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Millennial Entrepreneurs

Tue, 31 January 2017

Contributed by Spinder Dhaliwal, author and academic.
Fast and furious, that’s the pace of enterprise for the young generation today. 
We are now seeing more and more young entrepreneurs appear in global Rich Lists and it’s worth noting the pace and direction of this movement and what sectors they are in.
Businesses owned by young entrepreneurs are diverse and include traditional businesses such as property and fashion as well as high tech businesses like apps and specialist websites. They’re young and they’re rich, young entrepreneurs are set to be the new “captains of industry”. 
The technology era has opened doors for budding entrepreneurs and enabled them to start-up businesses cheaply and quickly. You can start a business in less than 20 minutes online and some of these have grown to see enormous success and have made fortunes for their owners. Creativity and innovation play an important role in entrepreneurship. You need to be open to opportunities and also to create them.
There are enormous advantages to being a young entrepreneur, you have greater energy and motivation and you have less to lose. You do not have to make the decision to leave a highly paid, safe professional job, or to start a new venture with a mortgage or children to look after (in most cases). However, while you have more energy and creativity, unfortunately you lack experience and you may be less money savvy and you don’t always know your own strengths and weaknesses so you may be overconfident.  
There are many risks facing young entrepreneurs too, they are unlikely to have personal savings and may rely heavily on the bank of mum and dad and grandparents. Young entrepreneurs have to work really hard as it is unlikely that they have people to work for them so cannot delegate. It's vital for them to build networks and understand and use new technologies. In most cases, like many small business owners, they need to multi task as manager, salesperson, negotiator and so on.  
Young entrepreneurs today are lucky in that they grew up with new technologies and social media. This will benefit their businesses and are central to a lot of them. They have grown up in the web era and it is second nature to them.
What young entrepreneurs need is a mindset of faith and belief. They have to make things happen, not wait for them. They must create opportunities, not wait for opportunity to open up for them as the entrepreneurs below can testify to.
Kristian Else, 23, founded, a student accommodation review website. Melbourne born Kristian, like thousands of overseas students who come to study in the UK each year, was horrified with his accommodation. Living in substandard halls was a nightmare, but he had a University to settle into, assignments to complete and money to worry about as well as three years of undergraduate life to get through.  Frustrated, but not one to suffer in silence, he turned his problem into a business opportunity giving a voice to students so they can warn others of the reality of their private accommodation.
Key Lessons from Kristian include:
  • Turn your problems into business opportunities
  • Look for creative solutions to problems and help others
  • Write a strong business plan
  • Learn from experts
  • Don’t think too much – take action!
  • Be prepared to devote all your time to the business Be professional - Raise your game!
Conno Christou, 27, boasts the kind of life many high tech wanna be’s only dream of. His eventful business life has taken him from Cyprus to London to the US Silicon Valley and Athens.  He is part of a strong team initiated by four friends and culminating in their company Avocarrot, a network site for native advertising.  Avocarrot has also been recognised as 1 of the 8 best companies from Google for Entrepreneurs in a global competition and voted as the ‘Next Big Thing’ at the advertising technology conference ad:tech in 2013. They are set to take the world by storm.
Lessons from Conno include:
  • Get the right team
  • Enter Competitions
  • Get professional help
  • Develop networks and relationships
  • Think global
  • Always play your ‘A’ Game
Inspiration comes from the strangest of events.  It was to be the gruesome terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon that was the backdrop of an innovative new idea for Indian born entrepreneur Amit Pate, 28, who encapsulates the dreams of many international students. Forming a strong team, he came up with Snaptivity, developed from cutting edge technologies it takes the whole notion of photographs to a new level enabling you to find yourself in photos no matter who takes them, when or where.  
Tips from Amit include:
  • Learn while you work for others
  • Be alert to opportunities
  • Get inspiration from daily events
  • Innovate and exploit your opportunities
  • Respect your team
  • Persevere
These young entrepreneurs didn’t just dream about starting a business, they went for it. Many started small. They made mistakes, they lost money, they felt insecure but they grew from their experience. They surrounded themselves with strong networks, good mentors, and put in the time and effort to learn. They all work hard, some of them in traditional business, many of them in high tech businesses. They work long hours, are committed and mature for their age. They’re having fun building up businesses that make a difference, and that they can be proud of. Their futures are more promising as a result. 

About Spinder Dhaliwal 

Academic and author, Spinder Dhaliwal is a recognised expert in the field of entrepreneurship. She is a Reader in Entrepreneurship and Director of Postgraduate Programmes at the University of Westminster, UK. Spinder has taught entrepreneurship modules and programmes to undergraduates, postgraduates and executives both in the UK and internationally. Spinder has written extensively about entrepreneurship and her books include  The Millennial Millionaire, how young entrepreneurs turn dreams into business (Palgrave) and, Making a Fortune – Learning from the Asian Phenomenon (Capstone). 
The Millennial Millionaire is avaliable on Amazon.

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