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How to encourage more entrepreneurs at an early age?

The new startups are led by young people with great ambition, a great wealth of technological tools, a lack of fear to make purchases and transactions online and an appetite to go where few have gone.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In recent years, the number of people who have made the decision to undertake has grown exponentially. It is increasingly common for young people and adults to leave their aspirational job and start their own business.

Job insecurity, the absence of opportunities for growth and the accessibility to technological enterprises from home, have been fundamental in the emergence of this new reality.

The Global Entrepreneurship 2019 found that the average age to start a business is between 25 and 44 years old. In our country, 52% of entrepreneurs are under 34 years old and 19% are between 18 and 25 years old. A growing percentage.

In 2020, a year marked by the pandemic derived from COVID-19, the number of girls and boys who sought training courses to enhance their knowledge to undertake doubled. In fact, this led to different specialized academies incorporating services aimed at minors in their portfolio.

The new startups are led by young people with great ambition, a great wealth of technological tools, a lack of fear to make purchases and transactions online and an appetite to go where few have gone. Until now.  

It is no secret that new entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the forced digital inclusion that the pandemic produced, starting retail e-commerce businesses, dropshipping, online training and tutoring, delivery services, digital marketing, creative services and content creation. Online education, electronic commerce, food and digital services on demand, are sectors that have allowed the youngest to invest with low investment amounts. Some undertake alone and others together with brothers, cousins and friends.

It is predictable that in the coming years the trend will strengthen and countless young people of no more than 15 years will venture into this digital business world and offer products and services that will change the course of their communities. The question is: Are we ready to support and empower this new generation of entrepreneurs?

Governments must modify their vision and consequently their entrepreneurial promotion mechanisms. We need more and better programs so that these young people not only enter this ecosystem, but also continue their studies and have a solid foundation to support them.

The new generations have a greater degree of awareness that all formal education must necessarily be complemented with soft skills to excel and be successful in today's market. Sales, negotiation, financial education, public speaking, speaking on camera are some examples. In addition to basic business technology skills: mastery of social networks, video and image editing, use of online payment platforms, among others, are part of the most requested skills today for every young entrepreneur.

Although these skills are rarely part of formal education in an academic institution, the truth is that more and more parents are betting on teaching their children through the growing offer of online courses and digital workshops that exist for that purpose.

Since 2015, NextCEO LATAM, a Profitmakers initiative, has worked with more than 7,000 young entrepreneurs and children. In the last year alone, 3,800 boys joined the entrepreneurial community of the company I represent. These data give us to understand that now young people are not only interested in joining the labor market, but also want to follow in the footsteps of great CEOs such as Elon Musk, founder of Tesla or Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon.

NextCEO consists of a series of "digital camps" designed for young people to learn finance, leadership and entrepreneurship. Through programs lasting 6 to 12 weeks, the development of skills and an entrepreneurial mindset is encouraged at an early age. In addition, the movement connects small entrepreneurs and their parents with business leaders in various countries to inspire and share ideas.

We, as already established entrepreneurs, have the task of guiding the people who come before us, because having the know-how we have the responsibility to disseminate and replicate what we have learned so that the children who want to start become the future CEOs of large companies.

We need to promote an agenda so that local and national governments turn to see the youngest of the house and encourage them, because at the end of the day, the future of each country lies in them. How many entrepreneurial unicorns will be led by the boys who are currently in basic education?

Perhaps in less than a decade, we will be surprised to see that the course of our economy will be led by these guys who today are asking themselves: Why not?

* Samuel Salinas is CEO of Profitmakers