Many people argue that the best way to help someone and improve their quality of life is to give them a job. This may be true, however, I would also argue that one of the best ways to help someone is to teach them and give them the skills and resources to become their own boss.
Most people would agree that we need to have a healthy private sector to support government programs and services.
So, how can we nurture and develop our private sector?
We can tap into the skill, talent, creativity, and innovation of our youth to kick-start new business development ideas and start-ups.
The BC Ministry of Education can develop a new Business Development and Start-Up program for high school students in Grades 10 to 12. This can be a three year program with course credits and college and university transfer options.
Students can be provided with everything they need to develop a business plan, do market feasibility research, and launch the start up. Students can hook up with various non-profits after graduation to link them up to business mentors, further funding sources, and additional expertise.
Students can be taught not only about business basics and market economics in high school but also the social, political, environmental, and cultural impact their business ideas will have on society. The goal would be for our youth to develop sustainable projects that have maximum benefit for society as a whole.
I think this is a great way to inject some fresh new ideas into our economy while providing an exciting outlet for youth to focus their energies on, especially away from drugs and gangs.
Not everyone is cut out for college or university. Even if you go and get a degree there is no guarantee you'll get a decent professional job afterwards. Even worse, you might end up thousands of dollars in debt.
Our high school students are full of energy, enthusiasm, and youthful exhuberance. Many are highly talented and creative. Why not tap into and direct this energy for the greater good? Not only will we be providing new jobs and opportunities and stimulating the economy, we will be diversifying our economy and potentially growing and expanding new business ideas over time.
This BC Business Development and Start-Up program is an investment in our future and can inject a lot of life and new hopes and dreams in our youth. We need to plant a seed and nurture and water it and watch it grow. An economy does not grow overnight. We need to develop the infrastructure to watch innovation and new ideas flourish.
Why not give it a chance and see what our next generation can come up with? Our youth may surprise us all. Especially with the rapid advances in the high tech and knowledge economy, our youth are well placed to develop advances in this area as they are often the front end users of the latest gadget.
With this BC Business Development and Start-Up program in high school, BC may just end up being home to the next Microsoft, IKEA, or Facebook.
Alex Sangha is an award winning author and social worker based in Surrey, B.C. For more information check out http://alexsangha.com
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