The number of young people interested in entrepreneurship is on the rise.
According to a recent survey, over 25% of 18 to 25 year olds expressed interest in starting their own businesses. But today’s entrepreneurs are less taken with lining their pockets and more interested in creating change. Following in the footsteps of companies like Toms, young business starters are looking to create platforms that better the world around them.
Technology has created an atmosphere where it’s easy to start your own business. So easy, in fact, that the growing number of young entrepreneurs in this country is astounding. Since last year, the number of 16-25 year olds starting their own businesses has gone from 8% to a whopping 14%.
These numbers continue to increase as more and more young people are using the web to grow their enterprises. But the interesting trend is the nature of the businesses these young people are starting. Unlike previous decades, where people started their own companies in hopes of making loads of cash, the new trend seems to be starting a business to make a difference in the world.
Many of today’s entrepreneurs are using the internet to further their causes. They’re joining together with others to create solutions to the social problems that run rampant in our society. Instead of looking to increase their bank accounts, social entrepreneurs are trying to make our world a better place.
Ending Poverty Around the World
One such example is 33 year old Hugh Evans. Evans and his close friend Simon Moss started The Global Poverty Project in 2008. The initiative’s goal is to end living in extreme poverty within 25 years. Extreme poverty is defined as living on $1.25 or less a day, which is unfortunately common across the world. The platform seeks to raise awareness of this fact through campaigns and events.
Through events like the Global Citizen festival, Evans and Moss hope to raise enough awareness to inspire a commitment from the general public, businesses, and the government. Working through Global Citizen, which recruits people to learn about poverty and take action, the Global Poverty Project will further the involvement of people all over the planet.
Since its inception in 2012, Global Citizen has already grown by more than a million members. The Global Poverty Project works to promote Global Citizens and increase its effectiveness, and so far it’s done a great job. Learn how to become a Global Citizen through the Global Poverty Project.
Helping Teens Volunteer for Good Causes
Another inspiring example of social entrepreneurship is Simone Bernstein and her brother Jake. At the time of the startup, Simone was just 17 and her brother was 15. The two started an online platform for volunteer opportunities in St. Louis, MO.
The pair launched Volunteennation.org as an answer to the lack of volunteer resources for teenagers in the area. Simone wanted to devote her free time helping others but couldn’t find a centralized list of opportunities. So began Volunteennation.org. Just this year, the site was released on a national scale, creating a list for available work across the U.S.
Beyond volunteering, the site also offers a resource for community service-related grants and scholarships. The teens also recently created a Youth and Family Volunteer Fair in their area. Since VolunteenNation went live in March, it’s helped nearly 7,500 teens connect with opportunities in their hometowns. Find out about teen volunteering opportunities at VolunteenNation.
Fueling the Switch to Clean Energy
But social entrepreneurship isn’t just about helping people. Some want to make a difference in the environment, as well. Twenty-eight year old Will Byrne knows the importance of reducing the footprint we have on the environment and conserving energy. As a former organizer for the Obama campaign, Byrne knows how to unite people for a good cause.
He started the nonprofit organization Groundswell to encourage people to switch to clean energy. The project pools money and resources to offer clean energy alternatives, like wind and solar power, to consumers at affordable prices.
By improving the purchasing power for clean energy, Bryne hopes to make the switch easy for consumers. And it’s worked. The project has already helped 4,000 families and small businesses switch to clean energy, and it has saved more than $2 million.
Groundswell has organized 109 non-profit programs within the Baltimore and Washington, DC area, and the cause continues to grow. Learn more about empowering the clean energy switch with Groundswell.
Saving Our Coastal Habitats
Perhaps it’s simply a love for the natural world, or perhaps it’s feeling the call to repair the damage we’ve caused our planet. Whatever the reason, environmental stewardship is essential to the future of our planet and the human race, and many young entrepreneurs get into environmental friendliness from a young age.
For example, Kerstin Forsberg, 28, started Planeta Oceano in an effort to preserve coastal environments in Peru and other parts of the world. Tumbes, Peru, is known for being an epicenter of ecology, as it has 545 distinct species living in the water and along the coast.
Unfortunately, non-sustainable fishing, pollution, and waste dumping have caused issues for residents, human and otherwise. Forsberg’s Planeta Oceano works to conserve the environment through research, education, and awareness. By teaching sustainability, eco-friendliness, and raising awareness, the program hopes to change the way the communities in Tumbes and other precious coastal regions live.
Find out how you can help preserve our world’s coastal and marine habitats through Planeta Oceano.
Social Entrepreneurs Provide Hope for a Better Future
Seeing young people use their digital prowess to further these important social initiatives is inspiring. It’s far too easy to cast off millennials and younger generations as usurpers of the digital age.
Sure, children are pretty much born with a cell phone in their hands and a talent for using the internet, and often, parents complain about their kids’ lack of interest in reality and preoccupation with digital devices. But knowing many of these individuals go on to use their web talents to make the world a better place can help you get a clearer picture of the future.
The emerging generation of young entrepreneurs is about action and moving things forward, just like past age group. But the action is just done in a different way and for better causes. Instead of using their talents to make money, they’re using them to make changes.
Digital technology is a powerful tool for starting and driving positive action. Younger generations inherently know this. They know the internet can be used to bring people together, empower them to take action, and find the resources to carry out those movements. It’s encouraging to think we live in a world where children, although immersed in technology, are still very much aware of what’s going on around them.
In fact, the internet is part of what makes that possible in the first place. Young kids are using the web to find out what’s happening in our world and keep in touch with like-minded individuals all over the planet.
Knowing the future of the human race is in these innovative kids’ hands, and that they have the tools and desires to make real, important changes, is certainly a comforting thought.