The Benefits of Being A Young Entrepreneur

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Getting involved in entrepreneurship at a young age is something that impacts the lives of young people in a way that not many other activities do: it improves communication skills, decision-making and goal-setting abilities. Young people participate in a wide variety of activities, such as sports and school clubs, but exemplary young entrepreneurs show us all that some lessons that are hard to learn elsewhere are best developed through business and being an entrepreneur.

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Through entrepreneurship education, young people, including those with disabilities, can learn organizational skills, including time management, leadership development and interpersonal skills, all of which are highly transferable skills sought by employers. Other skills include enhanced academic performance, increased problem-solving skills, enriched interpersonal relationships, and an improved sense of teamwork that is developed in the course of starting a business. Of course, the skills that are picked up during youth entrepreneurship are only half of the benefits of entrepreneurship. Getting involved in the entrepreneurial world early in life will also help youth entrepreneurs learn how to make money--the skill that runs the world--and start to see how they can directly benefit people's lives by providing an innovative good or service.

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Entrepreneurship is an employment strategy that can lead to economic self-sufficiency and prosperity for everyone, but especially young people. According to a 2005 poll from Junior Achievement, nearly 80 percent of would-be entrepreneurs in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 34. The same poll also found that 68.6 percent of the teenagers interviewed wanted to become entrepreneurs, even though they knew that it would not be an easy path. In spite of this overwhelming interest, however, the youth rarely receive any information about entrepreneurship as a career option. Teens and young people are simply not getting the opportunities and information they need to consider entrepreneurship, despite its benefits, as a real career choice.

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Here at LightHouse Ohio, we offer entrepreneurship education that seeks for young people to be responsible and enterprising individuals who can become entrepreneurs by immersing them in real life learning experiences where they can take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes, all in an environment with mentors and guides to help them achieve their goals. In addition to running our premier, free summer accelerator, LEAP--which all students with startups, businesses, or even just idea are encouraged to apply--we also run a variety of formal events and informal consulting. If you're interested in entrepreneurship and want to learn more, or are already a young entrepreneur, we'd love to have you get involved.

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Shreyas Tallamraju is LightHouse Ohio's Director of Outreach. He currently attends Solon High School, is the co-founder of InternsHS, and has been published on sites such as The Phat Startup.