It was not too long ago that TIME Magazine criticized Millennials as “lazy, entitled narcissists” before delivering a backhanded compliment to billions of people who are classified in the loosely defined age bracket. Well, TIME Magazine is wrong. In fact, young people are primed to make massive change in the world, and people young and old are taking major steps to allow the next generation of leaders and innovators to have ample runway to take society to new heights.
As it stands well documented, there are many programs and many evangelists pushing the envelope in youth development, specifically the development of young entrepreneurship. Peter Thiel thought that some ideas just couldn’t wait for four years and decades of debt to be built, so he created the Thiel Fellowship, a program giving 20 people under 20 years old $100,000 and mentorship to drop out of school and innovate. Similarly, Enstitute started an apprenticeship program matching brilliant young minds to New York’s hottest startups in hopes of boosting young entrepreneurship in general and the careers of selected, highly promising individuals. What’s exciting to me is that there are an increasing number of programs like these popping up all over the world to promote youth innovation and acceleration.
As Millennials insert their opinions, actions, and life work in the fields of education, politics, civil rights, and social good throughout many areas in great need of disruption, it’s clear that Millennials are in fact up to a great deal of hard work. It is this hard work that has lead to the creation of some of today’s largest and most influential companies, movements, and communities, and like their lifecycle, they are only getting started.
A main reason for this push for impact and reason for existence is due to the struggles of the previous generation as well as the events that have shaped Millennials’ early lives. The problems our parents faced are ones we wish to avoid in our lifetime, and events like 9/11 or the global recession have proved great obstacles and even greater motivators in young entrepreneurship.
My post comes on the tail of one of the largest studies ever conducted about Millennials by corporate giant Telefonica. They go into depth after surveying over 12,000 Millennials to determine the major influences, motivators, and futures of young people. It is worth a good look and provides some amazing food for thought no matter how old you are.
I leave you with this: every generation has their own set of unique problems and their own way of coping and adapting to the issues of their time. However, due to a rapid increase in technology that makes it easier than ever to achieve instant global communication and production of actual economic value at an increasingly younger age, it is inevitable that young entrepreneurs, leaders, and trailblazers will be quickly leaving their mark on the world and making their voice heard in a big way.
Guest author Jared Kleinert is a 17-year-old tech entrepreneur who has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, and TechCrunch. He is currently the coauthor of an eye-opening book called “2 Billion Under 20” featuring stories from some of the world’s smartest and most talented people at or under 20; customer advocate for the enterprise software startup 15Five; and founder/CEO of Synergist. Jared has been invited to attend and speak at various events around the country focused on young entrepreneurship, social good, and lean startup methodology. He’s always available at jared@synergist and @jaredkleinert, so feel free to say hi!