Young Upstarts

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Teaching Entrepreneurship Early In School

A shoe-in business.

Giving entrepreneurship the right kick?

1. You own a shoe shop. You buy shoes at $10 per pair, and sell them at $20 per pair. Your shop rental costs $1000 per day. How many pairs of shoes do you have to sell before you cover the cost of your shop rental?

2. One worker can work 10-man hours per day. It takes 2 hours to produce a pair of shoes. How many workers do you need to produce 100 pairs of shoes in 4 days? How about in 4 hours?

We may gotten it all wrong when we talk about teaching entrepreneurship to our youth.

Entrepreneurship festivals, talks and courses for youth are all well and good, but we need to aim younger. A lot younger. The thing is, we first need to teach simple money management and business concepts to children as young as those in primary school. And it only takes simple tweaking of the existing curriculum to do so, if we just change our teaching materials and classes to incorporate questions like those above instead.

The only problem is, the Singapore education system, and our educators, may not exactly be among the most entrepreneurial.

Change this, and we may yet see a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.


1. 100 pairs;

2. 5 workers, 50 workers.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • Daniel

    Hi Ryan,

    You bring up excellent points – it is certainly interesting that we actually “teach” entrpreneurship in a rote, systematic approach when perhaps entrepreneurship is all about seizing the moment?

    The challenge is not in answering those mathematical questions – but to understand the essence of WHY those questions are being asked.

    I know of at least one local entrepreneur who intend to do exactly that – expose students to the real world and show them what they are learning in school applies in a real world context.

  • Ryan Lou

    Great points about entrepreneurship and youths.

    I do feel that the education system is very well set up such that the mathematical problems above can be very easily solved by kids even in primary school.

    Maybe what’s lacking is the incentive for youths (even students in primary school) to actually take action and see some of these business skills in action. The lemonade stand/ flea market approach is good, but there needs to be something more.

    Encourage students to set up a blog about a topic like global warming or supporting YOG 2010 or bringing compassion to their community, allow them to create their own community service program with resources like http://www.Give.SG the opportunities are really endless.

    Use the fact that youths today are even more integrated with the online world than ever before and promote entrepreneurial activity that way.

    Maybe we also need to encourage youths to do instead of teaching them to?

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