Young entrepreneurs truly are the backbone of growing economies. We should be spending time and funds to invest in them and their ideas!
One town in Canada can attest to how young entrepreneurs are giving a major facelift to economies. Revelstoke in British Columbia saw a lot of changes starting 10 years ago with the opening of their ski resort called Mount Revelstoke. The entire town was basically living off of their winters when skiing enthusiasts would come for vacations. Yet some younger workers had zero interest in working at the resort. I couldn’t really see the appeal myself, either. So what else was there for them to do? How could they stay in the town they loved yet still make a living doing something they loved, too? Well, they had to make their own opportunities.
“There are a lot of younger people coming here who love the lifestyle and want to stay but maybe they don’t want to work at the mill or at the resort. If they want to stay, they have to make their own opportunities, and they tend to be pretty well educated and capable so it’s completely possible to do exactly that.”
As we all know, networking is key when it comes to starting up a business. The only problem that Revelstoke’s young businesspeople faced was the lack of time they had to put toward making contacts and growing connections that would last. But they found a way around that, too.
“So we don’t ever formally get together, but we have a different kind of networking that happens during after work bike rides or having a pint in the evening. It’s not formal, but it’s effective and we do discuss what’s happening with our businesses and what’s happening in town. It’s not like the Chamber of Commerce, which we belong to, by the way; it’s a lot less formal and it works because we all have similar lifestyles and concerns.”
It’s so important to follow your dreams, even if that means starting at a young age. Some of us know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives from a very young age. There’s a place for that younger crowd who find themselves interested in starting up businesses of their own one day. Young entrepreneurs may not know this, but there is a school that was built back in 2004 at the University of Rochester just for them. It’s called The Young Entrepreneurs Academy and it, quite literally, makes your dreams come true. How does it work? Any student in grades 6th through 12th can enter into the year-long program. There, they’ll learn how to generate ideas for businesses, how to write and pitch business plans, and ways to launch their own companies. Check out their mission plan:
Develop and deliver experience-based entrepreneurship programs to young people to:
- Enable them to transition successfully to adulthood;
- Help them to pursue their dreams by harnessing their creativity and energy;
- Help them transform their ideas into tangible enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world;
- Develop the character of tomorrow’s leaders based on personal principles and values;
- Enable educational institutions and Chambers of Commerce to provide successful and effective entrepreneurship programs for middle and high school students;
- Create a culture of innovation in schools and communities across the nation; and
- Foster the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, educators, and community members.
I wish I knew about this program back when I was in school! Can’t they make an exception and let a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom join? Even though it would likely be incredibly awkward for everyone involved? Probably not, but a girl can dream, right?