“Do you know what an entrepreneur is?” I asked 59 girls, all participants in the Adolescent Girls Program (Girl Up Initiative Uganda’s flagship program).
It was unanimous: NO.
I smiled. “It’s a big word that means business owner,” I told them.
Entrepreneurship is one of the last modules covered in the year-long AGP program. How awesome that I got to be here to be part of this?!
It may seem a bit premature to talk to these girls, all in their early teens, about owning their own business. But this prepares them to be job generators instead of job seekers! And most of their moms (and some dads) already have their own businesses, which could be anything from selling charcoal, chickens or chapatis to plaiting hair at a salon to doing whatever it takes to get by.
So what did I share with the girls when the two other coaches wrapped up their segments and invited me to the front of the room? I did what I love to do… I had 4 key things in mind I wanted to share with them, and then I improvised.
The girls all did their special clap for me when I was introduced, and I ran with that. I wanted to learn their special clapping! So I had them teach me how to do that, and throughout that exchange, I gave them an experience of at least 3 of those 4 key things:
– Get support
– Have fun
– Don’t ever give up
After the improvised clapping lesson, I dove into the 4 key things. I encouraged them to create from their strengths (the 4th key) and gave them a chance to share their strengths with each other.
One of the girls sitting in the front row said she didn’t have a strength to share. I gave her a smile that silently let her know, ‘I see your strength, even if you’re not able to right now.’ I asked her name. Then I asked the group, “What does Maria do well? What’s one of her strengths?” We got a few different responses and I encouraged her to pick one of those for the exercise. (I was having them all yell their strengths on the count of 3!)
OMG these girls! They’re amazing. I had a blast with them! And if their smiles, engagement and boisterous responses were any indication, they did too. I can’t wait for the next training!
>>>YOUR TURN!>>> What 1 thing would YOU share with these adolescent girls about entrepreneurship and being a business owner?