2021: The Year of the Young Entrepreneur

In the time of COVID-19, the unheard victims are those entering the jobs market or hoping to build a career. The loss of life is tragic and deserves to dominate the headlines. Yet, we should not ignore the longer-term consequences to the confidence of our young people. 16 to 24-year-olds are the most likely to lose their job or be made redundant. It is also impossible for those fresh out of university to find a position. It is hard to win that first step on the ladder in the best of times, and these are not those times.

Confidence lost?

It is not the immediate impact of the job losses, furlough and periods of unemployment that are of most concern. Financial difficulties can be patched over with short-term initiatives and funding. More problematic is the loss of confidence and self-belief in young people. Just at the time when they are seeking to find their way, a barrier the likes of nothing we have seen before.

While the younger generation is repeatedly criticised for being the snowflake generation, it underestimates their sensitivity and passion.

As a 23-year-old entrepreneur, I know something about overcoming issues of confidence. From a background of bullying, I emerged as a businessman. At the age of just 18, I set up Harvey Morton Digital, specialising in creating websites and offering social media management.

As a former Youth Employment UK Ambassador of the Year, I worked with others, helping them with the launch of their business. My solution to this period of turbulence is creativity and innovation and now, I believe 2021 is the year of the young entrepreneur who are tech savvy, creative and with plenty of time of their hands. I reckon will see some incredible ideas from young people who have been forced into a corner and encouraged to think of new ways to survive.

How to innovate and create

So, if living in the time of COVID requires innovation and creativity, how can a young person emerge as an entrepreneur. Here are my top tips to get your started:

  1. Financing: I financed my first business with a £25 start-up loan from a school enterprise competition. While this might not be enough for someone hoping to establish a company today, it shows what can be done with a small amount. The Prince's Trust offers help to young people looking to "Start Something", and there are grants available to those with a sound idea and a developed plan.
  2. Creativity, focus, and flexibility: To set up a business takes the right sort of character. Young people need to demonstrate the qualities that make successful businesspeople. First, they need an idea, and it needs to be a good one, and it should be something that fills them with passion.  Research is essential but taking a risk and giving it a go is also vital too. However, once started, the young entrepreneur needs to show incredible focus and be prepared to pivot should events require it.
  3. Self-belief and self-care: I know, more than most, that self-belief is more challenging to find than a unicorn. It is not something that someone can summon up at will. However, taking risks requires bravery and self-belief comes from noticing successes. While young people are showing courage, they should also commit to looking after themselves. Programming a working week will lead to more success in the end.
  4. Upskill: Finally have a continuous desire to learn. If young people commit to learning something new via free online courses, eBooks, and webinars, there is much they can add to their portfolio. In short, the young businessperson needs to set aside blocks of time when they commit to getting better at their chosen field.

The Takeaway

It might be a difficult time for young people but with challenge comes opportunity. Young people have technical expertise, creativity, and the time to make something special happen. 16 to 24-year-olds might have a reputation for being snowflakes, but there is resilience, patience, and determination enough to build an enterprise and thrive.