Teaching entrepreneurship

1. What?

The I Camp Initiator kids held in August 2011 in Rada-Cantabria has been a laboratory of education, an exciting experience that I think I should share from the point of view of teaching methodology. I am aware that this is not a blog for secondary school teachers but I feel the need to share my experience with them.

2. Why?

When Rosa Pooalma mater I accepted immediately; I was not going through a good time and that martianada seemed to me a breath of fresh air. After accepting, I realized that I was going to lose some much-desired vacation days, but then I saw who I was going to be teaching. teacher colleaguesThe quality of the staff, which raised my quality requirements and also my expectations.

Hours and hours preparing my three sessions led me to understand that I could not lead a closed program, but that I had to choose an axis and be ready for the students to put me on the spot. I chose as my axis: money, financing small companies that do great things, investing in startups.

I finished my degree in chemistry without ever having heard of money, I felt one-armed when I created my first company and realized what a training hole I had. It might sound inelegant but yes, I was going to teach kids how to find money for their projects.

3. When?

I lived the first days of the camp on Twitter, the hashtag #iniciador_kids It was brimming with good vibes, but also with work, because the kids had a frenetic rhythm of three daily class sessions seven days a week. I was afraid that they would be unmotivated, but not tired, because that could be overcome, although I immediately saw on Twitter that there was plenty of motivation there.

4. Who?

16 kids between the ages of 9 and 14, 2 monitors and 7 enterprising teachers, experts in different areas, carried out the experiment; led by Rosa. I arrived at Iniciador kids on the last Sunday of August, when they had already been at the camp for a week. If you take away the presentation of diplomas at the end, I found something similar to what you can see in this video.

Initiator kids 2011 from Javier Cuervo on Vimeo.

5. How?

I proposed to make an investment forum, but it was necessary to encourage their interest, since the search for money to carry out a project is not obvious.

First day

I left my bike inside its holster in a corner of the classroom, so that it would not draw attention to itself. I told them the story of Aimar FragaI was an entrepreneur who wanted to make a sensational bike, that is to say, one that would transmit many good sensations. When their interest in Aimar's life began to wane, I told them that I could show them a bike similar to Aimar's, because he also made it. I unsheathed mine and rode it. You have the video here.

When you want to do something new you may need money for it, and that money has to be raised somehow. This gave us time to introduce the search for financing. They had already talked about the team before, so it was easy to see two parts of the team: the entrepreneur and the manager, but it was more complicated to get to the third pillar, the investor. At this point they became interested in this figure; for them it was an ethereal being with a lot of money; and little by little we were landing it.

Second day

The guys were tired, and I needed a trump card for this second day, like the bike had been yesterday, to help me get their attention. From the first day it had become clear that we were not clear on how to capture investor interest, so we would have an investor competition.

I was startled to arrive 15 minutes before class and find them there waiting for me, I looked at the clock but they had simply gone early.

In the competition, each of them would be an investor with three euros and would have five companies to choose where to put their money. The companies had already been rated by entrepreneur-investors from a jury; I appealed to that Javier Martín (Loogic), who had already taught them, had been one of the three members of the jury; this, besides being true, lent credibility to the exercise.

If you invested one euro in the winner you would get 30€, if you put it in the second one it would become 20€, if it was in the third one 10€, and if you invested in the fourth to fifth classified you would lose it. Those were the rules and I presented the five cases. And they invested their three euros, although in a couple of cases they kept one euro without investing.

I was surprised by the social orientation of their reasoning and their prudence in many cases. The truth is that the choice of which companies to put their euro in portrayed each guy better than a camera. Once the results were understood we turned it around to investments to see them from a social perspective and we were all surprised.

Third day

It was the last full day of camp and, moreover, the last session. Diplomas had already been handed out, there had already been farewells and tears. We still had to hold an investment forum; if on the second day the kids were investors, this time they would be entrepreneur-investors.

A few days earlier, the children, divided into three teams, had each designed a project with Javier Esteban. This exercise involved presenting each project to their peers so that they would invest the money in their company; they were required to answer three questions qualitatively: what are we going to do, how much money do we need, and how are we going to spend it?

As currency we used sweets. Three per student; on this occasion the multiples could not be so high because of the candy limitation; we would give three grades based on the number of investors who had bet on each company. One of the objectives was to see why investors are gregarious; the problem was that some of them figured it out too quickly, I think the voting should have been private. Whoever invested a chuche in the winner would get three, would get his chuche back if it was in the second, and would lose it if he bet on the third.

As is logical, some of the younger ones arrived at the time of the investment with only a single knick-knack, which, moreover, came slightly used. The result was something like order over chaos; they made decisions and were responsible for them, including not being able to invest in their company because they had eaten the trinkets.

6. Conclusions

1. Initiator kids must be repeated, multiplied and cloned. It has been a difficult experiment because it required parents to make a great effort and teachers to sacrifice several days of vacation, but we have all come out winners. We have created bonds that are only possible in the coexistence of a camp and under a common interest.

2. Entrepreneurship is a state of mind, a way of facing life. The cross-cutting theme of all Iniciador kids is creativity, so we combined high-profile professionals with children, so that we had plenty of knowledge and we could assume that the children were the ones to guide the class.

3. Iniciador kids is a breath of fresh air, a dose of optimism. Enough of defeatism, only creativity and effort will get us out of this.

4. Iniciador kids sells; I would dare to say that more new sales are made than in a commercial event. Let me explain. I experienced this with the fair Madrid es Ciencia de 2008It was an educational event, but better business contacts were made than at a trade fair. The reason is simple, people do not wear armor, we are all softened so that we are more receptive to the proposals that are made to us.

5. It is not about creating companies, it goes much further. The startups are a metaphor for the 21st century that awaits us, they are fast and light. When it comes to generating value for society, size matters less, and it is also detrimental to speed because large companies are always slower than small ones. In Iniciador kids we did not talk about companies but about startups.

Articles published by the protagonists

Claudia Diaz


Néstor Palao


5 responses to "Teaching entrepreneurship”

  1. You are very kind Javier, we have done it all together. Nothing so special can result but from equally special people. All the circumstances came together.
    Now it's time to do much more for Iniciador_kids, where it is the wish of all of us to meet again. You are already an initiator kids, a teacher
    Thank you a thousand times
    A hug

  2. Excellent initiative!!!

    And I loved Amaro's trump card.

    How many things we have to learn.... and initiate.

    Best regards.

  3. [...] 1 alma 8 Teaching Entrepreneurship javiercuervo.com/?p=1052 by lcluengo in economics [...] ago

  4. [...] I also recommend reading Javier's post "Enseñar iniciativa emprendedora" with a great summary of Iniciador Kids. Twittear " Iniciador Kids on TVE Cantabria [...]

  5. [...] As an experiential and experimental educational proposal, I think the best way to understand it is through the impression left on some of the children who passed through there; this is the link to the entry of sorayapaniagua.com that Claudia wrote in her mother's blog about the I Iniciador kids Camp held in August 2011 in Rada - Cantabria; I think it is much more enlightening than what I, as a teacher, could have reported in my blog javiercuervo.com [...].

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