Because of the corona pandemic, children were taught at home for months. But there was room for more than just subjects such as math and language. Three children and their fathers talk about the businesses they founded and what they learned from them.

Junayd (7), Juwayriah (10) and father Larbi Lamlih started the website

Inspired by their uncle, brother Junayd and sister Juwayriah had wanted to start their own company for years. "When the corona crisis broke out and we were all a bit more at home, I also had a little more time to help them," says Father Larbi. After a brainstorming, the Klusjes family decided to start in the neighborhood.

On the weekends, the kids went out to do the chores. Weeds were weeded, grass was cut and Juwayriah was even allowed to read through Zoom. "I found that very exciting." Her brother Junayd hopes that he will soon be able to read aloud. "Or walking a dog, I think that's nice too."

"I wanted them to think about why they wanted to do business." Larbi Lamlih, father of Junayd and Juwayriah

In addition to all the work, father Larbi also had some questions for the children. "I wanted them to think about why they wanted to do business." Ultimately, the children wanted to make money and be entrepreneurs, but also wanted to help people. "I want people to be happy with our work," says Juwayriah.

Larbi hopes that his children will have a great sense of responsibility for the company. At the same time, he wants his children to have experiences together. "Doing things like this with your family makes beautiful memories."

What do children learn from starting a business at such a young age?

  • Mariolein van der Plas, director of the Jong Ondernemen foundation, sees many advantages if children actually continue to do business. But even if children only try it for a while, they learn a lot from their own company. "They start working together, they learn to deal with setbacks, express their creativity and have to think critically. All things that can come in handy again later."
  • It can have a lot of effect, especially for children who are still in primary school, according to research by professor of entrepreneurship Mirjam van Praag. Skills such as creativity and entrepreneurship are picked up at that age. "That could be because young children are still very open to new skills," suggests Van der Plas.
  • However, it is important that doing business in a safe environment. "So this is a good example with your parents. Because it is an experiment and you do not get a mark for it, anything is possible."

Mare (11) started an online store with tie dye stuff with her best friend Laurine and with the help of father Sjoerd Blüm

After Mare and her friend Laurine watched videos on YouTube how to dye textiles in tie dye style, they went to the store with their parents' starting capital. "We borrowed 40 euros from my parents, which was deducted from my pocket money," says Mare.

Father and daughter Blüm. (Photo: Private collection)

The dyeing was easy, but then a more difficult job came up: for how much do you sell it? "The stuff cost quite a lot of money and of course we wanted to make a profit." In the end, the price of a T-shirt was set at 10 euros. The two post on Instagram to showcase their products.

"You can read these things in economics books, but this is a much more fun way to learn." Sjoerd Blüm, father of Mare

It has not been a storm so far: only one T-shirt has been sold. "But we continue to persevere. The trick is to at least post a lot on social media, then people will not forget you."

Father Sjoerd looks at it with satisfaction. "I am surprised how quickly you can start such an online store yourself. That makes the threshold very low to start." At the same time, it is a lesson: you are not alone with this plan. "You can read these things in economics books, but this is a much more fun way to learn."

Myra (11), Eldin (9) and father Mark Nierop made a digital escape room

Couldn't they make the escape room that the Nierop family had done over the weekend? The plan for Escape Quarantine was born from that idea. Father Mark, an entrepreneur himself, helped the children set up the company for half an hour every day. "Actually I taught them to work agile, by working in short sprints. Then they can also keep their concentration," he laughs.

Together, the family came up with the name and built a simple website. Myra and Eldin then made the puzzles that people had to solve in their escape room. "I enjoyed doing that, but I also enjoyed brainstorming," says Eldin. "You can think of many things at the same time and then it goes very quickly."

"If you do it in small steps, it will automatically become a very large project." Mark Nierop, father of Myra and Eldin

A small setback came when the escape room was just finished: the schools reopened, so there was less time to play. "But I told about it in my class and people said they were going to download it," says Eldin proudly.

If you like the escape room, you can make a donation at the end. "Half of the money goes to corona research," says Myra. No money has yet been received. "That wasn't necessarily the goal," says Mark. What he mainly wants to give his children is that it is not difficult to start. "If you do it in small steps, it will automatically become a very large project."