The significance of raising entrepreneurial-minded children in Africa

Thinking of rebranding?
Bernard Kelvin Clive, Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, making a point at the maiden Brand-CON Africa in Accra

As the grandson of a renowned traditional ruler and herbalist, I was grieved by my grandmother’s departure to the land of our forefathers without passing on her treasure of expertise in herbal medicine. As a result, the family herbal company failed. At the age of six, I noticed several things that have stayed with me to this day. I guess I was of a distinct breed; I was fascinated by nature and had endless questions. I questioned my grandma about everything, and she was gracious enough to share her knowledge with me.

One thing that surprised me was how effortlessly children of craftsmen’s parents choose their craft. A sculptor’s child, he readily plays with the tools, the blacksmith’s son was courageous, and he knows his way around hot irons and can create tiny tools – stunning! The neighbourhood chop bar owner’s daughter quickly picked up basic cooking skills. The fisherman’s children were unafraid of the river and swam with ease.

Following my grandmother’s death, my father was hired as a factory worker in the then new Cocoa Processing Company, which promised security and a lot of money. He abandoned the family’s wealthy plantation and herbal business to pursue that fleeting pleasure. My mother was content selling meals to factory workers and didn’t think much of the herbal traditional business. Perhaps they were brainwashed into believing it was evil.

A recent study shows that children of entrepreneurs in many countries in Africa are not being adequately taught about entrepreneurship. Even parents who are entrepreneurs rarely expose their children to their businesses, and teach them that entrepreneurship is impossible. They encourage kids to become doctors or lawyers instead, which has created a whole host of problems for the business climate in Africa, and Ghana especially.

Fewer African businesses are succeeding beyond the first and second generations; that is to say that when the founders pass on, their companies begin to fail. This is because there are no proper succession plans and well-equipped people to take over. More so, kids don’t learn from an early age that entrepreneurship can give them – life security and abundance beyond the expectations they’ve been given by society.

Africa is rich in wealth and culture. However, many Africans have yet to fully embrace and harness the power of entrepreneurship. While there are many reasons for this, the main one is that many parents do not teach their children about business.

Think back to when you were a child – did your parents teach you about business? Did they show you how to manage money? Did they talk with you about the importance of hard work and saving? If not, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Truth be told, most African parents rarely talk about these topics with their kids, which perpetuates a cycle of poverty across the continent.

One solution to this challenge is to start raising entrepreneurial-minded children. We can’t afford to miss this transition.

So, let’s get started right away!

It is never too soon to start.

Young children are capable of learning about entrepreneurship earlier than many parents and educators realise. They can understand the basics of money, the relationship between work and income, and concepts like supply and demand. As a parent, you may have already witnessed your child’s ability to ‘play entrepreneur’ with their toys or become interested in activities such as selling lemonade on a street corner.

Raising entrepreneurial-minded children is important because it will help develop critical thinking skills that they will find useful later in life. While not every child will be interested in business ownership when they grow up, an entrepreneurial mindset can help them achieve success in any field they pursue – whether that is being an employee, starting a new business or even just living independently. A child who learns to think creatively at an early age has more opportunities available to them when they are older than one who doesn’t develop these skills until later on down the road.

It should go without saying that teaching your kids how entrepreneurs start businesses can be fun for both parties involved!

Children can benefit.

  • They learn independence and self-reliance.
  • They learn to be responsible for the things that they do. In the process, they develop a sense of confidence.
  • They gain the ability to communicate effectively and with confidence because they are not shy about negotiating prices or asking questions. When children negotiate with other people, it gives them a sense of pride when they’re able to get what they want in an appropriate manner (instead of whining and throwing tantrums).
  • Learning to solve problems in creative ways is a skill that will serve your child well throughout life – whether he plans on becoming an entrepreneur or not.

Parents can benefit.

If you are a parent, then you surely have an interest in your child’s future. This will be especially so if that future involves hunting for a job or even starting their own business. You may also imagine that their future includes making money and being able to live a life without having to rely on the generosity of others.

I want to encourage you to remember that the world does not always pan out the way we hope it will. It often does not. When I was younger, my father told me: “Son, when I was young like you, all I wanted was to be wealthy”. He then went on to tell me he hopes I never have to experience what he has experienced during his lifetime. He said, “Money is great but it is no substitute for health or happiness”.

Benefits of raising entrepreneurial-minded children

When you raise an entrepreneurial-minded child, you are creating an individual who can take on life and its challenges head-on. There are so many benefits that come with raising a child that has all of the following traits:

  • Starts and manages a business or businesses.
  • Creates jobs.
  • Creates wealth.
  • Creates solutions to problems, or answers questions in ways no one has thought before.
  • Solves problems creatively, rather than depending on someone else to solve them for him or her
  • Innovates while others wait and follow.

The world needs qualified entrepreneurs.

The world needs qualified entrepreneurs. If you want to start with a great idea and grow it into a business that can positively impact the lives of others.

The entrepreneurial mindset is a powerful one.

“Entrepreneurship is an essential part of the economy, and it’s a mindset that can be applied to just about any career. Entrepreneurs are innovators and problem-solvers who could very well change the world. Teaching your kids this mindset will prepare them for the modern working environment, as well as give them a competitive edge – that’s more valuable than any degree they could earn from a college or university.

Entrepreneurial thinking is ingrained in us at birth, but today’s school curriculum doesn’t allow students to hone it. For our children to reach their full potential, we need to teach them these skills at home.”

Everyone in the world should be an entrepreneur

The world is quickly becoming a much smaller place. Globalisation is making the world smaller and smaller each day. This means that problems in one area of the world can quickly impact the whole world. It also means that solutions can be used throughout the world for global benefit. If you were to look at how many problems there are in this world, you would find it overwhelming.

These issues can seem too big for just one person to solve, but if everyone does their part to solve one problem, then we will all be better off. Entrepreneurship has become an ever more important part of our lives as we move further into modern times and with good reason: Entrepreneurs are critical thinkers who are purposeful and make things happen, they are innovative and bring new ideas into existence, they take risks, they focus on opportunities, not problems, they have initiative and create their opportunities if nothing exists already; they believe in themselves and trust their judgment even when others don’t support them or think that their idea won’t work out.

Read more from my new book Abrempong: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Entrepreneurial Mind Kids.’

It’s your turn. What can you do now?

Bernard is an Author, Speaker, Lecturer and Corporate Trainer. He is a brand strategist at BKC consulting and runs the monthly Branding & Publishing Masterclass. Visit

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