Schools mean busi­ness

Central Leader - - News -

En­cour­ag­ing young­sters to be­come fu­ture busi­ness lead­ers is Tony Falken­stein’s goal.

The en­tre­pre­neur, re­cently in­ducted into the Fair­fax Me­dia Busi­ness Hall of Fame, be­lieves study­ing busi­ness at school could set more New Zealan­ders on the path to suc­cess.

“If kids could learn about busi­ness ear­lier they could be bet­ter grad­u­ates and en­trepreneurs.”

He says chil­dren from low decile schools are even more likely to suc­ceed than their rich coun­ter­parts, be­cause they know what it’s like to strug­gle.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from One­hunga High School, Mr Falken­stein stud­ied ac­count­ing but re­alised his tal­ents lay in mar­ket­ing. Now the owner and chief ex­ec­u­tive of sev­eral com­pa­nies, he gave his old school a $300,000 do­na­tion to set up a busi­ness school in 2003.

“If we can teach busi­ness skills early, that’s the path to eco­nomic pros­per­ity,” he says.

“In New Zealand young peo­ple just don’t have fi­nan­cial skills. Fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy has been dumbed down and teach­ers see busi­ness as a nec­es­sary evil.”

Last year, Mr Falken­stein took 15 stu­dents from the busi­ness school to New York to take part in a case study.

“They dom­i­nated the case study. It made them re­alise they were bet­ter than other kids.”

Mr Falken­stein was one of eight new mem­bers in­ducted into the Fair­fax Me­dia Busi­ness Hall of Fame and says he was “stag­gered” by the award.

The Busi­ness Hall of Fame was launched in 1994 by the En­ter­prise New Zealand Trust.

Lead­ing light: En­tre­pre­neur Tony Falken­stein is now a mem­ber of the Busi­ness Hall of Fame.

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