The innocence of youth

I have had the pleasure last week of spending time with students and entrepreneurs in their late teens/early twenties (guest lecturing at the University of Brighton and supporting a client as a potential investor in a new business).  What struck me was how much energy and enthusiasm they had and how they are yet to become jaded by knock backs and the politics of the working environment.  They all want to change the world and I suspect some of them just might!

I like to think that I am up to speed with most new ideas, marketing channels and technologies but meeting these young adults made me feel old! (ok I am only in my early 50s but….) because their business ideas are making use of newer technologies and distribution channels – some that I am not that familiar with – and also because of their boundless energy!

It got me thinking about how and whether industry is really focused on recruiting these young adults into their business, identifying and meeting their specific needs and giving them the bandwidth to spread their wings.  Given that recruitment and retention still remains at the top of most business’ agenda, you would hope so.  You would also hope that this entrepreneurial thinking is not stifled by process and systems.  What this generation lacks in experience they make up for in ideas and enthusiasm.

Generation Z is the connected generation and their business ideas seem to really exploit this approach.  Social media isn’t a relatively new idea to them (like it is to me) but something they were born with and a natural part of their lives.  So social media is also an intrinsic part of their business ideas and how to engage with their target audiences.

If the students I met at the University of Brighton are anything to go by, Britain will continue its reputation as a nation of entrepreneurs but how will business utilise this resource?

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