The homeless youth of Cochabamba in Bolivia have taught me several things I never could have learned attending the university. Do you believe me when I say that? Because most people see them as trash, pests and without worth. But for me, these youths are strong, creative and intelligent. Even businessmen can learn a great deal from the street youth.
So what did I learn from these homeless youths? They taught me how to be street-smart, but also skills and knowledge that is essential for succeed in business and entrepreneurship.
First imagine the dangerous, hostile and stressful environment they live. They sleep under bridges. In garbage and dirt. They have no protection of four walls and a door to lock. Anytime, the police can show up, stealing from them, abusing them or raping the girls. When it rains, the few belonging they own slide down with the rain fall, leaving them cold and wet.
Would you manage to live in these conditions? No, we just have to admit, after living one or two nights in this environment most of us would be crying like a baby, and run back home to get comfort from our moms!
That being said, the street youth have developed coping skills and knowledge required to survive in this unpleasant environment. These are skills that people in the social society usually do not have. However, these skills and knowledge could be essential for succeeding for example with entrepreneurship, as being strong, and innovative, in terms of tough and hard times.
And not to mention, the street youths in Cochabamba are entrepreneurs. By washing windows of passing cars, they earn more per day than a professional do here in Bolivia.
These are the reasons why some of the biggest businesses in the world, use the coping skills, creativity and entrepreneur skills of street youths around the world for make their business grow. Nike and Swift are just two of many businesses that take advantage of experiences from the street. This is something we all could also do at a personal level. What do you think you could learn from the people living on the street? And how could you use it?