Why I support Club Kidpreneur – Emma Weber | Lever Learning

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Why I support Club Kidpreneur – Emma Weber | Lever Learning

Some kids at school just aren’t any good at or interested in sports or music.  Some hate performing in front of everyone, being the star of the show or the soccer team …. but they do have something to offer. They may not be academically gifted – but their creativity, their little slice of special, might just lie in business….

But if that’s you as a kid, where’s your stage? Where can you score your goal? Where can you be listened to and understood? Where can you have fun being you?

I was one of these kids. I loved the idea of business. I wasn’t bothered whether it was cool or trendy – that was never going to be me. I just loved the idea of a business – of creating something.

At the age of 12 I started my first business – it was a profound experience that shaped my life. I remember sitting on the edge of my Dad’s hospital bed with my tiny notebook and going through my first business pitch – I was going to sell soft toys. I had drawn up all the details that I thought were important: what I would need to buy and the costs, what that would make and the anticipated return. I had worked it all out.

I still like to remember the sense of pride I felt as my Dad handed over a £50 note – he was investing in my business, a serious investment in my future. This was it. I was building a business.

That was the last time I ever saw my Dad – somewhere along the line his original diagnosis of Russian flu became one of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma (thankfully now curable, but there was no hope in 1985) and he died in a matter of weeks. He hadn’t wanted us to see him hooked up to all the machines and slipping away, so I put my energies into my business. When not much else made sense it was something I could create.

Four weeks after receiving my Dad’s financial backing, I was selling soft toys at his funeral. Surreal to think back, but true.

As the months past, after breaking my Mum’s sewing machine (they aren’t really designed for sewing fur fabric!)  I soon realised that with the amount I could charge against the time it took to hand sew a Care Bear, the whole process was paying me just 25p per hour….even at 12 years old I knew that wasn’t a viable business – not to mention the sore back it gave me hand sewing every spare minute of the day! But I had learnt heaps and I didn’t regret a minute of it. My path to being an entrepreneur had begun.

I always new that one day I would start another business – and having learnt a few lessons on other people’s money in the UK corporate world, at the age of 30 it was now or never. In 2002 I moved to Australia to start my second business.

Fast forward 12 years and a couple of false starts, I’ve just moved my business into flash new offices on the Manly Corso, I have a team of 3 support staff and 29 contractors delivering our Turning Learning into Action® services globally in 11 languages. My first book was launched this year by Kogan Page in the US, UK and Australia. I’m proud to be a business owner, author and entrepreneur.

According to a report published by the Reserve Bank of Australia*, in 2011 ‘small businesses’ (employing less than 20 people) accounted for around 95% of the 2 million actively trading businesses in Australia, and they accounted for around 90% of the businesses engaged in innovative activity. Entrepreneurship needs to be on the curriculum – this type of talent needs to be nurtured and promoted for the future growth of our country.

And this is where Club Kidpreneur comes in. Two years ago, I was lucky enough to be involved in one of the first ever Club Kidpreneur programs, in Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I had the chance to see the sparks fly when some of the quietest kids in the room unveiled their marketing idea or shared the why behind their unique range of smoothies. I got to witness the fun and inspiration that these kids could have dreaming of the what if, and watching the cogs turn to calculate what price they would need to charge to cover costs and make a profit.

At the markets I experienced the creativity that the kids could unleash on the spot as things went really well or went really badly, what could they do to turn it around – resilience skills in the making.

I have heaps to learn still. And I have that original notebook as a reminder of when it all started. I wish I had had the chance to forge friends and confidence through a program like Club Kidpreneur. But I’m happy that I can share what I have learnt to date with the younger, up and coming generation.

I am 100% committed to giving kids the opportunity to discover their genius in whatever field it lies, and I am thrilled to be able to support Club Kidpreneur in their work towards helping children fulfil their business dreams.

Emma Weber

Founder | Lever Learning

*Small Business Finance Roundtable, May 2012, Reserve Bank of Australia.

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