How can we encourage our daughters to become the next generation of industrialists and capitalists?
I read in the Sunday Times last weekend an article by Luke Johnson about how to bring up children to be entrepreneurs and I must give thanks to a parent for highlighting it as being something of interest.
Some years ago I attended a prize giving where Robin Lane Fox, the Oxford academic and gardening commentator gave an address which focused entirely on his daughter, Martha Lane Fox, who sold her lastminute.com enterprise for many millions. He said that when his daughter came and asked him for a modest loan to start her web based company he thought to himself that was the last he would see of his investment. Little did he expect her to turn it into one of the most profitable businesses of the dot com boom. Furthermore she was nominated to be one of the top entrepreneurs of her generation in a recent poll. Martha attended Oxford High School, one of our sister schools in the Trust, and I am sure that in part her education at OHS helped her become such a successful risk taker.
According to the article parents (and schools) can do much to encourage children to become the next generation of
capitalists and industrialists. Children should be encouraged to see obstacles as opportunities and moreover to learn what it feels like to win and lose. Many of Johnson’s comments come from a book written by Margot Machol Bisnow entitled “Raising an Entrepreneur”. She gives guidance on raising “risk-takers, problem solvers and change makers”. It is too easy to over-parent and as a result children become less self-reliant.
At Year 7 form captains’ lunch this week they said they really enjoyed being trusted to do more independently and some of them cited walking home or catching the train as examples of this. To become an entrepreneur you do need to be bold which is one of the values of the GDST. The girls are encouraged here to be independent and self-reliant and to develop their ideas and discover their deep interest in subjects. I am only too aware that we may very well have a start-up billionaire or two in the school and I hope she feels that she is encouraged to be a risk-taker and a courageous thinker. I wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.