Melissa Rose has taken the concept of youth entrepreneurship a bit beyond the old cliches of lemonade stands and bake sales. Two years ago, she invented the Biz in a Boxx tool to help teach her daughter Sydney about responsibility and good work habits.
Melissa combined her knowledge of business marketing and networking with her daughter’s youthful but chaotic energy, giving her a workbook with the basic concepts of entrepreneurship and some startup money.
She watched as Sydney rose to the occasion and created a small but fast-growing pet and babysitting service, working with three friends to create a website, marketing materials, and an ad campaign. To her delight, the process of running a business focused Sydney’s attention and gave her better habits in school, sports and her personal life. She took responsibility on herself and rose to meet new challenges, according to her mother.
Melissa realised that her simple plan – providing young people with the basic tools and lessons to start their own business – was a great opportunity to create her own product and help kids achieve their full potential.
The "Boxx" part of Biz in a Boxx is simple. Each kit includes a workbook tailored to one of three age groups: CEO Prodigy, for ages 7-10; CEO Apprentice, for ages 11-4, and The Ceo, for Ages 15 and over. The workbooks include information on concepts as simple as determining revenue, profit and costs to ideas as complex as figuring out price elasticity and different kinds of payroll arrangements.
Biz in a Boxx reaches kids when their minds are still flexible and plastic, open to new ideas and full of youthful energy. It can teach responsibility and accountability, while also giving kids their own income so that they can learn good money management skills.
Melissa frets publicly about what she sees as a dearth of entrepreneurial skills in "Generation Y" on her blog, saying that "Currently the U.S. public school system is geared towards preparing today’s youth for jobs rather than teaching them how to create jobs. There are far more resources available in the U.S. that train youth to become employees rather than employers, yet it’s the employers who will help get us out of the financial mess we all face."
Biz in a Boxx is her take on a solution – giving young people the tools they need to build their own prosperity from scratch, with just a little help from a plain white box.