Parents Learn the Value of Business
The Two Cowboys had the privilege of attending Okotoks' second annual Lemonade Day on Saturday 10 June, 2016. At the outset we were blown away by the enthusiasm of this growing community for encouraging entrepreneurship in their children. Why do they do it?
Let's face it, Alberta Province is hurting financially and socially at the moment. The economic downturn is leaving deep financial and emotional scars in our communities. Folks are out of work, and many are without hope.
The question that is on everybody's mind is: "Do we leave for a job elsewhere, or do we see it through, waiting for the good old days to come back?" The answer is simple. This time the prosperity of the oil industry in Alberta is unlikely, to return to previous levels soon, if ever. Maybe, now is the time that we take ownership of our destiny, and reinvent ourselves and our community once and for all. Maybe it is time to say goodbye to the concept of someone else having a "job" waiting for me, and hello to the concept of taking charge of my own destiny: of being a Producer, and an Entrepreneur.
Production Over Jobs
For too long, Alberta's been a "one trick" pony relying heavily on its energy assets and income from the oil industry. I am sure you are tired of hearing this tune, but it needs to be played loudly and clearly again.
Many people locally and nationally became complacent with the good fortune of the availability of well paying jobs, and not enough people to do them. When you travelled the oilfields you found people from all professions and locations across Canada, stepping out of their chosen industries, and into easy oil money. This is no longer the case.
Also, our Governments, Locally, Provincially and National followed suit by growing public services and bureaucratic overhead out of proportion on the easy energy revenue, taxes and royalties that could be milked from oil profits. People either worked for an oil company, a business servicing an oil company, or a public service made possible thanks to revenue from oil. Jobs are still around while these institutions are in denial, and banking on borrowed money. This cannot continue. Someone eventually will have to pay for it.
There is a positive story in all of this. We, the Two Cowboys traverse the business and community landscape in this beautiful Province, and we see hope and realization flickering. You can see some of the inspiration in the Producer Profiles we produce and the community events we feature.
If Alberta is to turn itself around and prosper again, it has to recognize that it is not going to be the oil industry, or the Government that is going to hand us jobs, grants, or subsidies. Rather it is time for the people of Alberta to recognize the value of its Producers, and exalt these people that will do it: The Entrepreneurs. The Business owners. They will reinvent Alberta. The rest just need to get out of the way.
That is why we encourage and celebrate our Producers and Entrepreneurs. That is why we involve ourselves with communities and people that focus on making it possible for people to make something of value, earn from it, and share some of it. That is why it is good to encourage our children to choose entrepreneurship over employment. That is why we are ecstatic about Lemonade day in Okotoks, Black Diamond and Turner Valley. It's been long overdue!
Lemonade day is an initiative that ensures that youngsters are set on a path early to value what it means to be in business. It celebrates the personal value, the financial value, and the community value that comes from entrepreneurship and production. The concept was first introduced in Houston, Texas in 2007 to provide children and young adults with a collection of entrepreneurial skills not taught anywhere in the education system.
Since 2007, almost 750,000 kids have participated in cities across North America. This year it is expected that over 150,000 students in over 50 cities will be participating in this tremendous program. Okotoks' business community is right up there with the best of them, taking the lead in teaching young Albertan's the value of entrepreneurship. The program is in its second year in Okotoks and has exploded in popularity amongst the children, and also amongst the supporting businesses of the area.
Successful societies were, and still are built on the back of small business. Entrepreneurs take risks believing they can realize their dreams if they work hard, take responsibility and act as good stewards of their resources. Everyone benefits as a result. Today’s youth share that optimism, but lack the life skills, mentorship and real-world experience necessary to be successful.
In 2007, founder Michael Holthouse had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through helping them start, own and operate their very own business: A simple lemonade stand. Through this journey, children are encouraged and coached in preparation for the important role they will one day play in the success of their community.
By attending Lemonade Day in Okotoks we found people celebrating the opportunity of business, learning the values and skills that comes from being in business, and ultimately the hope that comes from taking charge of ones own destiny. The community is better off as a result. Everyone is.
The people of Alberta is taking charge of its own destiny in the realization that we ourselves are responsible for our prosperity. Our future Producers will make it possible. We need to make more lemonade.
Hendrik van Wyk
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