Generation Z is going to be the future. One day, they will be the ones with the most significant impact on the economy and the ones in positions of power. To some people, that thought is a bit frightening, but the best way to ensure a positive future is to teach future generations so that they’re prepared.
KuriousMinds is a Washington-based startup that wants to help Generation Z become a confident generation, filled with successful and knowledgeable entrepreneurs. They’ve created an educational program they think can help.
Young Sharks Program
The KuriousMinds Young Sharks Program is the company’s first effort at creating an educational program. The program focuses on students from kindergarten to 12th grade. It aims to teach them about some of the fundamentals of businesses and entrepreneurship.
They primarily work with parents, teachers, and non-profit companies.
Business skills can often be lacking in traditional education, and the Young Sharks Program wants to supplement that and give students the resources to develop skills that can help them understand the inner workings of starting and running a business.
The program has been tested in the Seattle Washington area, and there are plans to expand it further in the future. It has mainly focused on students in middle school because that is a time when they might grow interested in the idea of starting a business and earning a bit of money.
Co-founder, Soojung Smith has created a startup before and has experience working with businesses, so she works to create a lot of the material for the program. Her sons also help, as they are both part of Generation Z and can provide insight into the best way to reach students and hold their attention.
The program encourages students to be creative and even to make a business plan, which they can then pitch to a “panel of investors.” The program aims to be interactive, and engage students, rather than just providing a lecture of information.
KuriousMinds also offers coaching for students. This is primarily focused on helping students with standardized tests and private school or college admissions. It’s also possible to get coached on giving presentations or public speeches.
A Family-Based Startup
Soojung Smith started KuriousMinds with the help of her two sons and husband. Her oldest son, Douglas Smith, works as the co-founder for KuriousMinds, while her other son, Johnathan, works on some of the technical aspects of the company, and her husband, Doug works as an advisor.
The company is entirely self-funded, and it is the Smith’s second business venture. The Smith sons have also done some business on their own. In eighth grade, her son Douglas started a tutoring business, and her son Johnathan has created two products for aquariums.
KuriousMinds is an up-and-coming startup that has so far had a lot of success, but it’s not the only company with an entrepreneurship and business program for kids and students.
Some other programs include Student Inc, a program that works with schools and gives students a chance to create businesses or products to compete with each other, Lemonade Day which helps kids develop plans and learn about businesses before they set up a lemonade stand for a day, and Junior Achievement, which has a variety of programs that aim to teach students about real-life businesses and entrepreneurship.
These programs may only be available in certain cities, and even KuriousMinds has yet to expand to too many places outside of Washington, just yet. A little bit of research can go a long way, however, and it might be worth it to find a program that exists in your area if there are any Generation Z students in your life.
While it may seem that big companies are “taking over” small companies nowadays and are more often than not running the little guy out of business, that isn’t always true. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are still as important as ever, and it’s also important to encourage creativity and independence in current students.
These programs help students accomplish their goals and find the path that works best for them. Who knows, but maybe one day you’ll be using a product they created. And you’ll have it because they knew how to build it and market it properly. Programs like KuriousMinds helped them do that.