In a world where constant change and the need for sustainable solutions are more urgent than ever, young entrepreneurs emerge as the driving force behind innovation and progress — as demonstrated by the winners of EO’s 2023 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.
Such passionate individuals are not only disrupting industries but also making a significant impact on social and environmental issues. From tackling climate change to empowering underrepresented communities, their determination to create a better world is truly inspiring.
However, developing solutions and sponsoring comprehensive change takes time. As young entrepreneurs encounter challenges, we must support each other and those who will follow. We can foster an ecosystem that supports and uplifts young entrepreneurs by encouraging creativity, providing investment opportunities, and celebrating achievements.
Inspiring entrepreneurs from around the world
One remarkable young entrepreneur making waves in the field of sustainability is Alisha Fredriksson. Motivated by the alarming report from the United Nations on human-induced climate change, Fredriksson and her partner Roujia Wen co-founded Seabound. Their technology can potentially trap up to 95% of CO2 emissions from commercial ships, providing a cost-effective solution for reducing environmental impact in the shipping industry.
Another visionary entrepreneur in climate action is Alba Forns and her co-founder William Wiseman. Their mobile app, Climatize, empowers individuals to invest as little as US$5 in climate projects, many of which support marginalized communities. To date, Forns and Wiseman have amassed an impressive pipeline of US$155 million worth of projects, securing US$735,000 in funding from angel investors, government grants, and venture capital.
These young entrepreneurs demonstrate the incredible potential of the next generation to create positive change. However, their journeys are not without challenges. Starting a business and driving innovation requires resilience and perseverance. We must support and celebrate the efforts of young entrepreneurs every step of the way — as EO does with its GSEA series Start It Up on YouTube.
3 strategies to encourage young entrepreneurs
The following three strategies can help industry leaders, mentors, and teachers empower budding entrepreneurs as they seek to make our world a better place:
1. Promote creativity
To celebrate the work of young entrepreneurs, we must first encourage creativity and innovation. By fostering an environment that values new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking, we empower young entrepreneurs to push boundaries and develop groundbreaking solutions. Providing mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and access to resources can further nurture the entrepreneurial spirit.
Additionally, sharing setbacks, challenges, and, yes, even failures can help inspire others to persevere. Innovative solutions and creativity are learned skills — sharing your process with others can model effective practices that benefit young entrepreneurs.
2. Sponsor innovation
Creating investment opportunities is crucial in enabling young entrepreneurs to realize their visions. Access to funding, grants, and venture capital can significantly impact their ability to scale their businesses and make a broader impact. Establishing platforms that connect investors with young entrepreneurs and offering financial incentives can help bridge this gap.
Similarly, young entrepreneurs can help build connections within their community through networking events and social media. For new businesses, finding investors in your field enables greater opportunities.
3. Recognize their successes
Celebrating achievements, no matter how small, is vital. Recognizing and highlighting young entrepreneurs’ accomplishments boosts their confidence and inspires others to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
And it’s not just established entrepreneurs who need to celebrate others; for young entrepreneurs, it’s crucial to acknowledge early wins, company evolutions, and even the occasional failure! Through media coverage, awards, and recognition programs, we can ensure hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.
Young entrepreneurs are at the forefront of innovation and social impact. Their determination to create sustainable solutions reshapes industries and makes a tangible difference in the world. Let us embrace and celebrate the power of youth entrepreneurship as they take us into a better future!
Contributed to EO by Mike Szczesny, the owner and vice president of EDCO Awards & Specialties, a dedicated supplier of employee recognition products, branded merchandise and trophies and awards. Szczesny takes pride in EDCO’s ability to help companies go the extra mile in expressing gratitude and appreciation to their employees.