The Millennial generation was dealt a bad hand since the great economic depression. Non-Governmental organizations such as The United Nations (UN) and various governments around the world have cited the lowest unemployment rates since the Great Recession. For this, reason most of the young people especially those of the Baby boomers generation have realized that the definition of a job has to change. To this effect, nearly all of the job and employment expansion being felt currently across various economies can be accounted for courtesy of alternative careers. Young people are increasingly getting involved in different alternative careers other than what can be considered as 9-5 jobs. The gig economy, Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) businesses as well as freelancing are becoming the new norm in employment solutions for the youth.
Reimagining what a job or a career is and how it is defined is leading to a new wave of small-scale entrepreneurship and business growth with promising new opportunities. This largely explains the emergence of the Gig economy. A Gig economy is an environment whereby people work in temporary positions as organizations and employer firms contract with temporary workers for short-time working contracts or engagements.
Over the years, the trend of white-collar full employment is getting redefined with more and more Millennials opting to contract employment instead of looking for permanent jobs. Low levels of available jobs have greatly contributed to the influx of young job seekers and entrepreneurs in the gig economy. In line with this observation, we can conclude that the trend towards the Gig economy has begun and is creating a remarkable change creation of employment for the youth. According to a Study by Intuit, About 40 percent of young American workers will be independent contractors and freelancers by 2020. This reflects the shifting business and cultural business environment especially the perception of what it means to be employed to the young people.
There are some factors that have largely contributed to the rise of the Gig economy and short-term jobs such as the rise of the digital age, also known as the millennial generation. Worldwide, the workforce is becoming increasingly mobile with the use of digital gadgets such as phones and computers. This means work can be done from anywhere, a factor which largely decouples work from the location. The digital age is becoming more interested in flexible jobs whereby an individual can work from the comfort of their home, another factor which contributes in a big way to the development of the Gig economy. Due to the digitization of payment transactions, it is also becoming easier for individuals to work from the comfort of their homes and receive payment directly to their mobile phones. It is also easier to transact business through mobile phone money transfers, another factor that has contributed to the rise of the Gig economy.
Entrepreneurship is the best answer to youth unemployment. Currently, there are more than 358 million young people around the world that are unemployed and not undergoing any training, according to the United Nations. This is more than the populations of USA and Canada combined, which shows the seriousness of the unemployment problem. Entrepreneurship plays a crucial role in providing opportunities and job creation in solving the seemingly intractable problem of youth unemployment. An annual Job Creation Survey carried out by the World Economic Forum this year shows that hiring plans by entrepreneurs outpace most of the employers in the job market including governments. The survey indicates that in 2015, 47% of entrepreneurs across the world have plans to expand their workforce compared to large corporations which had plans to expand their workforce by a paltry 295%. This means that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship have the potential to greatly impact on employment rates. Entrepreneurship has proved to be a good alternative to employment. Young people are increasingly embracing the idea of starting and running their businesses rather than looking for formal employment. The self-employment ambitions are particularly strong in developing markets especially in countries that have embraced empowerment for the young people such as China. Governments and Youth empowerment organizations should provide young people with a conducive environment and financial support to help them to establish their businesses. Governments can also provide incentives such as reduced taxes to the young entrepreneurs to help them establish their businesses with ease.
Technology and Its Role in Entrepreneurship
Technology is evolving and advancing almost by the day with numerous developments affecting Entrepreneurship. For instance, in the field of Information Technology, fundamental changes have cropped up in the recent years. One Such change is the emergence of the Internet. The Internet provided a whole new level and platform for advertising and sourcing for ideas to entrepreneurs. Today, a considerable percentage of customers purchase commodities online through the Internet. This poses a great deal changer in entrepreneurship whereby businesses are forced to advertise online as well as operate online selling of their products to keep up with the competition. This scenario showcases the deep and strong role of technology in modern day entrepreneurship. Today, entrepreneurs have to cope with technology to stay afloat in their areas and keep up with competition, failure to which their businesses collapse and perish.
Policies and Practices for Encouraging Youth Entrepreneurship
Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations worldwide have the responsibility to formulate and implement policies and practices that are vital in encouraging and developing youth entrepreneurship. However this may sound simple, it will require extensive cooperation and political will to achieve. Non-Governmental Organizations also need strong dedication on their part, if this fete is to be achieved. All policymakers involved in developing policies and enforcing practices to oversee better and increased youth entrepreneurship should introduce training on entrepreneurship in training Institutions to help the youth gain entrepreneurial skills. They should also increase funding to entrepreneurial studies to support entrepreneurial curriculum and professional development and to evaluate program results. It is also necessary for governments to adopt global standards for youth entrepreneurial education.
After providing the necessary entrepreneurial education to the youth to enable them to establish their businesses, it is also vital to provide mentorship and guidance to the young entrepreneurs to help them to establish their goals and objectives in their businesses. This ensures that the young people do not get lost in lack of vision for their businesses and subsequent failure of their businesses. It is also necessary that the governments and concerned organizations provide funding regarding loans to the young entrepreneurs to help them to establish their businesses. Provision of incentives such as reduced taxes and allocation of building spaces for the small businesses of young entrepreneur also comes in handy in helping the young entrepreneurs to establish their businesses. It also would be a major boost to the young entrepreneurs if the governments provided free and strong internet connection which is a major ingredient in today's businesses.
Examples of Successful Youth Entrepreneurs
Mathew Charles Mullenweg
Mathew Charles Mullenweg, famously known as 'Matt' is an American Web developer and Social Media online entrepreneur. He is famously known for developing WordPress, an open source, and free web software. Matt developed WordPress at the age of 19 years as a freshman at the University of Houston. Currently, WordPress is managed by the WordPress Foundation. In 2004 at the age of 20, he co-founded the Global Multimedia Protocols Group (GMPG) with Tantek Celik and Erick Meyer. Currently, Matt has a Net Worth of $40 million, and WordPress is the most popular blogging platform worldwide. According to Matt, he developed WordPress after recognizing the challenges that bloggers faced each day with frustrating limitations in blogging. Today, Millions of blogs are opened daily with WordPress. Definitely, Matt Mullenweg is a Successful youth entrepreneur.
David Karp is an American entrepreneur and Web developer. He founded the blogging platform, Tumblr, in 2006 which had gained 75, 000 users within its first two weeks of service posing as a force to reckon with on the blogging platform. According to Forbes, Tumblr is currently valued at $800 million, and Karp's net worth is more than $200 million. Before developing Tumblr, Karp was working as a Software consultant. Tumblr emphasizes customization to its users and ease of use, features that have made it quite popular among many people worldwide. Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo! In 2013 at the cost of $1.1 billion. As of November 2017, Tumblr was hosting over 375 million blogs, which makes David Karp a successful youth entrepreneur.
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