Get Your Kids in the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Get Your Kids in the Entrepreneurial Spirit

(ARA)- What do your kids want to be when they grow up? Just a few years ago, the most popular answers were a doctor, lawyer or professional athlete. These days more and more kids are saying they don't want to work for someone else--they want to own their futures by being their own boss.
If they have the creativity and perception to spot an opportunity overlooked by others, and the drive and determination to marshal the necessary resources--material, financial, human or intellectual--entrepreneurship may be in their future. But how can you encourage that notion?
"There are lots of fun activities out there that inspire kids to become doctors, police officers and firefighters, but very few about entrepreneurship," says Craig Armstrong, project director for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, an organization that works to advance entrepreneurship in America. "With Opportunity City at Innoventions at Epcot(R) and hotshotbusiness.com, we've created experiences that are really going to make a difference."
After a Kauffman Foundation study found that 41 percent of kids ages nine to twelve would like to start their own business but don't know how, the Foundation teamed up with Disney Online to create "Hot Shot Business," an internet simulation where young "business owners" learn how to implement marketing campaigns; change products, services and prices; and, most importantly, respond quickly to demanding customers and big news events. Last year, the game was brought to life at Innoventions at Epcot (R) at the Walt Disney World Resort (R) in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Located in the heart of Epcot(R), Innoventions is a unique 100,000-square-foot interactive playground of hands-on exhibits where visitors from around the world discover how science and technology can simplify and enhance their lives today and in the future. Since opening in November 2004, guests from around the world have made their way through "Opportunity City," an interactive exhibit where they must think and act quickly while learning what it takes to run a successful business. The exhibit features a series of games that bring the basic principles of marketing, supply and demand, and cooperation to life for young and old alike.
Armstrong says the most popular part of the exhibit is the Family Business Rally, which allows children and their parents to work together as a team. "Team members are positioned around the outside of a 'virtual town' poised with a hockey stick-type tool that allows them to interact with the game. Each person is designated a job: one orders supplies; another places advertising; and a third sets pricing for products. Team members modify game-play strategies and responses to changes in the marketplace at 'Opportunity City.'"
In addition to the Family Rally, "Opportunity City" features kiosks that have a special version of the Hot Shot Business online game and "Opportunity Challenge," a fast-paced video game that teaches the concepts of market opportunity recognition, and supply and demand. There's also a video "D-Mail" station (Disney video e-mail) called "Creating the Buzz," which allows guests to create a commercial for their new business, and a presentation called "Everyday Entrepreneurs," designed to inspire youth with stories and images of young entrepreneurs, empowering them to know they can "do it too."
"Historically, very few children have thought of entrepreneurship as a career choice. We're hoping this game will move the thought of owning their own business to the same cognitive level as other more popular career choices," says Armstrong. "Our children are our future, and since more than 50 percent of new jobs come from small business, it's imperative that we encourage today's children to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow."
For more information about "Opportunity City," log on to www.hotshotbusiness.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content