It may be hard to imagine for some, but there are some teens who are leaving school (or still in it) and are changing the world. This new generation of entrepreneurs who are utilising their skills in technology, education, finance, media and science, has become less of a surprising change than the public admittance of global warming.
When most students reach the age of sixteen, they now have the option of leaving school which used to be a highly stigmatised career path. However, now when hear of teens dropping out of highschool it is usually because they are encouraged to pursue a career in either startup/entrepreneurship, sport, or the arts. And although this may sound like a great way to start a professional career (for some), if executed poorly, can result in lifelong setbacks.
For those readers who are keen to be up-to-date with the latest hotshot entrepreneurs, you are probably familiar with the Forbes 30 Under 30; and for those that are not, go and have a look. Recorded under these industries are the names of those “entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers” that are putting their youth and creativity to the ultimate test. But one must ask how each of these people listed have earned the credibility, experience and respect within only five years (give or take a few) of graduating school or university. And simply put, they are pioneers of our generation.
For Gen Z, nothing is out of the picture. They have surpassed their previous generation and parents, simultaneously fixing their problems and creating new ones. They are more educated, more productive (some would disagree), healthier and more connected than a dial up telephone could ever be, and with this comes their own expectation to reshape the world to their liking.
However, being a young entrepreneur encompasses many lessons that cannot be taught in school or in a textbook…something that a lot of teens seem to appreciate. The entrepreneurial instinct/lifestyle is not for the light-hearted or for the naive. The ‘hustle’ is real – meetings, product design, patenting, motivation, financial and human capital, family, and research – there is no idling. The playground environment has become more hostile and less forgiving, only the fittest and most innovative survive.
So before any of you (teens or parents or concerned citizens) go and reflect on this article by saying – “It’s best to play it safe and graduate” or “Yeah I have the entrepreneurial skill to be on the 30 Under 30” – think about the opportunities and reality of your ideas. Remembering that you only have one shot to make your mark, don’t forget that everyone, no matter the level of education, has to start from square one.