As a parent, there’s a lot of lessons we try to teach our kids. There are the typical lessons regarding table manners and courtesy that are essential to instill at a young age. But there is also a new school of parenting thought that is intent on teaching children the virtues of entrepreneurship from a young age.
With how quickly I’ve seen the world change over the years, introducing the idea that my kids can also become business owners is absolutely critical in my mission to foster their pursuits. Now, I’m not saying they have to be the next Mark Zuckerberg (although, that’d be nice), but I do want them to realize that in order to follow their dreams, they have to stake ownership in their goals.
Whether they want to be a dancer, an artist, or even a tech founder, taking the approach of being a business owner is something to consider early, which is why over the years I’ve taken them to a few conferences on this topic. Here were some of our favorites:
As one of the biggest conferences for tech, music, and art, SXSW seemed like a definite choice to teach my kids about the values of entrepreneurship. Not only do all of these fields meld together in a special way that represents how culture is moving, but it also shows how entrepreneurship isn’t just reserved for those involved in the tech world. Yes, SXSW showcases how musicians, artists, craftspeople, and chefs are respected as business owners just as much as anyone else.
After all, being an entrepreneur is less about how much money you can make upon exit, and more about making a positive change in the world around you. And no matter which route they choose, the lesson of ‘leaving the world a better place’ is one I hope they take with them for a lifetime.
The Female Founder’s Conference is one of the most important going on in the tech world right now, which made it a natural fit to attend. As women are still fighting for their seat at the table in the tech industry, it’s important to hear the voices that are making great strides, as well as the firsthand stories that paint a picture as why female founders are critical to developing a top tier company. Getting my kids understanding that their future is female was one of the most important aspects of teaching them how the world of entrepreneurship is rapidly changing into a more welcoming environment...especially as one that’s willing to accept all genders, backgrounds, and beliefs.
After seeing numerous tech companies go through the common practices of fundraising and landing investment, it was important to show them the great aspects of small business as well. And as Icon is one of the most premiere festivals in talking about small business, I figured there was no better place to take them. As small business is widely regarded as the backbone of the American economy, Icon provided insights in how theses firms develop and grow, showing that anyone with enough determination and grit can too, follow the American Dream.
Seeing the latest and greatest in early-stage tech is one of the most exciting developments in the world of entrepreneurship; and Launch is always front and center. As most early stage companies are ahead of the curve regarding their views on major industries, it’s important to introduce how innovation comes about, and why certain firms take the direction that they do. More, it also shows how attainable it is to come up with an idea and have others believe in it enough to allow you on stage to present to the world, which speaks volumes.
Collision is one of the top tech conferences today, so it was only natural to expose my kids to the great wonders going of it. Located in New Orleans, the festival takes place around the time of Jazz Fest, which pairs for a great weekend regardless. Their diverse list of speakers bodes some of the best minds out, so it was definitely a treat to be exposed to the ideas from some of the top thought leaders in the nation. Overall, this festival is on the up-and-up and one you should consider if you’re looking to break from the norm.
NY Entrepreneurs Festival
Hosted by NYU, the New York Entrepreneurs Festival gives a great blend of academia with real world experience. Plus, the experience of delving into New York’s tech scene is incredible, as the city has such a wide range of startups to pay attention to. Even if entrepreneurship isn’t something my kids pursue until their college age, I would be elated to see them participate in this great event one day.