9 months ago

Inspiring teenagers

Riccardo confessed, "I

Riccardo confessed, "I didn’t hear anything else the Young Enterprise Guy said. I was too busy spinning the thoughts in my head into some kind of sense." Riccardo swirled his index finger at his temple, as if spinning webs in his mind. "It took me a few minutes of thought to arrive at the next conclusion, I can. I am capable. This Young Enterprise Guy didn’t know me personally, but he believed in people’s ability to create whatever job they wanted. And that was enough to light the flame. I was going to create my own job. I was going to start my own business." "This is landing well," encouraged Riccardo’s inner voice. Riccardo put his teacher hat on and posed a question to the audience, "How true is it, do you think, that you can start your own business?" and then added, "and how likely is it that you will start your own business?" At the first question most of the students started putting their hands up, but as soon as Riccardo asked the second question they took them down again. "Too quick!" shouted Riccardo’s inner voice. "Check in and reconnect!" "What’s next?" Riccardo asked the audience, and waited. "Could you say more about how you started?" Riccardo’s inner voice admonished, "You told them why but not how, didn’t you?" "Oh, I told you why, but not how, didn’t I?" Riccardo admitted. "Well, why comes before how. At least that’s what the experts say." The inner voice admonished again, "Stop being defensive. Just answer the question." "I will tell you how. At least my how. Your how could be different. It probably is. ... So what I would like to do here today is to tell you the story of how I started my own company." The inner voice shouted, "And make it fun!" 36

"I want to make this story-telling into a bit of a competition, a test, if you like. I’m curious to see how many of you are already aware of what it takes to start your own company. Does that sound like fun? Shall we see who’s got the quickest business minds?" "Look to see if that’s fun for them," the inner voice reminded. "I will tell you the story of what happened, and you can let me know as soon as you hear the business opportunity. Wave your hand at me. Okay?" The deal struck, Riccardo began telling his own Young Enterprise story. "I started my first business while I was at high school, a high school like this one. The high school was part of the secondary school; it was one big school with about eight hundred children from eleven to eighteen." "Acting is more entertaining than lecturing," the inner voice reminded Riccardo. "There was a bit of a problem with the students going to the corner market near the school. They would go there and buy sweets and hang around in groups outside the shop." Riccardo mimed smoking and then stubbing out the imaginary cigarette with his foot. "This was forty years ago and there was no law against selling cigarettes to children." Riccardo repeated his mime of smoking and stubbing out the cigarette with his shoe. "Some of the parents got angry. They called the headteacher and complained that the school allowed the children to smoke. They expected the school to stop them." Several students waved their hands. Riccardo paused his storytelling and asked, "What business opportunity do you see?" 37

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