21st Century Dad
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Big Business Creates Jobs… and Small Businesses

November 19th, 2007 . by admin

In a recent speech by Florida State Senator Senator Jeremy Ring, he asserted the importance of teaching entrepreneurial skills and engendering that spirit. Much of his discussion also covered businesses coming to South Florida to diversify our economy. Make us less dependent on real estate development to drive the economy here. His assertion is that entrepreneurial activity, not big businesses coming to South Florida, will spur the growth we seek.
On October 17th, 2007,  Ikea made its grand appearance in South Florida. One more “big box” store makes its audacious statement. The first jobs created are easy to spot. They are the workers required to staff such an operation. Inside, you will find a retail store with over 10,000 items, a cafe, a food market, a warehouse, and a child-care facility. The next set of jobs are created by the businesses that spring up in support of and feeding off of the big store. Large scale businesses do create jobs, but do they create businesses? Do they spawn children? Some do. Many don’t.
Ikea furniture requires assembly. They don’t offer the service, but they refer you to a company that performs the service. Ikea could easily offer assembly. It would create jobs, but it takes away an entrepreneurial opportunity. This is what Senator Ring was talking about! New companies are started to meet the demand for furniture assembly. Someone else may be inclined toward offering design and decorating services. Ikea’s arrival created these opportunities.

Where is the parenting lesson here? If you want to encourage your children to become entrepreneurs, you need to be aware of what’s going on out there. I’m not saying that you should tell your children to become furniture assemblers. You need to show them that it is possible to seize opportunity. The beautiful thing about being an entrepreneur is, your opportunities aren’t just found. You can make them for yourself too.

In Florida, and I imagine in most states, a child who is 14 or older is eligible to work. For the past several years, it has been one of Austin’s top gripes in life. The shorthand he developed is to say, “child labor laws,” with frustration seasoned with a hint of sarcasm. Then we know it’s time to change the subject of the conversation before his mood degrades even further.

I’ve suggested a few suitable entrepreneurial ventures. He didn’t bite on any of them. Nevertheless, these opportunities are available. A teen ineligible to work in corporate America can help people optimize their MySpace pages, mow lawns, wash cars, play online games and sell the characters for profit, and so many other things to subvert the dominant paradigm here.

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