THE BLOG

Young Entrepreneurs: Why I Find Hope Among Them

08/29/2013 12:00 pm 12:00:31 | Updated Oct 29, 2013

Young entrepreneurs bring something very special to the innovation market. What do you think that is? Is it their naïveté, their enthusiasm or their boundless energy? It is all of these things and more. When I meet up with these young entrepreneurs what strikes me most is their relentless pursuit. They are setting their sights high and looking to solve big problems -- undaunted by the enormity of the execution challenges ahead.

I recently had the opportunity to judge some of these young entrepreneurs and their companies through Empact Showcase. The companies are competing to be named one of the Empact 100 outstanding founders and companies. Empact is an organization that works with young entrepreneurs (under 35 years old) to help them scale their businesses. To enter the competition, the company must have a minimum of $100,000 in revenue. They are being evaluated based on year-over-year growth rates, size of market, revenue growth rates and impact on the market.

I was amazed at the quality of the businesses. These were not small start-ups looking to come up with the next cool app. Almost all the companies I screened were trying to address a point of major pain in the marketplace. While the final selections have not been made, let me say that the types of large-scale problems being addressed were ways to bring education to the billions who have no access to schools or other forms of education, tackling the complex communications between health care providers and patients, bringing solar energy to rural areas to light up their night for the first time and provide energy to produce clean water and cell phone connections. These young entrepreneurs are looking to not only be highly disruptive, but also to make a positive impact on the overall well-being of people within their reach.

Empact provides training and coaches to help young businesses scale. Not that all of them need it. Some of these businesses are already serving millions of people and have revenues greater than $10 million.

There are more groups for young entrepreneurs working to solve world problems; Singularity University has a 10-week course, for which, 80 students are selected from high performing students world-wide. The selected students and young entrepreneurs study the power of exponential growth in technologies and form companies with solutions to global problems that will affect 1 billion people in 10 years.

Another very progressive entrepreneurial program is Kairos Society. Founded five years ago by Ankur Jain as a student at Wharton, this organization brings students together with corporations to study innovation and start-up business.

Despite the concerns over the lack of jobs and the right people to fill them, I am totally energized by the vision and purpose these young entrepreneurs bring to the world. They have the drive that it takes to be successful entrepreneurs regardless of the many challenges that they will face. Let's give them all the support we can muster and continue to share our knowledge. They are the leaders of their generation. Our future is in their hands.