The entrepreneurial streak: nature or nurture?

Surveys show that one third of parents want their children to start their own business. This raises an important question: is an entrepreneurial streak innate or acquired? “There's no simple answer,” says Nathaly Riverin, director of the École d'entrepreneurship de Beauce.

In most cases, children will choose an occupation and then later decide between being self-employed or an employee. “On the other hand, for some people, entrepreneurial qualities become obvious early on,” she says. “Just think of kids who get a kick out of organizing activities, like garage sales or lemonade stands, or events such as parties and outings with friends.”

At school and at home

Almost half of entrepreneurs age 18 to 34 point to school as the place where they developed their entrepreneurial abilities and skills. Plus, the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité offers the program Ensemble vers la réussite to equip primary school and cycle one high school teachers to promote entrepreneurship at school.

From the primary level to university, school is a great place for exploring strengths, but it can't do it all on its own.

According to Nathaly Riverin, parents are in the perfect position to recognize their children's talents and qualities. “At home, children can develop a sense of initiative, autonomy and the ability to tackle projects, all essential qualities to entrepreneurship.”

“Since summer 2013, we've been offering a summer camp for high school students in grades 9 to 11. We work on developing their entrepreneurial personality. What makes a big impact on them is the idea that big successes grow from small things and that success is possible. Young people also learn that it is easier to start with small projects and then grow them, rather than to fall flat on their face with an unwieldy project.”

Nathaly Riverin emphasizes the role of parents in developing talent and helping children develop their entrepreneurial personality.

Here are 5 steps to developing your entrepreneurial personality:

  1. Know yourself: accept yourself as you are.
  2. Create: develop your sense of initiative.
  3. Develop: take action.
  4. Communicate: share your leadership.
  5. Collaborate: develop your ability to mobilize.

To do with children

Discover our educational activities on entrepreneurship: