A survey of young students reveals a majority of aspiring entrepreneurs who want to follow in Steve Jobs' footsteps by inventing something that changes the world. However, the results of the survey also show that their career development and business acumen will have to be stepped up if they are going to reach these goals.
Sponsored by Operation HOPE, which promotes financial literacy, the survey was conducted by Gallup over several years and included 1,721 students from fifth grade through high school. More than three-quarters (77 percent) say they want to be their own boss, while 45 percent plan to start a business and 42 percent hope to be like Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, by creating a revolutionary product.
Jobs, who died this month, is recognized as a business visionary in personal technology, developing products that forever change the way we interact and communicate. His estimated net worth was 8.3 billion in 2010, making him the 42nd richest American.
Only 33 percent of the students surveyed say their parents started a business, while half say their schools offer courses on how to start and run a business. Yet with unemployment among 16-to-24-year-olds at a whopping 24.6 percent, compared with 9 percent overall, it's more important than ever that entrepreneurialism be fostered. Coming of age in this economy and witnessing the layoffs in older generations, it's not surprising that kids want to forge their own professional paths. Traditionally, starting a business has been the best way to build wealth in this country.
While we need to ensure students have access to courses of study that emphasize financial literacy and business skills, an appetite for risk and an ability to shrug of failure and start again are essential for an entrepreneur. Vision and determination can't be taught, but the more up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are successful, the better for our future economy.
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