Educate the Next Generation – Fostering Entrepreneurial Spirit

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When we talk of entrepreneurial spirit in the family company, you have to take into account the inclination of the person taking over. Young people often already share the enthusiasm of their parents for the family business. However, if parents show passion for the company and show that the business is as an enriching, positive and creative experience, the possibility of transmitting this enthusiasm increases. Naturally, the opposite can also be the case: when parents transmit a feeling of sadness and difficulty while working in the company, it will transfer to the next generation and it will be hard for them to muster the motivation to join the business. It is of the utmost importance that the parent generation be clear in what they want to transmit to their children and also the manner in which they do so. An equal level of educational commitment for all family generations can facilitate this process greatly.

There are some family entrepreneurs, who have never had the time to pursue studies or attain a higher level of education, but nevertheless have the capacity to manage businesses successfully because they have been brought up in families which have taught them the value of respect for others, responsibility and duties, encouraging them to develop their own talent. In spite of this often innate capacity, a family business must consider education as an important activity for everyone, but only useful to those who wish to receive it. An educational plan cannot be developed if family members do not welcome it, and this is true for the generation, which will take over as it is for the one preceding it.

An important distinction must be made with regards to the way the introduction of education in the family business is handled: Young entrepreneurs are often apt to translate what they learn in the classroom directly into their businesses. However, this is much more difficult to achieve with family business members in their 50´s or 60´s. For them, one must consider a different kind of education, more interactive, which employs elements such as their personal experience. A family business which desires to increase their educational level must take into account the qualities and capabilities of each generation.