Even the most motivated Millennials can hit a wall and find themselves facing failure from time to time. However, a recent study noted that many Millennials shy away from embracing and learning from failure.
The Next Gen Summit (NGS), ranked by Forbes as one of the five "can't-miss" conferences, hopes to eliminate that problem. The summit brings together Millennials from various fields, including those with science, political and business backgrounds, so they can learn from each other and help each other grow.
Young people who participate in the project have the opportunity to raise funds for their companies. During their last pitch competition, startups raised over a million dollars from investors. Many big names are placing their bets on these young people succeeding. In fact, a number of Fortune 500's, such as Uber and Verizon, are official sponsors of NGS.
"NGS gave me everything I was looking for; I got offered hundreds of thousands of dollars, and made friends for life. Best weekend ever," says Nick Mares, the founder of Kettle & Fire, a multimillion-dollar company advised by Mark Cuban.
The conference itself can thank two young Millennials for its inception. The founders of NGS, Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, are both only 19 years old.
"Next Gen Summit operates on the fundamental belief that young entrepreneurs have the potential to change the world and solve problems like never before, but only if they're provided the resources needed. That's where we come in," said the duo.
Lafazan laid out the foundation for NGS: "We break the mold by encouraging collaboration," he said. "Young startups need resources to survive, like investment, social capital and more. We curate a helpful audience and activities that foster this collaboration."
"NGS is not just for startups," Lafazan went on. "At a previous summit, Ann Makosinski, FlashlightGirl inventor, who was listed in Time Magazine's 25U20, was interacting with Saira Blaire, the country's youngest elected official, a delegate from WVU who was elected at 18."
"We run these proprietary networking activities that help attendees work together; networking over beer pong (usually water pong for those underage)," he continued.
Keynote speakers for the next conference include Amanda Bradford, founder of the famous dating app The League; Jacob Goodman, founder of Fresh Prints, who sold his first million-dollar company at 22; Patrick Ambron, a co-founder of Brand Yourself, who turned down a record $2 million investment on Shark Tank; and Gerard Adams, a co-founder of Elite Daily, which he later sold for $50 million to the Daily Mail.
"I'm either going to speak about bootstrapping, finding hidden value, or why I think there's value to being a student entrepreneur rather than dropping out of school or college, and what Fresh Prints is doing to prove that," said Goodman, who looks forward to speaking at the next convention.
He also praised the Millennials who participated in the group. "I've never seen a group of people this young with such high concentration of talent. It's extremely inspiring, and I think raises the bar for each individual member of NGS," he said.
According to Lafazan, NGS offers participants a variety of valuable resources. Some startups need introductions to potential investors. Investors, in turn, need help finding the product that's perfect for them. Many startups also require user feedback for their product.
Lafazan says Next Gen is poised to grow tenfold this year. Last year, Capital Factory and 1517 Fund, helmed by Thiel Fellowship director Danielle Strachman and her partner Michael Gibson, were prominent angel investors.
This year, the staple investment panel, with $100 million of investable assets, is ready to put cash into bright minds and innovative startups. These transactions will all be happening live during the event. The investors will be announced next month.
In addition, admissions directors from the top colleges in America, founders of billion-dollar brands, lawyers, accountants and marketers will serve as on-the-spot mentors. Furthermore, reporters from industry-leading publications will cover the work the young attendees are doing.
That's what happens when you put the most successful Millennials in a room.