’t try to walk 10 miles; walk three blocks,” she told Karin Kamp, formerly of The Story Exchange. “If you want to read, take the time to do so. If you want to learn a new language, get a book or audio cassette to help you. No one has to know or see what you’re doing. You will like yourself more when you have a few victories under your belt.”
She continued: “Once you have a few victories under your belt, you will realize that you are worth it. That’s how you become powerful, by building yourself up through small victories.”