Recently an announcement was made for a movement called #FixYoungAmerica. I was immediately drawn to the movement by the title (great marketing). What I found was somewhat shocking.
The movement has a great idea behind it. Take young Americans and encourage them to take action and enter into entrepreneurship. Sounds like something I would be on board with immediately right? Wrong. There is one fundamental flaw in the movement. They want to FIX young Americans.
Young America is not broken. Everyday I meet 12-25 year old individuals who are already pursuing entrepreneurship. Look at the recent success stories in Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, ViSalus, etc. All of these were started by young Americans looking to create change. Now by no means do I think that as a country we are operating at full capacity or even coming close to our full potential, so here are my suggestions.
Provide Resources to Young People
Don’t try to FIX anything but instead devote more resources and policies to aiding young people in their transition to entrepreneurship. It all starts in education. Too many kids are taught that they should study hard, get good grades, go to a good college, take a job with security and benefits, and then work for 40 years to retire with a pension. What kind of aspirations is this?! Instead lets teach every kid to work hard in something that they are passionate about and try to improve the current products or services that are in the market. When they make these improvements each young person will be able to profit off them, along with creating jobs for others rather then trying to find them.
Mentors Are Essential
Stop complaining and start helping. We have so many successful entrepreneurs that have a wealth of knowledge. My philosophy is that knowledge is only valuable if you share it with others. Young entrepreneurs should be rewarded with great mentorship if they take the leap of faith to pursue projects, ideas, or companies. It is hard for a young person to risk everything they have to enter the unknown, so it is our duty to provide them with as much support and help as we can.
Young Entrepreneurs Need to Work Together
Young people understand each other. In order to make a true impact, these young enterepreneurs must come together and share ideas. “We are all more powerful when working together.” Imagine a world where each person in a given industry was connected through forums, texts, videos and email but was willing to openly share information to help improve others. Young people have grown up in a world of social responsibility so it is imperitive that they act on it. Plus lets be honest, young people love getting advice from other young successful people.
Overall, #FixYoungAmerica is a great idea and a step in the right direction. A solution-based approach is something that we are in dire need of. The only thing I hope to see is that there is less “fixing” of young america and more unleashing of it’s potential. Smart minds combined with the right resources and mentors can be a very dangerous combination. If you are a young person, what is holding you back from joining the game?
I would love to hear any other ideas on how to improve youth entrepreneurship or have anyone share stories of their personal experiences below!