Thursday 7 March 2019 9:04 am

If Kylie Jenner can be an entrepreneurial superstar, so can the rest of Generation Z

Emma Jones is founder of small business support network Enterprise Nation

Generation Z are the most entrepreneurial age group, according to recent research.

While we all thought that millennials were the trailblazers in terms of entrepreneurship, today’s 16-24-year-olds knock them out of the park.

And they are 20 per cent more likely to want to start a business than their parents.

What’s even more interesting is the barriers they are pushing aside.

While millennials will tell you that they want to start a business because they want a change or more freedom, Generation Z haven’t had a job yet. They don’t need to escape the grind. They want to do it because they’ve seen successful and positive role models – and they think it’s normal.

This is the week that Kylie Jenner was named the youngest self-made billionaire at the age of 21, after all.

At Enterprise Nation, we may not have many reality TV influencers, but we are well aware of what Generation Z superstars can do.

Tilly Nelson gave up a solid job in photography to set up her own portrait business in Tooting at the end of January. She’s 24, and said she knew that she wanted to start a business – she’d watched Ted Talks and positive role models online, and felt that it was inevitable. She decided to just go for it before kids and a mortgage got in the way.

Temi Onifade, who is 20 and from Enfield, is taking the other familiar route we’ve been observing for a while: the side hustle. He’s working four days a week as a concierge while building his natural sports drink business Maximite on the other three days left to him.

There are no rules. To take the Nike slogan, these young people just do it, learning and gathering information from the internet.

It’s fitting that we’re talking about this trend the week before the world wide web celebrates its thirtieth anniversary – the internet changed our career aspirations in a generation. But sadly, the support and guidance out there has failed to evolve at the same rate.

And so today Enterprise Nation is launching our Next Generation Start Something campaign. We will be offering free support and a pledge to help 10,000 young people with the skills required to take an initial idea through to a small business, including modules on marketing, business planning, and finance.

Run in conjunction with the youth enterprise charity the Enterprise Trust and leading challenger bank TSB, the training is being delivered through practical free workshops and mentoring across London.

This generation is changing our notion of a normal career path.

While we’ve had plenty of time to get our head around the Office for National Statistics figure that we will have an average of 11 jobs in our lifetime, will this be the generation that sees five jobs, five side hustles, and two businesses, washed down with a couple of years of self-employment as the norm?

If they’re opening our minds up to the possibilities, just imagine the message that they are sending to future generations.

It’s up to those of us with experience and resources to ensure that we don’t squander this enthusiasm and opportunity – that’s why we’re working to develop the support network that Generation Z will need to get to the next level, including fostering confidence and resilience as well as technical business skills.

After all, if Kylie Jenner can do it….


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