Are You Giving Young People a Chance in Business?
Back in 2017 I was on Sir Richard Branson’s Nekker Island and was joined by a very special guest, Ali Kitinas – who at the time was just 15 years old and already a successful entrepreneur.
Ali proves to us all that if you have true focus and determination, it’s amazing what you can achieve in a relatively short period of time.
Most of us will remember what it was like to be 15 years old. At 15, what do most people want to do? Go to parties, hang out with friends – but not Ali; this teenager has been focused on more important things…
“I’m a teen entrepreneur,” Ali tells me, matter of fact. “I founded my first business at the age of 11 and I am now the founder and CEO of two businesses. I am also looking to launch a third business once I get back to Sydney.”
With Ali, the ethical side of her business ventures are key to the passion that drives her.
“My main business is a social enterprise called The Freedom Scrub. We have partnered with two incredible international charities and we make body scrubs that have a slavery free supply chain. For every scrub that we sell, we are able to provide healthcare for up to five people living in poverty in India for a year. We also provide rehabilitation to rescued child soldiers and to women who have been rescued from human trafficking in Australia.”
It is obvious to me that this is something that Ali really believes in.
“It’s something that I’m passionate about; I’m getting to use business to change people’s lives. To be in a position where I am able to improve the lives of people who are struggling is really amazing and being here on Nekker, with such fantastic people, it’s a great platform to influence more global change.”
Does that sound like a typical 15 year old speaking to you?
A lot of people in business that I work with, when discussing the employees of tomorrow, complain that ‘the kids of today are not what they used to be’ and regularly state that ‘you can’t get hard working young people.’
If you think that way, you are absolutely wrong.
You can get good, hardworking young people to work in your businesses. The biggest challenge of today however, is that most people in business are unable to engage with the younger generation. This has been a generational issue that has raised its head throughout the ages. During my life I have heard my elders say the youth of today are not what they used to be, blah blah blah.
There are a lot of great young people out there, so my question to the business owners reading this article is: what can you change about yourself and your business to attract this bright new talent to your company?
“It’s so true that there’s a lot of passion in the young people of today,” Ali agrees. “Sadly, because that’s unexpected from young people and is ‘outside of the square’ behaviour, businesses often discount them as the assets they could be. If you can find a way to communicate with young people, with teenagers, with millennials, they can be really great for your company. Young people can provide a new outlook; they are the adults of tomorrow and can provide insight into how they see the world and what they think the world is going to look like in a few years’ time. This can be really useful to a growing business.”
Ali is absolutely right. For us more established business owners out there, who probably aren’t going to want to hear this; the reality is that that globally, the young out number the old. We cannot expect the younger generation only to bend to us, we have got to do some of that changing to make this work. Many of my clients have successfully scaled they businesses harnessing the enthusiasm, passion, energy and drive of young people.
So, if this generational divide has resonated with you and you have any questions about how you can better engage a younger workforce, get in contact.
Remember, failing to learn is learning to fail.