Business development · 25 August 2015

The new comic book teaching children how to become entrepreneurs

My First Startup hopes to help children learn entrepreneurship on their own terms
My First Startup hopes to help children learn entrepreneurship on their own terms

A comic book aiming to help children become entrepreneurs has headed to Kickstarter in an effort to reach its $10,000 goal.

Your Comic Story is a New York-based business which has created My First Startup, a comic book following the story of two children – Tanya and Kevin. They want to pursue their dreams but need financial help to turn them into reality. Tanya wants to go to video game camp, so starts building websites for classmates, while Kevin’s after the latest game console so begins a journey experimenting with different business concepts.

The creators, Russell Geyushev, Andrey Grubin and David Kieve said that in a way entrepreneurs are like superheroes – “they create jobs, come up with inventions and solutions that didn’t exist before, and find creative problems, with no obstacle being too tough”.

They thought the comic book medium was an ideal way to reach younger kids from eight to 12 years old, and show them the possibility of starting a business before they are encouraged to aim for a more typical, stable career.

Geyushev, Grubin and Kieve have tried not to water down content too much though, with the story addressing the concerns of every business owner – from branding to building a customer base to distribution. They have also secured partners such as Shippo, SendInBlue and Shopify as a starting block to help children access the initial building blocks for starting up. For those who pledge $35 or more, they have access to a Startup Toolkit – giving a child access to resources including free business cards (from Jukebox Printing) and help setting up an ecommerce store (thanks to Shopify).

Kieve said as well as broadening mindsets in helping “parents teach kids an alternative to the nine-to-five career,” it will also show “a reasonable response to ‘buy me more presents’” in that if they want a flashy new game, they need to earn the money for it.

Russell Geyushev and David Kieve
Russell Geyushev and David Kieve

In the Kickstarter video both Kieve and Geyushev discussed failed business ventures they were involved with before the creation of startup Your Comic Story. Geyushev mentioned his early dabbling in entrepreneurialism – at the age of ten he helped other children do homework and they paid him with bottle caps, while Kieve said if he’d read My First Startup he would’ve known a lot more about product research during his early days.

Kieve also pointed out the book taught lessons that weren’t just for young entrepreneurs though. “It also teaches logical thinking, time management, creative problem solving and other skills that anyone can use to succeed in life,” he explained.

Interest in starting a business seems to be emerging among more younger people – research from Duedil and Enterprise Nation in late 2014 found the number of under-35s starting a business had risen by over 70 per cent since 2006.

A report from The Prince’s Trust in 2013 also found some 30 per cent of young people believed they would be self-employed in the future, though more than than half said not having enough money would prevent them from setting up a business. A third said having mentoring would make them more likely to consider going it alone as a feasible career option.

Kieve and Geyushev hope that not only will their comic book help develop any seeds of entrepreneurialism among young people, it will also start teaching them useful business lessons early on to make them more aware of what needs to be considered when you’re hoping to create a startup.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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