It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week…
I recently attended the Global Entrepreneurship Week, and it was one of the best events that I have been to as a young entrepreneur. This forum let us get ideas, for free I might add from some of the biggest names in the business world, and this was an eye-opener for me. Being young and an entrepreneur, you are faced with a lot of challenges and most time many will give up.
I almost gave up the idea that I had for developing an app that could help people with stages of breast cancer, but because I did not have the right amount of money, my plan almost stalled for a while.
Being a university graduate
I was about to quit this idea of mine and just look for a job, but when this GEW event happened, I knew that this was the opportunity that I had been waiting for all my life. The fact that I was hand picked to be there alongside other young brilliant, and innovative minds that have transcended the confines of society to come up with amazing ventures was just fantastic for me.
Sharing ideas among ourselves was the bets part actually, and this opened up our minds to even better things in the future. For most of the young people that we were there, there was one common problem that we all faced, and this was funding. Everyone seemed to have that problem when they were starting out but getting to listen to some of the best minds of our time opened up a lot for us.
I remember one of the top business executives in the country talking about how young people are innovative these days and mentioned me in person. He said that the fact that we are venturing into things that can help humanity move in the positive direction is what good business is all about. There are a lot of business ventures that are more profitable out there that I would have gone into, but I chose this field because I had a parent who had succumbed to this terrible disease.
It is sometimes funny the kind of tragedies that can happen for an idea to come into your head. He stressed the fact that a lot more young people are now open minded and do not have to wait for a job from the corporate firms and they are building their empires. He also urged the top business investors at the event to take note of the brilliance that was at the event and channel it into good use. He said that this is what they should be investing in and that is the future.
I was almost moved to tears, except for the fact that my dad raised me up tougher, so we only cry whenever we are cutting onions. You can’t begin to comprehend how happy I was just to be at that event and even if he wouldn’t have mentioned me, I would still walk out of that place with a big smile.
These are the sort of things that should be organized more so that the young and budding entrepreneurs who can’t get capital for their various ideas can get a platform to showcase what they have. I knew my project needed a lot of money but the fact that my name was mentioned, I had almost ten offers from investors by the end of the day. I have never been happier, and I am going to set up meetings to determine which one I will partner with to ensure that my business kicks off how I want it to.
I do not want to sell the idea as most were suggesting, but I will let someone buy a stake in it, and we will go into it as partners. This is where most youths lose focus as they are offered large sums of money for their ideas, and they just sell them. As I have learned from most of my mentors like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, don’t sell all your idea. I am so glad that the event concluded on a high note and that I am walking out of this place with a big smile on my face and ready to take on the business world with storm.
After visiting the GEW Global Entrepreneurship Week website
I spotted on the first page some interesting facts about starting your own business. What instantly caught my attention was the headline ‘Make a Job, don’t take a job’, on the home page of the website. I’m going to play devil’s advocate here – I would like to put to the debate both sides of the discussion around being a company creating the jobs and the person deciding whether to become an entrepreneur or work for someone else.
Some very interesting facts! The stark facts gave rise to the suggestion of how highly dependent a large percentage of people in the UK have become, adopting an automatic expectation that it is the responsibility of the bigger or more established companies/organizations (public and private sector) to create and grow and provide the actual physical jobs, instead of people actually sitting down and seriously thinking about what they could actually do for themselves.
The extremely hidden wealth of talent residing in the UK, if only given the encouragement, the right resources, and proper back-up to try something new and go it alone would create so much more independence, freedom, and flexibility, money earned, morale boosting pride to ordinary people.
The huge responsibility of a business owner/director of a growing company to take their business to the next stage where they’re able to create vacancies for people to work and take a monthly wage and sustain this is a tall order, especially in today’s climate. Only when you try running your own business, do you see the all the hurdles, hoops you have to jump through, the pit falls and stresses of growing a business do you understand what it entails?
At the same time, you need to experience the extreme highs, overwhelming excitement and unbelievable opportunities that come your way that would never happen if you worked for someone else. Then only do you realize the full extent of being in charge of your person, being financially independent, having the responsibility of making your important decisions that will take you on many different journeys.
It is also very necessary to be aware that running your business isn’t automatically for everyone neither does it suit every situation or everyone’s goals and dreams in life. The idea of being your boss and not having someone telling you what to do is wonderful, and it’s well known that once you’ve run your own business the sheer thought of working for someone else and taking orders is earth shatteringly horrid and not likely to happen!
From the GEW website it stated that:
- Young personalities (aged 18-24) are five times more likely to be jobless than starting their own business.
This is a sad fact that so much needs to change. Taken from ‘Headlines,’ Sheffield Hallam University‘s news magazine, Doug Richards (Dragons Den) hosted an entrepreneurial festival event with some of the students. He said that people aged around 22, 23 have far fewer responsibilities at that age, giving no reason why they shouldn’t try starting a business. A plain fact stated ‘So you start a business and it fails. So what? You can get a job and try something else’.
As mentioned earlier before 50% of the people asked want to start a there own business only 5.8% do, so what exactly is it that creates this barrier, an absolute no-go area to giving it a go?
- Why do we create, allow this attitude of ‘fear of trying something new or being different’ in our young people?
- Surely not all people unemployed have an attitude that it’s easier to stay on benefits than a start or try something new? A much larger percentage of people just hope to get on with life, make a living, enjoy and do well. So why not put their existing skills or new skills to the test?
- Are we all so blinkered to thinking that the only way forward is to get a job to earn the money to pay the bills, food on the table, petrol in the car and a roof over our heads?
- Are people not aware that when you take a job, you hit a ceiling of how much you can earn? Where as being an entrepreneur you can break through that glass ceiling and earn what you want if you work and strive hard enough?
- Is having a regular job that brings in the monthly wage into your bank account your comfort blanket that allows you to save for the yearly holiday and put money aside for other luxuries? In today’s climate does a regular safe job exist?
- Completely understandable if you have a family to provide for and look after, you need stable regular money coming into the household to keep everything afloat, but there are plenty of entrepreneurs that do this very well.
So what’s the secret and how do we change these misconceptions around starting a business?
There is and always will be a certain standard of living that everyone hopes to achieve. Everyone will have their description of their ideal standard of living which will differ from the next person’s idea. Is money always the main driver? What about the quality of life you hope to have? Does health come into the scenario, where you live, what car you drive, where your kids go to school, how often you get to go out for a beer and a takeaway meal, the number of times you treat yourself at the hair and beauty salon along with holidays abroad? Are there any of these on the list you’d be prepared to go without over a couple of years to start up your own business?
How hungry and enthusiastic are you to start your own business and get your ideas and vision into place? If you were given an opportunity to start your own business instead of facing unemployment and being dependent on state benefits would it make you choose?
As a rough example, if you are of age between 18 and 24, as mentioned above what’s stopping you from starting your own business as opposed to being unemployed? Do you think you’re so useless that you can’t use your existing skills or learn new skills to create your start-up?
So do we need an army of young people coming up through the ranks that are more forward thinking, independent, confident and capable of dealing with society in a more informed way and aware of the necessary pit falls and stresses along with the excitement and challenges, instead of a legacy of people who only know the existence of benefit dependency and a lot of lost hope?
We need to create a more adaptable, forward thinking, enthusiastic, flexible set of young people, who are more confident to stand on their own two feet, easily moveable to go where the work takes them, have the insatiable ‘get up and go’ spirit, which doesn’t necessarily need such dependency.