*This article is also published on Huffington Post.
Jeff Glass’s grandfather encouraged him to pursue entrepreneurship since he was five years old, and as a result Jeff charted several entrepreneurial pursuits with passion. He is the former executive director of the New Entrepreneur Network in Carson City, NV. He wrote, taught, and measured the results of entrepreneurial curriculum with students in schools, Boys & Girls Club, and the Juvenile Probation Department. Jeff has over 20 years of experience as a business consultant and serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as the executive director of the Youth Entrepreneur Syndicate in Reno, NV, an organization dedicated to developing the entrepreneur mindset for youth and young adults. He is authoring the Children’s Book Series on Entrepreneurship – a dedicated set of tools to assist parents and kids to learn and apply the core principles of success for life and business. Per Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Ben Bianchi, “Jeff is great at providing a road map of character that leads kids to self-growth and change. He empowers them to want to learn and be excited about opportunity. This book series, and Jeff’s teaching style is an integral type of of development in early intervention for kids.” Hon. Pauline Truong (GlobePreneurs – ‘GP’) had discussions with Jeff Glass (‘JG’) regarding the public benefit of the Children’s Book Series on Entrepreneurship.
GP: Do you find that children are natural entrepreneurs or do they need some motivation to become involved?
JG: Yes, both are needed, and here is why. Children have many natural characteristics of an entrepreneur, such as determination and being risk takers. We see this in their early stages of development. As they are learning to walk, regardless if they fall, with determination, they will keep getting back up. Children do not recognize this as failure but as one step closer to success. They can fall 50 to 100 times and they will continue to move forward until they get it right. They are also willing to take risks; we see this when they tackle the playground, go down the largest slide, jump from the highest point, and show off their abilities to their parents. Their gifts, are undeniable; they believe they can achieve greatness from a very young age. We need to, as parents, nurture their entrepreneurial qualities and facilitate an environment for them to succeed. This is where motivation comes into the equation. Children naturally draw motivation from parents and mentors to continue on their path as young entrepreneurs.
GP: How and why did you develop the Children’s Book Series on Entrepreneurship?
JG: As I was teaching entrepreneurship curriculum in schools I found that a majority of the students did not understand how their education applied to their futures. I discovered that many of them had a false sense of what makes a company successful, how to achieve wealth, and most importantly live a fulfilling life with purpose. This understanding of my audience, sparked the Children’s Book Series on Entrepreneurship. I began researching the most critical core principles that make companies successful. I found these principles to be generosity, courage, teamwork, leadership, stewardship (time and money), innovation, and honor. With attention to my audience, I looked at my next steps and considered 3 important variables: 1). Storytelling works. In order to have a lasting impact on kids I needed to communicate with them at their level; kids engage, memorize, and they recall stories. 2). Show value. I learned to connect students to the value of their education and how it applies to their present and future. 3). Age matters. It became important to reach them as young as possible when they naturally show many qualities of the entrepreneurial spirit. The book series engages, entertains, and educates kids, providing long-term value.
GP: How will the public benefit from the Children’s Book Series on Entrepreneurship?
JG: The public will benefit by having tools that invest in the success of our youth. This a long-term economic plan. We start with the youth. The book series will create an entrepreneur mindset for kids of all ages and parents. The books teach us entrepreneurship is not just creating a business; it is creating a life of fulfillment for others and the individual. The core principles teach us how to create positive and impactful cultures for our families, communities, and companies.
We have tested these principles in our cities, schools, and social service systems and found the following results, kids showed: an increase respect toward their parents and teachers, a better understanding of their education and its application to life and careers, higher grades, employability skills, appreciation for those that differ from them, and abilities to start their own companies. Per Mayor Bob Crowell: “Successful communities of the future will be those that promote and embrace entrepreneurship. Jeff Glass has been instrumental in our community effort to create a culture of entrepreneurship and critical thinking in Carson City, Nevada.”
I have had the benefit of thinking like an entrepreneur in every area of my life since I was five years old. I learned not only to find opportunities, but how to create them. This book series reflects my mission to pay it forward and to create opportunities for all kids to build a greater world.
GP: How is your crowdfunding campaign going?
JG: It’s going well, but we have many miles ahead to make our goal. Crowdfunding is a character building experience. This campaign takes an incredible amount of determination and it is challenging me to be a risk taker all over again. I am putting my own principles into practice. And, what a great way to make it happen.
Our first book, “Jesse and The Lion Share”, is all about the principle of generosity. We have decided not to take loans and go through investors. We are bootstrapping this book series as a community. We need a generous amount of financial support for this book series to reach kids locally and internationally.
Our crowdfunding campaign is raising funds to pay our artists and complete the production of our books. Our illustrations for the book series are a unique blend of wildlife art and digital photography. This approach brings the book series to life making it enjoyable fun for the whole family and kids of all ages.
Our nature artist, Val Warner brings unparalleled talent to our team for the production of the book series. Jeramie Lu is an award-winning, worldwide photographer producing the digital pictures for our book series. We are combining pictures of kids and animals to bring together a style rare to children’s books.
Contributions to this campaign will put tools into the hands of parents, mentors, and kids to create lives of fulfillment and success. For information on how to make a contribution toward The Children’s Book Series on Entrepreneurship, please visit http://bit.ly/childrensbookseries. You can also pre-order a copy of the first book today.
GP: What is your advice for @GlobePreneurs who want to develop and commercialize products for children?
JG: Test your ideas and listen attentively to your audience; they are your most valuable teacher. My books are intentionally centered around social entrepreneurship. The generations we see growing up into the marketplace are often focused more on the impact they can make on the lives of others rather than just making money. Do not just create products that people want to buy, create a culture people want to adopt as their own. It is important to understand that when creating products for kids, there are two customers. A). Kids want something fun and entertaining. B). Parents want their kids to have something of value, but when you make it entertaining for the parents as well, then you’re on the right track. Our kids are important and brilliant. As an entrepreneur and parent, I have learned they are our most valuable investment. “The best thing you can teach children is how they bring value to their world” -JG