Peer to peer: Young entrepreneurs are key to future success

Is youth entrepreneurship important for my business? Should I support it?

From left, Punit Dhillon, Kevin Parenteau, Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber   

Punit Dhillon - Co-founder, Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL)

Young leaders are hustling. They’re curious, smart and looking to leave a mark on our society through how they choose to do business and where they spend their professional manpower. Working in the biotech industry, I see many of these young minds attracted to entrepreneurism – making lofty plans to affect society and make the future a better place. All leaders should embrace this type of thinking, because it’s the kind of entrepreneurial mindset that will drive innovation inside and outside a company.

By encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit, a business and employer will see returns through three key elements:

• Creative thinking. An increase in creative and critical thinking will bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to the operations of your business.

• Job satisfaction. An employee encouraged to pursue his or her entrepreneurial vision is a happier employee. Giving young entrepreneurs room to grow and act autonomously will increase production and improve corporate culture.

• Employee retention. This may seem counterintuitive, as entrepreneurs tend to branch off into their own business. Some may love the idea of running a business but don’t want the risk it comes with. These young leaders will apply their skills and entrepreneurial thinking inside the walls of your organization. As for the few who leave to start their own ventures, you will likely have gained a strong ally by having supported their vision along the way.

Kevin Parenteau - President, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Vancouver

Entrepreneurship provides youth with an avenue of opportunity and a means of identifying and achieving potential for growth.

It is staggering to think that by 2030, millennials are expected to make up 75% of the global workforce. The opportunity to start a business, drive culture and be your own boss is appealing but is often the road less travelled when thinking about starting a professional career.

Many young professionals tend to be cautious when it comes to taking the entrepreneurial leap, although it is an important skill to foster.

A key means of encouraging the emerging generation of entrepreneurs is support.

That support stems from the community, mentor or investor partnerships and programs for proper skills training.

These factors were witnessed in action at Entrepreneuers’ Organization Vancouver’s Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards competition in November. Three young entrepreneurs with active business models described their entrepreneurial journey, their entrepreneurial way of thinking and the effect their business would have on our society.

It was an eye-opening and inspiring experience for established business leaders to see young talent, hear their journeys and witness dreams pursued.

Entrepreneurship is a valuable skill for youth, and the more we as a society lend support through creative thinking and mentorship, the more our society will benefit over time.

Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber - Managing director, The Next Big Thing

If you want to have anything to do with the future, yes, you should support youth entrepreneurship.

As youth entrepreneurial resources and programs expand on the Internet and on post-secondary campuses, the next generation’s ability to pursue entrepreneurship successfully is increasing dramatically. In North America alone, generation Z (25.9%) and the millennials (24.5%) represent approximately half of the total population – numbers that cannot be ignored by government or businesses.

It is young entrepreneurs who have driven successful innovations in business and technology in our recent past. Steve Jobs was only 21 when he started Apple Inc.; Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook at 20 and Marc Kielburger started Free the Children at the mere age of 12. Businesses need to see and realize the true value in youth entrepreneurship because it is a matter of when, not if, the next generation will lead economic activity, business ecosystems, employment growth and civic engagement.

It has been proven that youth engagement in entrepreneurship – as entrepreneurs or as employees in startups – has a significant multiplier effect. It resonates across the economy, from business growth and investment activity to valuable connections between generations and sectors. Young disruptors, doers and innovators are our future leaders. Supporting them is a good business practice to ensure our next generation of leaders is set up for success.