This is the story of a seven-year old entrepreneur who could change the world.
Seven-year old Jalen asked me, “Do you like Burger King?
I told her that I don’t and she mentioned that she was trying to sell a coupon for a free burger for a dollar.
“Is that for school?” I asked.
“No. I found it in the newspaper and I’m trying to sell it. It’s worth two dollars and I’m going to sell it for a dollar.”
I was finally leaving my office in an old neighborhood near downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was freezing cold, ready to get home, and yet I stopped.
I know little about Jalen’s background, but from what I can make of it, she certainly doesn’t come from privilege. So when she showed me more entrepreneurial spirit in that moment than most people will show in a lifetime, I knew what I had to do.
“I can’t use it,” I said. That’s a lesson in targeting and rejection.
“But keep trying. Keep finding things to sell. I wish there were more people like you, Jalen. If you keep it up, you can make so much money. Keep at it, OK?”
“OK,” she said. “I know someone will buy it.”
I know that someone will too.
There is no doubt in my mind that America…the world…needs more entrepreneurs. It needs more people willing to create, find, and offer a service of value and accept payment for it.
Someone is getting a dollar off a burger. Jalen is getting a dollar for her efforts.
How is that not win-win?
How is that not the American ideal?
How is that not the way out of recession?
The way out of poverty.
The way out of 16 trillion dollars in national debt.
The way out of depression. Out of addiction. Out of the seemingly endless cycle of family lack, abuse, and suicide.
Don’t you dare tell me that’s crazy. Being an entrepreneur gives a person purpose. It gives a person something to dream about.
Purpose and dreams are what pulls people out of depression. It’s what pulls a nation out of a recession. The money is secondary to the spirit that will overtake the powers of darkness prevailing in so many homes, so many schools, and across this country.
Entrepreneurship should be encouraged like never before.
The responsibility to do that rests on you.
It rests on me.
We encourage it by setting an example.
We encourage it by telling a seven-year old to keep doing it when she shows the spark of entrepreneurship.
We encourage it by celebrating entrepreneurs who have made it.
Who are about to make it.
Who are trying to make it.
Who just started.
Who have failed and are trying again.
Who have failed again and again and again and who are doing it again and again and again.
This can change the world.
What are you doing to encourage entrepreneurship?