The gradual move into a digital age has added millions to the annual profits of large corporations, but increasingly it is also proving to be big business for start-ups run by bright and innovative young people with nothing to lose and everything to gain. The rise of social media has seen an influx of young entrepreneurs using this to their advantage to launch their start-ups to global audiences with increasing success. Young people are no longer accepting 9-5 jobs in the city as standard or 'aspirational'. Instead they're using knowing what young people want and need to their advantage to start digitally smart and forward-thinking businesses. The seemingly unbreakable digital network that's been built over the Internet between people under the age of 30 has no doubt sparked the minds of young people to start working for themselves and being self-sufficient, all working for the greater good of their pockets and the economy.
When I started my first business in 2011 there were only a handful of other young people that I knew of, that were self-employed. Most people were happy to get their degree and look for a job in the city that 'paid well'. But fast-forward to 2014, and it seems that young people have got smarter, savvier and more commercially aware. More interestingly they have become aware of the fact that major companies now need them more than ever in order to keep up with what's going on in the digital world and social media.
More noticeably, social media platforms like Instagram have created a whole new wave of businesses for young people. Scrolling down my timeline I can see a variety of businesses including; people re-selling second-hand designer items, sourcing brand new luxury items for clients, advertising their services as a personal shopper or remarkably getting sponsored by companies to advertise their products to their followers. You may not realize how lucrative Instagram and social media has become for people starting businesses but this can only be a good thing, especially for young people with limited resources and great ideas.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of self-employed young people has risen by 71,000 since the start of the economic crisis and this number is increasing year-on-year. The government initiative Start Up Loans has also opened the door to young people by providing them with funding with low interest rates to get their ideas off the ground, with more than 14,000 businesses backed since 2012.
Entrepreneurship however isn't something that I've noticed to be encouraged while moving through the university system in England. From speaking to fellow students and from my own personal experiences, there seems to be a constant thread of reinforcement to get a 'normal job' after your degree. Innovation and entrepreneurship seems to get ignored by the system that trains you to become marketable and desirable to the corporate world. Nonetheless, I still think that education is probably one of the most important things in solidifying yourself in the business world, it acts as an institution that opens the door to a world which you probably wouldn't have had access to otherwise. It's all goes hand-in-hand, but to succeed in business it depends greatly on how you use your education.
What's clear, however is that young people are smart and in 2014 they're smarter than they've ever been in business. With the opportunities and platforms given to them in this new digital age one can only sit back and wait to see who will be innovative enough to create a business with longevity and more interestingly what their bottom line will be.