One of Australia’s youngest entrepreneurs* believes children as young as eight should be encouraged to start their own business to teach them the financial skills they’ll need later in life.
Taj Pabari, who is just 19 and has already been running his own business for eight years, said starting a business teaches kids a lot about money and how to handle it.
“They will need to learn about the costs of running a business, they’ll have to look at pay scales*, minimum wages*, cost of electricity, wi-fi — managing all the basic things that cost money and that you need to run your business requires an understanding of budgeting,” Mr Pabari said.
“Not every kid will want to grow up to be a business entrepreneur but learning how to start their own business when they are young will give them transferable* skills that they can take to any employment* as well.”
As part of his own company Fiftysix Creations, Mr Pabari runs school holiday business camps for children.
This year he has been working with a group of 9-12 year-olds whose parents drive them to school, to try to solve the problem of wasted time in the car each day.
“The solution they have come up with is a Virtual Reality Classroom that they connect to at home saving time and the cost of travel, petrol and lost productivity* at work for their parents,” he said.
The junior entrepreneurs have spent time calculating average wages, petrol costs, car expenses, lost productivity time and distances travelled each day to work out the savings and benefits of the VR classroom.
Mr Pabari, who was named one of Westpac’s Top 20 Businesses of Tomorrow in 2017, is well-qualified to talk to kids about branching out into their own businesses — he started his career by creating a technology website when he was 11 years old.
He founded his company Fiftysix Creations, which started out making and selling build-your-own electronic tablets teaching kids about the building blocks of computers that make up our digital world. The company has since evolved* into a leading independent educational provider running workshops across the country focusing on entrepreneurship, creativity and business skills.
“They are the exact skills I needed when I set up Fiftysix Creations but didn’t have,” he explained.
So, should kids worry about setting up a business and it failing?
“When young people set up a business they go for the impossible and don’t see the roadblocks — and so failing is a real possibility,” said Mr Pabari.
“But I think, as long as you learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating them next time, that’s the main thing.”
See how much money this little girl raised with her Lemonade Stand to help fire victims.
Mr Pabari also said financial literacy was something all children should learn from an early age.
“Every person needs to understand how to manage money before they leave school. But often they don’t,” he said.
“For me, learning basic financial skills at school was non-existent*.”
Mr Pabari said learning how to budget was a must.
“Primary school kids should know basic budgeting because it’s a skill every person in the real world needs.
“Managing money and organising how to manage your money are vital* along with learning to put money aside. It is crucial and something kids should learn from a young age,” he said.
Note: Westpac’s Businesses of Tomorrow is a program designed to reward and recognise businesses with the drive to shape Australia’s future.
entrepreneurs: someone who starts a business, assuming all the risks and rewards
pay scales: payment structure
minimum wages: lowest legal amounts you can pay someone
transferable: able to be moved
productivity: work rate
evolved: developed or advanced
non-existent: doesn’t exist
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
1. How old was Taj Pabari when he started his first business?
2. Name three problems the Virtual Reality Classroom was trying to solve.
3. Which three skills did Mr Pabari wish he had when starting out?
4. What skill does he describe as a must for all children to learn?
5. What is the name of Mr Pabari’s company?
1. Business calculations
Mel is 12 and has decided to start up a car washing business to make some money over the school holidays. Can you help with some of the business calculations?
Mel has decided to create a flyer to drop in letterboxes in her local area to let potential customers know about the service. If a full colour A4 flyer costs 20c to print, how much will it cost for Mel to print 500 of them?
If black and white printing only costs 10c per page and Mel prints two flyers per page instead of one, how much money can she save on her 500 flyers?
It takes Mel 30 minutes to wash a standard size car and she charges $10. A larger car takes 45 minutes — how much should Mel charge for this so that her hourly rate stays the same?
Mel finds out that she needs insurance in case she accidentally damages someone’s car while she is working. The insurance will cost $80. How many hours will she need to wash cars to cover the cost of the insurance?
Mel’s brother washes cars at the same speed as her. If she gets busy she is going to get him to work for her and will pay him $12 per hour. How much money will Mel be left with per hour that her brother works?
Based on the following, can you work out how much Mel will make over the holidays from her car washing business if:
She purchases the insurance she needs.
She distributes 500 black and white, half-page flyers.
She washes 36 standard size cars and 22 large cars.
Her brother works for her for 9 hours in total.
Time: Allow 30 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Mathematics
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What sort of business do you think you’d be good at and like to start? Why?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.