Next-Gen Entrepreneurs

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I recently had an opportunity to spend some time around a group of young people. It was very enlightening for me, because although they were very talented, they did not have the adult attention, guidance, and supervision needed to help them grow and develop in such a way that would allow them to maximize their gifts and abilities. Unfortunately, this is the plight of many of our youth today. So much of their talent goes unrealized, because they don’t have the right people in their lives to help pull the greatness out of them.

Personally, I consider myself more of a late bloomer as it relates to thinking entrepreneurially. Growing up I wish I had had someone to teach me the basics of entrepreneurship versus just telling me that best way to achieve success in life was to advance up the corporate ladder. If I only knew then what I know now about being able to create one’s destiny through entrepreneurship, the path I have taken might have been very different. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the experience, knowledge, and skills that I have been able to accumulate in corporate America; however, I definitely would have approached my career much differently.

This has led me to think creatively about possible ways to help our youth prepare a future that can have multiple paths to success, not just one. Here are some proactive steps that we can take to better prepare the next generation for a lifetime of success:

  1. More mentoring of our youth is needed in business, entrepreneurship, personal finances, and otherwise. These mentors should focus on helping our youth discover, develop, and maximize their gifts, abilities, and talents. They need to see the applications of skills that are both profitable and legal. They need to see positive role models that are making money and having a positive impact in their communities.
  2. Teach them what it means to be a true leader. Teach them how to apply leadership principles from a business and community perspective. Ethics along with social conscience must be at the center of these lessons.
  3. Develop them to be entrepreneurial thinkers. They need to learn to be problem-solvers, issue-resolvers, solutions-providers, and wealth-creaters. This will help to defeat the victim mentality that many of our youth have today. Learning to think like this is very important, because even if someone chooses to pursue a lifelong career in corporate America, they should still be entrepreneurial in their responsibilities and endeavors, providing a valuable return on (employee) investment to their organizations.
  4. Establish programs that can be integrated with their education that teaches entrepreneurial skills. If they cannot be integrated effectively in schools, then they must be community based. We need more thought leaders that can contribute innovative and creative ideas to the development of these types of programs.
  5. Help youth to start their own businesses. Current entrepreneurs should be on the forefront of this initiative, donating their time, talent, and resources to see that the next generation of entrepreneurs early on gets the knowledge, information, and other essentials needed to be successful in business and life. This will have positive economic and social benefits throughout the community.

If we look at various people groups around the world, and particularly in the U.S., part of their entrepreneurial success has been the fact that their businesses have been transferred generationally, allowing the next generation to continue to expand the wealth base that had already been created. African-Americans need to establish our own legacy of passing down profitable, successful businesses from one generation to the next in order to create generational wealth. We need to catch the vision and not just think about our own success, but of the future opportunities for success for our youth. Intentional action must be taken by those with the talent, resources, skills, and influence to position our youth to carry the mantle for generations to come, so that we will be able to realize the promise of the “latter house truly becoming greater than the former house” (Haggai 2:9, paraphrase).

Tags: , entrepreneur, leadership, youth entrepreneurship, youth ministry

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