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Frist Look - July 2016

Entrepreneurship Now a Part of the KidZania Experience

By Keith Miller

The founder and president of Mexico-based KidZania, Xavier López Ancona, recently announced that in response to a mandate by the government of Mexico to support and strengthen entrepreneurship, KidZania is launching a program to make children aware of entrepreneurship and its importance. Funworld asked López to answer a few questions about the significance of the new program.

Is KidZania embracing entrepreneurship because it is being strongly supported by the Mexican government, or also because you see value in it?

It’s true the [government] is putting a lot of effort into driving entrepreneurship in Mexico. However, it’s not why we are keen to give children the opportunity to learn what a startup involves. Being an entrepreneur myself, I see great value in letting children learn about entrepreneurship.

When will the entrepreneurship program start, and can you provide any details about it?

A test program [is being] implemented in our Mexico facilities as a summer program. Kids will have to find a need, think of a product or service that satisfies this need, find a name and logo for their company, elaborate a business plan and marketing plan, start production, and market and sell it to their parents/friends on the last day of the weekly program.

KidZania was founded by you as an entrepreneur. How does your personal experience give you insight into the value of entrepreneurship?

That’s right, and it’s something I’d like to teach children in Mexico, specifically. Typically, entrepreneurship in Mexico is seen negatively, as if being “jobless.” Regularly, entrepreneurs in Mexico start a service business or small restaurant and stay there. They don’t continue growing from a startup into a corporation and rapidly open new branches across the country [or] in other countries. I think fostering entrepreneurship is everyone’s responsibility: family, school, government, NGOs, [non-governmental organizations] and corporations.

What do you believe children need to know about entrepreneurship?

I want children to learn that after becoming entrepreneurs, they should continue growing their business, reinvesting, and going to other markets; also, to change the negative feeling that becoming an entrepreneur in Mexico means. I hope this small effort plants a seed in children around the world, inspiring them into creating new ways of doing business, creating jobs, and moving the world’s economy forward.

How do you hope the KidZania entrepreneurship program helps kids as they start their own careers?

It’s said that 50 percent of the professions of today’s children have not been invented yet. By doing this [at KidZania], I expect to find new needs/necessities, new ways of looking at or solving old problems, and creating new jobs and ways of making the world a better place. Kids are really smart—smarter than most of us think they are.