This piece was originally featured in the BC Business Peer to Peer column on December 15, 2015.
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.