Are you sick and tired of how much criticism Gen Y gets? I certainly am.
What people don’t realise is that Gen Yers are not so young and immature anymore. They are growing up and are now in positions of power. They have had successful entrepreneurial businesses and they are also parents. Something else Gen Yers are doing at a younger age, more than ever before, is they are getting involved with social causes, political causes and philanthropy.
I want to share with you two recent experiences I have been lucky to have.
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Last week I attended the inaugural Nexus Youth Summit in Singapore. Nexus is a global movement of 2000+ young people from over 70 countries working to increase and improve philanthropy, and impact investing by bridging communities of wealth and social entrepreneurship.
I attended the inaugural Australian Nexus Summit last year and was blown away by the quality of people in the room and how passionate they were about being involved with philanthropic causes and making a positive impact on society.
Previous generations all thought you had to work hard for years to make enough money to potentially give back through philanthropic causes. But, true to form, Gen Y is turning this idea on its head. Gen Y wants – perhaps a little impatiently – to be able to make a difference now and to see the impact that they are having.
Whether it’s monetary donations or non-currency contributions such as time, expertise, resources or connections, they are finding ways to be involved with their passion and to make a positive difference. Anyone who likes to criticise Gen Y as being selfish should come to a Nexus event and see the amazing discussions and action that occurs.
Another example of why Gen Y rocks is the sheer number of young entrepreneurs around the world who are using business as a way to make a positive difference. This week the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA) summit is being held in Sydney.
The G20 YEA is a global network of young entrepreneurs and the organisations that support them. It was established to convene each year in advance of the G20 Summit, with the aim of championing the importance of young entrepreneurs to the G20 member nations and to share examples and practices.
I was lucky enough to be selected to represent Australia at the Summit in Russia last year and since then have stayed involved with the movement. Sarah Riegelhuth and I have been selected to be the lead delegates this year.
This year we have taken on the bold move to try to tackle the challenge of solving the problem of global youth unemployment. Developed economies are caught between rising deficits, low rates of growth and high levels of unemployment that disproportionately affect youth. There are currently 1.8 billion youth, of which 90% live in developing countries and two thirds of those are underemployed.
According to the latest ILO statistics, there are currently 73 million youth unemployed, accounting for more than 50% youth unemployment in many countries. We believe that entrepreneurship is the solution. Over a few days we will be discussing with great entrepreneurs from all over the world how we can make a difference to this problem and put a plan in place to take action.
These are just two examples of why Gen Y is the best generation the World has ever seen. I know we have our pitfalls, but one of our greatest traits is that we like to look on the positive side of life. I encourage you to do the same.