Study: Troubled teens likely to be successful entrepreneurs

23 Aug

Moi wrote in A possible model for corporate involvement in the inner city: Carolee Adams reported in the Education Week article, Internship Pairs Detroit Students With GM Retirees:

The Cody team is one of 11 in the Student Corps in what started as a summer employment program, but morphed into a comprehensive experience that combines service, life-skills education, and mentoring. All told, 110 high school students, 60 retirees, and 12 college interns are involved in this, its first year. Since 2010, when the GM Foundation gave $27 million to the United Way to create “networks of excellence” in a handful of high-need area schools, company liaisons have been working with students. Last fall, the idea of a summer internship program emerged.
GM retirees, who oversee the teams, give encouragement to students who are growing up in a city that just filed for bankruptcy, where many grocery stores have bars on the windows, unemployment is higher than the national average at 16.3 percent, and about one-third of the population lives below the poverty line.
“It’s not like this everywhere,” Mr. Wright told his charges in a mentoring session during lunch. “Until you see something different [from Detroit], that’s the way you think it is.”
Broad Exposure
Company officials wanted to do more for schools than write a check. So they turned to Mike DiGiovanni, 65, a retired GM executive, and asked him to become the director of the Student Corps and recruit fellow retirees.
“Our program is unique because it’s not just putting kids to work, it’s teaching them about life,” said Mr. DiGiovanni “It’s giving them a paid internship and GM on their résumé to set them up for life. This is about exposing them to the skills and education they need to succeed in life.”
The retirees wanted the summer to be about more than cleaning up parks. The organizers soon realized the breadth of retiree talent and considered how to fill rainy days with activities, said Heidi Magyar, the manager of Student Corps. Also, the company had miscalculated the caliber of the students—most have aspirations to go to college—so the program expanded in response.
“These kids have grit. They are determined to be successful in life,” said Mr. DiGiovanni. “Their need and drive was way beyond what we anticipated.”
Research solidly shows that having a mentor can help students from disadvantaged backgrounds who often don’t have the support system and social capital needed to make it in college, said David Conley, the director of the Center for Educational Policy
Research at the University of Oregon, in Eugene. Mentors “take something that is abstract and make it real,” he said.
The transition process from high school to college is far more complex and demanding than most schools acknowledge, said Mr. Conley. In these kinds of programs, students learn skills that help them feel more in control of their lives, which is a huge step in the process of getting ready for college, Mr. Conley said…..

The GM program is not only an example of corporate involvement, but it provides mentors and guidance to children who may be at-risk.

The National Center for Policy Analysis reported in the article, Troubled Teens Are More Likely to Be Successful Entrepreneurs:

Smart, rule-abiding teenagers are less likely to become successful entrepreneurs than equally intelligent teens who engage in illicit activities, according to new research. In a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists Ross Levine and Yona Rubinstein examine what it takes to become an entrepreneur and whether entrepreneurship pays off in terms of wages. Using data from the March Supplements of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, they look at the cognitive, non-cognitive and family traits of self-employed individuals who have incorporated businesses and compare it to the characteristics of salaried workers and the self-employed who don’t have incorporated businesses, says the Wall Street Journal.
Previous research on entrepreneurs has looked at the entire population of self-employed workers, which, Levine and Rubinstein say, doesn’t distinguish between a hot dog vendor and Michael Bloomberg. The process of incorporating a business (making it a separate entity under the law) can be lengthy and expensive.
• The economists argue that self-employed workers who incorporate their businesses show the intent and agency to start a new, profitable venture and are therefore more representative of entrepreneurship than those who haven’t incorporated their businesses.
• Furthermore, not many self-employed workers switch from unincorporated to incorporated and vice versa, the economists say, providing more support for the idea that incorporation coincides with an entrepreneurial venture.
The economists find that self-employed workers with incorporated businesses were almost three times more likely to engage in illicit and risky activities as youth than were salaried workers.
• These behaviors include but aren’t limited to shoplifting, marijuana use, playing hooky at school, drug dealing and assault.
• In addition, the self-employed with incorporated businesses exhibited greater self-esteem, scored higher on learning aptitude tests, were more educated and were more likely to come from high-earning, two-parent families than other employment types.
The economists find that individuals who left their salaried jobs to start incorporated businesses work more hours but also earn more per hour than other employment types, and those who start successful incorporated enterprises enjoy substantially larger boosts in earnings relative to their own wages as salaried workers.
Khadeeja Safdar, “Troubled Teens Make More Successful Entrepreneurs,” Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2013.
Ross Levine, Yona Rubinstein, “Smart and Illicit: Who Becomes an Entrepreneur and Does It Pay?”
National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2013.


Smart and Illicit: Who Becomes an Entrepreneur and Does it Pay?
Ross Levine, Yona Rubinstein
NBER Working Paper No. 19276
Issued in August 2013
NBER Program(s): CF LS
We disaggregate the self-employed into incorporated and unincorporated to distinguish between “entrepreneurs” and other business owners. The incorporated self-employed have a distinct combination of cognitive, noncognitive, and family traits. Besides coming from higher-income families with better-educated mothers, the incorporated—as teenagers—scored higher on learning aptitude tests, had greater self-esteem, and engaged in more aggressive, illicit, risk-taking activities. The combination of “smarts” and “aggressive/illicit/risk-taking” tendencies as a youth accounts for both entry into entrepreneurship and the comparative earnings of entrepreneurs. In contrast to a large literature, we also find that entrepreneurs earn much more per hour than their salaried counterparts.
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There are character traits which are common to entrpreneuers.

Leslie Fiegler posted The 14 Character Traits of the Entrepreneur:

1. A burning passion or intense drive to succeed.

A powerful drive to create success, wealth, legacy or fame is the primary motivator for most entrepreneurs. They are intensely passionate about what they do, almost to the point of fanaticism. Their goals are set high and when attained, are reset even higher. Money is not usually sought for its own sake, but as way of keeping score.

2. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Rather than resisting or resenting change, entrepreneurs have the ability to easily adapt to changing circumstances and conditions. In fact, many entrepreneurs thrive on change. On the negative side, some are so thrilled by change that they will force it, even when things are going perfectly.

3. The need for autonomy.

Some people just need to be their own boss. While many employees see a job as providing security, entrepreneurs see a job as a form of economic slavery and prefer to have personal autonomy to economic security. The worst part about being your own boss is that the expectations for your job function are set higher than for everyone else. The best part about being your own boss is that if you don’t like your orders, you can change them anytime you please.

4. Decisiveness.

The ability to make decisions, sometimes quickly, is a key component of the entrepreneurial personality. This willingness to make, and hold to, a decision is a necessary leadership skill. The awareness that there may be better decisions at any choice point does not result in the indecisiveness that other people often demonstrate.

5. A sense of personal destiny.

Most entrepreneurs have more than just a strong desire to mold their personal destiny; they have a strong belief in their ability to create their own destiny by their own choices and actions. If they are among the few who believe in a set fate or predetermined destiny, they believe that they are fated or destined to be successful.

6. Energy.

Entrepreneurs are energetic. They put in more work hours than most people. They also often play hard and competitively. You won’t find many entrepreneurial couch potatoes. They are usually too busy working or playing to be spectators. This high personal energy level translates as constant enthusiasm and personal charisma. This enthusiasm and charisma attracts other people into the game plan of the entrepreneur.

7. Enterprising.

Entrepreneurs are dealmakers. They make deals with themselves. (When I reach a certain goal, I will reward myself with…). They make deals in their personal relationships. (A movie date is as much a contract as a business deal.) And, of course, they love to make business deals. They seem to be always negotiating something with somebody.

8. A desire for personal growth.

Entrepreneurs are learners and self-improvers. They are always on the lookout for ways to get the competitive edge, to become better at doing what they do, to develop new skill sets or understandings. They understand that what you have depends upon what you do and what you are able to do depends upon who you are. They work constantly to become more.

9. A highly developed intuition.

Most entrepreneurs rely more on gut feelings to make decisions than they do on conscious analysis of a situation. Even though they may be highly analytical and like to accumulate lots of data, their actual decisions are usually based on what feels right. A recent survey of top level executives and company owners reported that most high income decision makers gather as much information as possible and consult with their Master Mind team, but in the end, make decisions based on gut feelings or intuition.

10. Opportunity seeking.

Most people wait for the right opportunity to present itself. The true entrepreneur is always on the lookout for yet another new opportunity. It is often just a matter of perspective. There is the famous story (usually attributed to Joseph Bata) about the shoe company who sends an employee to a country in Africa to ascertain if there is a market for their shoes. The representative reports back, “There is no shoe market here. These people don’t even wear shoes.” The boss, on hearing this news, exclaims, “This is wonderful. No one has any shoes yet. What a huge opportunity!”

11. Perseverance and determination.

This is a big attribute. The obstacles that cause many people to quit are minor setbacks for the true entrepreneur. Winners persist. Losers desist. It is often that simple personality difference that separates the happy successful person from the frustrated failure. There is no better way to state the importance of persistence than to quote Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

12. Problem solving.

When others focus on existing problems, entrepreneurs focus on possible solutions. There is always a solution. There is always a problem. For most people, a problem is an impediment. For the entrepreneur, a problem is an opportunity to discover or create a better solution.

13. Risk tolerance.

The entrepreneur has a high tolerance for risk. The average person is afraid of doing something in case they fail. The true entrepreneur knows that failing to attempt something is a greater failure than trying and not succeeding. In fact, they often don’t even realize that they are taking a risk. What others may judge as a risky situation, entrepreneurs see as an opportunity for a higher reward.

14. A strong sense of self-confidence.

Many people will look at a successful person and see a big ego and think that this superstar has a big ego because he/she is successful. In fact, most successful people have a very high level of self-esteem before they achieve success. They know in their hearts that they deserve success. The lack of sufficient self-esteem and self-confidence is what inhibits many people in their quest for success. Entrepreneurs (and other winners) are confident in their ability to achieve their ideals.

See, Therapy Helps Troubled Teens Rethink Crime

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of these children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis. In addition, to families and schools, corporate support can be useful in helping to move at-risk children into the mainstream.

10 Personality Traits Every Successful Entrepreneur Has

The Four Essential Personality Traits Of Every Entrepreneur


‘Becoming A Man’ course: Helping young African-American men avoid prison

Study: The plight of African-American boys in Oakland, California

Schott Foundation report: Black and Latino boys are not succeeding in high school

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it

Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure

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