Developing Emotionally Intelligent Young Entrepreneurs

In the world of entrepreneurship, being able to understand and manage emotions well is key. Mastering emotional management is imperative to making informed decisions, and maintaining strong relationships with customers, partners, and employees. By developing their emotional intelligence, entrepreneurs can understand and manage their own emotions, as well as that of others, enabling them to lead with empathy and self-awareness while striving for success in their ventures, and build strong connections with the community around them. 

Cultivating a growth mindset is also key to developing entrepreneurs. A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and dedication. Through inculcating this mindset, individuals are given the space to view failures and challenges not as roadblocks, but as opportunities for growth and development. Adopting a growth mindset also encourages entrepreneurs to think outside the box and be more open to alternate perspectives, pushing them to be more innovative and creative in coming up with solutions. By fostering a growth mindset, educators can help young people build resilience and stay motivated amid pressure, as well as develop the courage to take risks.

What can educators do to guide young people as they struggle in their journey to be the next star entrepreneur? Help them to fail forward by reframing challenges and setbacks as learning opportunities, and helping them to see the value in the journey to entrepreneurship.

In adopting a growth mindset, entrepreneurs are able to reframe setbacks as opportunities for learning. (Image: NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2022, Grand Finale Showcase)
Entrepreneurs see challenges as opportunities for growth

Entrepreneurs are constantly taking risks and experimenting in their pursuit of success. By embracing a growth mindset, entrepreneurs can learn from their mistakes, and continuously improve their skills and products to increase their chances of success in the long run. To achieve this, a growth mindset is important, as it helps students to view failures not as personal setbacks, but as opportunities for growth and learning. 

However, it can be difficult to develop a growth mindset, especially in a culture that often places a high value on perfection and success. This is where educators can play a critical role in helping young people develop a growth mindset and view failures in a positive light, as a part of growth, and a stepping stone to achieving success.

One way to do this is to create a safe and supportive learning environment, where students are encouraged to take risks, experiment, and learn from their failures. This can involve providing opportunities for students to work on projects, solve problems, and develop their skills, without the fear of failure or criticism.

Another way is to celebrate successes and failures alike, and to encourage students to reflect on their experiences and learn from their mistakes. This can help students to see challenges as opportunities for growth, and develop the resilience and determination necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs.

By fostering a growth mindset in students and helping them view challenges as growth opportunities, educators can equip young people with the skills and mindsets needed to succeed as entrepreneurs. Mastering the ability to embrace failures, learn from them, and continuously improve is an essential skill for entrepreneurs, and one that will serve them well throughout their careers.

Developing emotional intelligence guides entrepreneurs in managing their emotions, helping them to maintain strong relationships with their team and community. (Image: Westwood Secondary School students at an entrepreneurship programme, 2022)
Entrepreneurs embrace setbacks as opportunities to manage personal emotions

Entrepreneurs often face a wide range of emotions, including frustration, disappointment, and fear, and it is essential that they are able to understand and manage their emotions in order to make informed decisions and maintain strong relationships with their community, be it their customers and partners, or the team they are leading.

This is where emotional intelligence comes into play. Viewing setbacks as opportunities to manage personal emotions can help entrepreneurs develop their emotional intelligence. By reflecting on their experiences, entrepreneurs can identify patterns in their emotional reactions, and learn how to manage their emotions more effectively, increasing their chances of success as entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs who celebrate small wins develop a positive relationship with failures, which helps them to become more resilient. (Image: NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2022)
Entrepreneurs see and celebrate small wins instead of failures

When individuals celebrate their failures, they acknowledge their efforts and the lessons they have learned. This reinforces the idea that failure is not a negative outcome, but a natural part of the growth process, one that is essential to the journey to success. By reframing failures as small wins, individuals can build resilience and develop a growth mindset that enables them to embrace challenges, take risks, and continue to learn and grow. 

For educators, this can be incorporated into the classroom through activities such as sharing stories of failure, recognising students’ efforts and learning experiences, and creating a supportive environment that is not judgemental. By doing this, educators can help students develop a positive relationship with failures, and view them as a cause for celebration rather than a source of shame or discouragement.

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Viewing failures as opportunities for growth and celebration, and managing personal emotions are essential skills for entrepreneurs. By incorporating these principles into their curriculum, educators can help young people develop the emotional intelligence and growth mindset necessary for success as entrepreneurs. The ability to embrace setbacks, learn from them, continuously improve and be comfortable with risk-taking is an essential skill for entrepreneurs, and one that will serve young people well as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and overcome obstacles.


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Keen to learn how Halogen has been developing young entrepreneurs? Join us at our NFTE Info Sessions to find out more!

Written by Evelyn Phua