By Oscar Wolfe
I was asked to be on a panel at an event about Gen Z leadership and entrepreneurship. At first I wasn’t so sure about it because I don’t normally think of myself an an entrepreneur. After all, this blog isn’t really for a profit. What I realized however, was that we had all had similar experiences and lessons to share. In fact, the event, Gen Z Takeover, made me even more confident in my motto, which also just so happens to be the Nike motto, just do it. It’s simple but it really is true. There’s no reason why a teenager can’t start something, whether it’s a dog walking business or the next Microsoft.
Gen Z Takeover was produced by Josh Miller, a teen entrepreneur himself. He started his own company in eighth grade called Deciding Edge, a Gen Z consulting firm. My fellow panelists were Ian Lim, a high school senior and founder and CEO of BlocVac, a medical records management that uses blockchain technology (whoa!), and Samantha Byun, a college freshman and founder of Bravura, a jewelry company dedicated to social change. The keynote speaker was none other than Ariana Feygin, who competed in MasterChef Junior Season 6.
We went over issues that teenage entrepreneurs face, like a lack of money, time, and experience. But we all agreed that these can be overcome with some work. For example, the only thing you absolutely have to spend money on when making a blog is a domain. Time is difficult, but there are 24 hours in a day. School takes 6 or 7. Cut Fortnite out of your schedule and you’ll be able to do whatever you want.
As for experience, there’s no way to get it except for doing it. And I’ve actually found that my young age can be an advantage. It’s a lot harder to say no to a 14 year old than it is to a 45 year old. What I also realized at this event is that there is a growing community of not only adults, but teens to help other teens create a business and make a difference in the world. Check out Josh’s website and also Ian started Generation.MN, a platform that helps student entrepreneurs build their ideas.
Starting a business at a young age is not only good thing to do with extra time, it’s a good business decision.