The amount of startups founded by young entrepreneurs under the age of 20 is rapidly on the rise. The latest teenage generation are the first to have grown up with the internet, and with the ease of access when it comes to starting a business online, many bright entrepreneurs have emerged while still in their teens.
It is also more common place to see teens who have taught themselves code and are able to create innovative web apps due to the freedom they possess. As this generation has grown up along with social networks, they know how to leverage these. What may start out as hobby/after school project can turn into a real business.
But how do you survive as a real business when you are just seen as a kid?
As a teenager you are left with less responsibility. No kids, mortgage etc… (Well most of the time) to look after. The risks to consider for a ‘teenpreneur’ are much less in this sense.
Often a lot of the larger organisations that are more established, are seeing real competition from startups with young founders who are have grown up with a different way of thinking. As the world continues to change and the face of business changes as well, the mindset of the older organisations are different too those of the younger entrepreneurs and that is where the next generation of young entrepreneurs can gain a competitive advantage over larger corporations in older industries.
We as a younger generation take for granted much of what we see as being the norm, but in reality it is still very new. This is a new way of doing business, older generations grew up and learned a different way of business. As a younger generation comes through and spend ever increasing amounts of time online, businesses no matter what background are having to have an online presence, which may be more than just a website and actually have to offer their products & services online.
A big consideration when starting your company while still very young, is how are you supposed to be taken seriously as a young entrepreneur? It can be harder when getting loans or trying to work with suppliers and partners. How about when trying to get funding? It’s obviously a lot easier when you can show that your business is making money and your model is working, but it can often take a lot of attempts to get there (also having a co founder helps). This is where the power of networking and building strong relationships can help, especially within your own industry.
Entrepreneurs these days have a greater network to learn from than before. It is so easy for anyone to get online and find networking events they can attend or just interact with others who have been through it already. Social networks are the main facilitators of this. Places like Twitter & LinkedIn have allowed young entrepreneurs to compete with the corporate world as they have been able to build strong networks with other young entrepreneurs and also gain knowledge from many others young and old.
I think that young entrepreneurs are not seen to be as much of a pushover as maybe they were previously.
Many young entrepreneurs have made it in the past, just look at Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But I think it’s only now, with the emergence of the internet, that entrepreneurship has opened up for a lot of under 30’s to be able to take their ideas and go through with it. The barriers to entry are so much lower and the nature of many businesses have changed giving young entrepreneurs the advantage in many industries, except maybe manufacturing.
I think one aspect that is slowly changing is the acceptance of entrepreneurship as a viable career choice, especially when you are young and have no experience, but you have passion and an idea. Much of what we get taught in school is still a very old way of thinking. The education system can’t keep up with the way world and business is progressing and innovating.
Only now are universities offering entrepreneurship courses, but to be honest it’s not just offering a course at university. The entrepreneurial spirit is something you have inside you, it’s a way of thinking and it’s something you grow up with. What about before university, can we see that entrepreneurial spirit and let it flourish?
Starting your own business while still being young can be daunting, but surely it’s more daunting when you are older and potentially have more to lose. Big steps have definitely been made and with more media attention being put on the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, hopefully young entrepreneurs can make a bigger impact across many industries and not just in tech (online).