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Equipping Generation Z for an entrepreneurial future

June 14, 2018

Small businesses are the backbone of the modern economy, and today’s youngest generation has noticed. Studies of Generation Z reveal a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Furthermore, Gen Zers’ parents are encouraging skill development that’s important for entrepreneurship. More than half of high schoolers report that their parents are pushing them to get professional experience outside the classroom. Having real-world experiences early on can better prepare you to establish and run your own business later.

There are many skills and qualities that are required to thrive as an entrepreneur, including communication, financial management, strategy development, and relationship-building skills. Generation Z’s business-owning hopefuls shouldn’t kid themselves — becoming an entrepreneur is pursuing a difficult path. Luckily, various educational programs and resources can help provide Gen Z’s prospective founders with the knowledge, experience, and motivation they need to be successful.

Campers Are Creating Business Pitches

Summer camps have been around for years, and the best ones prove to be the highlight of many young people’s lives. Educational summer camps and programs now allow young people to explore entrepreneurial or academic programs they don’t have time for during the busy school year.

Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs, for example, offers a two-week immersive business school experience on a college campus, where students are able to work with mentors and attend lectures and workshops. Participants also learn the ins and outs of developing their own personal brand, and they get to participate in a challenge similar to “Shark Tank,” where they deliver a sales pitch to potential “investors.”

Camps provide young people with the opportunity to explore various topics and determine whether they’re truly interested in them before they commit to pursuing them as a career. Plus, camp experiences are great to add to résumés or discuss in job interviews.

University Entrepreneurship Programs Are Providing Mentors and Connections

The last few decades have seen substantial growth in university entrepreneurship programs. Many of these programs have developed experiential aspects that allow aspiring entrepreneurs to test business ideas in an academic setting — without the weighty fear of real-world failure.

The UMSL Accelerate Program is one such initiative that helps foster entrepreneurship and innovative thinking inside and outside the classroom. The program focuses on bringing concepts from mind to market by giving students the resources, classes, and mentors they need to create innovative products and services.

Startups need a well-rounded team to succeed, and a university setting includes people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Having close proximity to potential collaborators is just one perk a university campus can provide a budding entrepreneur.

Social Platforms Are Engaging Entrepreneurs

Social platforms have become ingrained in our lives, and some of them provide a great way to share the excitement of the entrepreneurial spirit with the next generation. Entrepreneur Network began as a newsletter and has grown into a significant media brand. It tells the stories of businesses and the people behind them, and its audience encompasses more than 3 million print readers, 14 million unique visitors online, and 11 million followers from various social media platforms.

Sharing entrepreneurial stories via blogs, videos, or social media engages more people in the entrepreneurial sphere and teaches them how to get involved and start their own journey. There’s a great deal to be learned from other people’s entrepreneurial paths.

Educational Resources Are Going Digital

The internet has always been this generation’s go-to source for information, so Gen Z’s aspiring entrepreneurs will be glad to know that startup communities are placing more resources and entrepreneurial advice online. For example, the Google for Entrepreneurs site offers video classes with experts from various industries, such as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Meanwhile, Codecademy provides free interactive programming classes online, and many business leaders post talks offering advice on YouTube.

Some members of Generation Z may be hesitant to commit to a four-year degree, but if they do, they’ll benefit from what universities have to offer entrepreneurial hopefuls. For those who want a less traditional path, there are many non-college programs available to help them grow into entrepreneurs influencing the next wave of innovation. However Gen Zers go about it, the educational resources exist to equip them for their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Serenity Gibbons is the local lead for NAACP in Northern California with a mission is to ensure economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

By Serenity Gibbons

Source: Forbes

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