Wealth Enhancer’s Finn Kelly: Six things I learnt from the G20 Youth Entrepreneur Alliance Summit in Moscow

Last month, 20 young Australian entrepreneurs flew to Moscow to attend the G20 Youth Entrepreneur Alliance Summit.

One of them was Finn Kelly, co-founder of wealth management business Wealth Enhancers, one of SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30 winners for 2013.

Next year, the conference will be in Australia. We asked Kelly to share what he learned from the conference, and why young entrepreneurs should apply for 2014. He writes:

Passion is the difference between a thriving business and a failing one. 

This was the common theme from all of the guest speakers and the most successful entrepreneurs at the summit.

In order to overcome challenges you need to be extremely passionate about what you do. You’ll need to fall back on this passion throughout your entrepreneurial journey when things get tough.

Young people also want to do business with people and organisations that have a higher purpose, and are extremely passionate about it. If you don’t have a greater purpose, I strongly recommend that you come up with one as it will make huge difference for your success.

At Wealth Enhancers our greater purpose is “to create a generation of young people that are not afraid to follow their dreams and achieve them because they fully understand and are in control of their finances.” This greater purpose keeps us focused on what we want to achieve.

The lucky country

Youth unemployment is a major issue with devastating impacts. Coming from a country where people think they have a right to a well-paid job, it was scary to hear the situations in many of the other participating countries.

It made me realise how lucky we are in Australia.

Global youth unemployment is 14% and in some countries as high as 50%. This has major implications for the global economy, and we identified that this is something that has to be addressed.

We all agreed that encouraging young entrepreneurship and providing an easier environment to conduct business in will enable new businesses to grow quicker, which in turn will create more jobs. Luckily the B20 (the 20 largest businesses in the world) understood the importance of this as well and they are making it a major focus of their communiqué to the G20.

You can’t beat time

Persistence counts. Unfortunately, as young entrepreneurs, we often don’t persist enough with an idea or business and don’t push through the tough times.

I believe there are a few contributing factors for this. We struggle to stay focused in the face of endless opportunities, and we see the stories of the ‘overnight’ successes in the technology space.

Chatting to all of the different successful entrepreneurs, it was clear that success doesn’t happen overnight, and you need to continuously preserver through the touch times in order to become successful.

The biggest lesson that I have learnt through my business experiences is that, unfortunately, you can’t beat time.

Access to capital is tough. Young entrepreneurs all over the world find it very difficult to access capital. Unfortunately banks are getting stricter with their lending criteria and are not willing to take any risks. And although private equity and venture capital firms have plenty of cash available to invest, they have so many deals coming across their desks that they are being very selective.

Gen-Y gender neutral aussies

Australia was the only delegation to have an equal representation of females and males at the conference. This was made even more significant when we found that most countries had very small female representation, and some countries had none.

This is a great sign for Australia. We’re leading the way, and I believe partly because of organisations which promote female entrepreneurship, like The League of Extraordinary Women (which was started by my co-founder Sarah Riegelhuth).

I believe Gen-Y will be the best generation of entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. We are less focused on money, power and success than previous generations, and we want to make a positive impact on the world. We also realise that the best way we can make a major impact is to create very successful businesses, which can then give a percentage of their profits or resources to charitable activities.

Australia is tiny!

I got extremely jealous when talking to other entrepreneurs about their particular target markets. The size compared to ours was astronomical. It made me realise how hard it is to gain enough scale in Australia to make you a commercially viable business.

The exciting news is that with modern day technology, it is starting to get easier to make your business global and if you want to position yourself for growth in the future you should be considering this. It’s something we’ve realised we need to focus on at Wealth Enhancers.

The policy challenge

Changing policies is extremely difficult. The purpose of the summit was to create a communique that would contain our key concerns for the future of youth entrepreneurship. This would then be presented to the G20, with hopes they would take our ideas seriously.

Unfortunately, it is extremely hard to get politicians to take notice of the importance of entrepreneurship. We require everyone in the community to make a concerted effort to speak to their local politicians and get as much media as possible about the matter.

Although gaining traction is extremely hard, it is imperative for the future of the global economy that we see more young people making businesses and employing themselves and others.


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