Our entrepreneurial downfall

Will Engstrom, Contributor

Courtesy of Getty Images/iStockphoto

What is wrong with us? There must be something we aren’t getting. Generation Z is continually scrutinized by society. Known for being impatient, unfocused, and heavily reliant on cellphones, this generation scares many adults. Many influential leaders have commented on the future of our world. Even Mark Cuban says that “generation Z is unpredictable; it’s really hard for me to see where our world is going.”

Generation Z is unpredictable; it’s really hard for me to see where our world is going”

— Mark Cuban

On the bright side, I think we can all agree that our generation looks much brighter than others think. Full of go-getters and people passionate about what they do, it should be a refreshing feeling knowing we are what’s to come.

With regards to business, thousands more students are continuing their careers by going to college. Over twenty million Americans attend college each year, and this number is on a steady rise. Seeing an increase of around 2% each year, Generation Z is packed full of smart, educated individuals. We’re constantly searching for internships, and often have to have a grasp on our career early. We don’t have as much time to “figure things out” as other generations did. Companies are looking for people with high quality skills and a passion for what they do.

With that said, our generation is lacking one major component: entrepreneurial spirit, a technical term for change. It is great entrepreneurs that brought us many of the commodities we have today. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk are all entrepreneurs that took a chance at what they believed in, but apparently, we don’t have these traits.

Our generation’s attributes are simply not correlated with the attributes of an entrepreneur. We want our things quick, we want time for leisure, and we would much rather have financial security over a big gamble. Pushed to follow rules and lock in on our electronics, the average person of Generation Z, or the screenager as some say, may hold back innovation.

As big companies get bigger, a secure job out of college into the corporate world seems most appealing to Generation Z. This, along with the eminent pressure of student debt, has forced us to become scared of the unknown. While education is at an all-time high, entrepreneurial studies is at a low point. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been the backbone of the American economy for years (Carland & Carland 2015), and with new businesses being accountable for almost all net new job creation, we may have a problem on our hands.

It’s the common business cycle that explains to us that every business is born, grows, then dies. As with jobs, this is a healthy thing for any economy. However, big businesses are distracting Generation Z from becoming entrepreneurs, and instead we are taking the bait and seeing affects already.

New products are declining. Sure, product lines are improving (meaning products are getting better, cheaper, etc.), but new ideas aren’t flowing through the economy like they used to.

All the while, we have every opportunity to turn this statistic around. Angel investors are out there looking for new ideas to grow and develop. Technology is growing at a rapid pace, a positive site on all fronts of innovation. Publicity costs are minimal, and citizens are forever looking for products that can improve the way they live.

The problem is change. Resistant to change, Generation Z is stubborn in that the risk is not a guarantee to pan out.

This is where education comes into play. It’s important for our teachers and professors to look to ignite the creativity of Generation Z and to push us to take risks and have confidence in our own abilities. We still have time, and it is crucial time where innovation is a daily task. Come on, Generation Z. Let’s start creating.