The tech-savvy millennial entrepreneur offers a unique and often disruptive approach, says Rupa Ganatra, co-founder of Millennial 20/20
Entering the workforce during the 2008 financial crisis has made entrepreneurship more common among millennials and, in many cases, forced this generation to create their own jobs.
When leaving school, Randel Darby, founder of travel technology company Portr, found that there wasn’t any job security due to the uncertain economic climate. “That makes you think differently and your approach to risk changes. If doing a job that is OK, but not something you are passionate about, no longer gives you guaranteed income and learning, why stick it out when you could be doing something you love,” he says.
Millennials have also grown up in an era where technology is embedded in their DNA and they are not afraid of working and adapting in a fast-paced and ever-changing business environment.
Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of clean tech firm Pavegen, believes that “we’re well-accustomed to rapid change and therefore find adaptation easy in comparison to the previous generation”.
This environment has also meant that at early phases of their entrepreneurial journeys, these founders have become far more used to looking for innovative solutions to challenges and problems they face.
The non-stop millennial
Millennial entrepreneurs are also known as the 24/7 entrepreneurs. Due to the rise of social media, the requirements for self-branding like never before and the magnitude of online communications and tasks, millennial entrepreneurs never really stop.
“Whether it be scheduling interesting articles to tweet throughout the week in order to keep your audience engaged, penning relevant blog posts, or managing a team of like-minded people, downtime simply doesn’t exist,” says Ivan Mazour, CEO and founder of Ometria, a leading customer insight and marketing automation platform. “A millennial entrepreneur doesn’t balk at the idea of scheduling a Sunday morning Skype session, nor do they shy away from answering emails on holiday.”
From Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, millennial founders have also been known for some of the world’s most disruptive and innovative business models in existence and for changing the world as we know it.
Simon O’Kelly, founder of the Unsigned Music Awards, points out: “Millennial entrepreneurs are – on many occasions – looking to enter existing industries, which are held together by long-established business models and usually with a handful of seemingly immovable key players at the top. The job of a millennial entrepreneur is to disrupt this comfort zone and instil a new trust into an unsuspecting audience – fairly rapidly.”
In terms of work culture, Portr’s Darby attributes the team’s success in problem solving, creativity and collaboration in the workplace to “a very flat, non-heirarchical structure”, where the whole team sits together. He believes that this “encourages creativity and a sense of ownership for more junior members of the team, who are able to work directly with people at all levels of the business in shaping a better product”.
With millennial entrepreneurs who embrace change, face the fast-paced world of technology head-on and aren’t fearful of pushing boundaries, we are witnessing the rise of the most entrepreneurial generation in history.
The founders of Pavegen, Ometria, Portr, Unsigned Music Awards and many more millennial founders will be speaking at the Millennial 20/20 Summit on 13–14 April 2016. Click here for more details