Throughout human history, young people have always had certain advantages: time, optimism, energy, and creativity. These days, young people like you are using those advantages to lead the way in entrepreneurship. You’re bright, ambitious, socially aware, and fully capable of running a company before you graduate from high school. You’re not waiting for an invitation to the table; you’re building a whole new table with seats for everyone. You’re Gen Z, and you are the future of business around the world.
YOU START SAVING MONEY EARLIER
By the time you graduate from high school, about 72% of you will already have a savings account. You’re less likely to rely on the government for student loans, which increases your chances of graduating from college debt-free or with lower debt than your Millennial predecessors. You’re growing up during the Great Recession and the student loan crisis and see the burden they’ve put on those who came before you.
Because of this, you’re able to understand the need to make your own money before you turn 18. That could be investing, starting a business, or working a side hustle. You’re incentivized to build your savings as much as possible so you graduate from college without having to spend your life paying off student loans.
YOU’RE SOCIALLY AWARE
You didn’t create the world’s problems, but you’re ready to solve them. While previous generations may have focused on the profit-making side of business, you know there’s more that needs to be done. Sometimes known as the “Socially Conscious” Generation, you feel the world’s problems more strongly than any generation before you. For you, these aren’t abstract inconveniences far away from you. Climate change isn’t the future; it’s right now, and you’re the ones feeling the most impact. Diversity in the workplace isn’t a goal, it’s a human right.
Here are just a few ways Gen Z is working positively to make the world better:
- Demanding improved access to healthcare
- Making sustainable choices and protecting the environment
- Focusing on racial equality
- Favoring gun control and immigrant rights
- Addressing mental health care in the workplace
Your innate sense of social issues is what’s driving businesses to focus on things other than profit. Thanks to you, workspaces are becoming more friendly toward work-life balance, better benefits, philanthropy, gender and racial equality, and being environmentally conscious.
YOU KNOW HOW TO USE TECHNOLOGY
No generation has grown up with as much technology and connectedness as you have. By the time a new social media platform goes mainstream, you’re already on it. Rather than being helped by your elders when it comes to getting things done, you’re the one leading the way.
The result? Unprecedented access to a global support network of like-minded young entrepreneurial peers. There are resources you can tap into that will help you start your own business. You have online social tools to connect with peers around the world and apps that make sure you take care of yourself.
YOU’RE READY TO TAKE CONTROL
The traditional path to business success is not for you. Why wait until you’ve graduated from college, started an entry-level job at the first company that hires you, and work your way up a corporate ladder that probably doesn’t speak to your dreams and goals? Why indeed, when you can forge your own path!
Young entrepreneurs like you are better suited than anyone else to reject the career ladders of your predecessors. The world’s problems won’t wait to be solved. Business as usual has proven to be useless, even damaging, to anyone who wants more out of life than just work. Enter you.
If something’s not working, you have the creativity to find a better way. If change is happening too slowly, you have the ambition to speed things up. And you’re always looking out for those who will come after you.
You don’t want to have to work three jobs after college just to survive. That’s why you’re taking control of your own future via smart financial decisions and entrepreneurial hustle right now.
YOU EMBRACE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
The path before you may not be clear to everyone else, but it’s crystal clear to you. You’re going to forge it yourself. You know there’ll be obstacles and detours on the way. You may not have every step planned or every problem accounted for, but you know what your destination looks like and you have the drive and brilliance to get there by any means necessary.
Non-traditional education is not weird or scary to you. It’s not a joke. You’re ready to learn everything you can about business, entrepreneurship, and finance right now. These might include adding classes to your high school curriculum, interning, the right extra-curriculars, or a pre-college summer program. Whatever it is, you’re on top of it. You know these things will give you every advantage you need before you turn 18.
YOU’RE ENTERING THE WORKFORCE SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
Millennials make up the largest generation this country has seen in a century. But Gen Z is coming up in the world. The oldest members of your generation are already in their mid-20s. That means they’ve been out of college and working for a few years already. (Some of them may even be married or have kids!) Businesses increasingly have to pay attention to the needs, desires, and demands of a younger workforce. Companies that want the best and brightest must make themselves appealing to a group of newcomers. And it seems like no one will miss the old ways of doing things!
There’s never been a better time to be young and ambitious. We’re so proud of the hard work you are doing to improve business, life, and the world around you. Keep it going!
Will you be one of the next recipients of a Kantner Foundation college scholarship? If you are a Florida high school entrepreneur, click here to learn more!