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Why Gen Z Is More Entrepreneurial Than Gen Y

February 29, 2016

11:00 am

Gen Y or the notorious Millennials used to be called the most entrepreneurial generation ever. Yet, it’s time for them to move on and give room to Gen Z – the estimated 60 millions of the first “digital natives”, who are young, brazen and already have the nerve to rattle the world.

Gen Z has never known the world without the Internet. They have 6-second-average attention spans and can’t live without their iPhones. At the same time, Gen Zs are deemed extremely hard working, realistic and mindful of the future.

According to a recent survey conducted among high school students, 72 percent of respondents named “entrepreneurship” as their preferred career choice. They want to be pioneers, instead of career settlers. Most of them are likely to succeed as unlike the millennials they are more jagged, realistic and learned early that good life requires hard work.

Here are a few more reasons why Gen Z is growing up with more entrepreneurship traits than Gen Y.

They Have Access to Better Resources

The online world is Gen Z second home. They’ve been entertained with educational apps since toddler age.  Thanks to the progressive and concerned Gen X parents, they spend their free time taking additional classes, doing internships, and being sent to tech camps for kids and teen for summers, instead of the usual lake trips. These youngsters have grown up knowing that they can learn to code an iPhone up in just one week, take any professional course online at Coursera, Khan Academy or directly from the Ivy League institution.

They have an endless world of education accessible straight from their bedrooms. Moreover, with the growing popularity of webinars and online workshops from industry experts, Gen Z can get highly practical advice and start building a business before even entering college.

They Have More Financial Support

The funding options were hard to seek a decade ago. Today, angel investors and venture capitalists both look into funding student projects and even create dedicated programs and incubators for the younger generation.

Think The Thiel Fellowship – a program offering a $100,000 award to 20 young entrepreneurs, who prefer to bypass college in favor of their business. The Hult Prize of $1 million is awarded to college entrepreneurs, who are willing to develop a company with a focus on social good. TiE Global offers an educational program and $10,000 business plan competition for students from any country and school.

These programs give Gen Z an opportunity to get mentorship, make professional connections and develop their business early on.

They Feel More Pressured by Parents

According to the same survey, 55 percent of modern high school students are under high pressure from their parents, who urge them to obtain professional experience early on. At what seems to be a tender age, they are actively encouraged to enter the corporate world and become interns.

However, while encouraging their kids to enter the corporate world early, most parents don’t offer any assistance with finding a placement. As a result, most Gen Zs grow to be independent, goal-driven, and proactive.  At the same time, they seek outside mentorship and successfully find it. Again, thank the Internet for offering unprecedented access to top talent. The people they admire and deem as role models are just one Tweet, email, or coaching session away.

They Are Encouraged by Big Name Companies and Educational Institutions

The Innovation Venture Fund offers regular seed funding to startups launched and developed by current NYU students. Columbia University has a dedicated summer program for high school students, who are interested in getting experience in venture planning, finance, nd product development.

Microsoft runs a regular summer internship program, eight to ten weeks long for high schoolers who are interested to meet with the minds behind Xbox 360 and Windows. Google nurtures young tech leaders with a comprehensive summer institute program, which is a combination of work, play and networking.

Corporations and educational establishments play together to create a stable talent pipeline by offering unique training opportunities to high school students/soon-to-be workers. Whether or not Gen Zs choose to climb the corporate ladder, it’s an excellent way for them to gain new skills, practical experience and connections.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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