Our long-term economic health and ability to address social and environmental problems is based on our ability to innovate. Young adults possess a variety of innovator traits, ranging from creativity to a willingness to challenge the status quo, which offer a valuable source of untapped potential. There is research that suggests that our innovation potential begins to decline after the age of 24. It is critical that we tap into this innovation before it subsides.
Growing up in the digital age has also given young adults access to a wealth of information that has shaped their view of the world. They have inherited environmental and economic crises created by older generations. They’re mad. But they are ready to act. These young people setting up businesses or social enterprises represent a broader generational shift where young people are demanding change urgently.
By providing a safe space for students to experiment with entrepreneurial action, we can foster their innovative spirit and encourage them to leverage it to create business models that make the world a better place.
At the individual level, starting and running a successful enterprise brings higher living standards and better life chances, with more reliable access to healthcare and education for the entrepreneurs themselves. Productive youth are less susceptible to engagement in social unrest and conflict. A more vibrant business community, especially with relationships strengthened through mentoring, training and other support, builds social capital. Young people are empowered with renewed confidence and capability, financial, commercial and personal.
The well-developed and considered outputs of the Youth Impact project especially those on impact evaluation and evaluation of entrepreneurship activities to foster and facilitate growth are uniquely placed to help the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders (and stakeholders in that value chain) get the experience and support they need to take action to make the world a better place.