If you ask the average person whether or not they’re an investor, they’ll probably look at you confusedly, and they might mention that they have an E*Trade account. By the time most people are adults, they’ve already formed a self-image that doesn’t include being an “investor”. They think of investors as rich people who sit around the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company. They do not think of investors as neighbors who sit around the kitchen table of a local business. But why not?
I believe there is no better time to upend these expectations than before graduating from college, or even high school. At this point in their lives, most young people still think of careers and personal finance as abstract concepts, necessary but not immediate. Students are full of ideas and energy, and they’re eager to find ways to express their ideas in real-world ways. So the big question is…
How do we prepare the young to become entrepreneurs and investors?
When high school or college students are looking for extra-curricular activities or summer internships, they should be encouraged to start their own project or contribute to one in their community. With new intrastate investing laws blossoming across the country, the barriers that prevent people from owning a piece of their economy are starting to dissolve. Companies in Oregon are now raising money from average citizens in increments as low as $50, within the budget of many students. As these new laws crystallize and companies learn about new opportunities to raise capital, we could see entrepreneurs pitching their company to investment clubs full of students.
We want those students to look at these innovators and think “I can do that.” Every time a young person realizes that they can have an impact right now, rather than waiting until they’ve got a mortgage and a salaried job, we’ve just created an entrepreneur. That’s why we have a financial education program in the works to teach high school students about local investing and give them real capital to invest in a real business on HatchOregon.com.
Every time a young person realizes that they can have an impact right now, rather than waiting until they’ve got a mortgage and a salaried job, we’ve just created an entrepreneur.