Sharing brilliance to be better young entrepreneurs. By Kelly Azevedo (Contributing Blogger, Young Entrepreneurs Council)
When the Young Entrepreneur Council (of which I am a member) and its partners unveiled the #FixYoungAmerica campaign, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment, one particular phrase from the video convinced me that women entrepreneurs in particular need get involved and lend our voices to this important endeavor. Says YEC's founder Scott Gerber: "We've seen what works and now we're all coming together to fix young America, to highlight the solutions that are rarely talked about."
As women, we often approach business and persuasion differently than men. We tend to work collaboratively in order to understand and listen to each other. I've personally worked with many female business owners who tread the line of leadership, balancing personal advocation with cooperation.
But as entrepreneurs, we must not be afraid of sharing our advice or even our secrets with the next generation of women entrepreneurs - and this campaign provides an ideal platform to do so.
In #FixYoungAmerica, the focus is not on one solution. The campaign has truly acknowledged that the growing problem of youth unemployment and underemployment must be addressed holistically by many voices. Acknowledging our shared brilliance and experience is the first, and a welcome, step toward building an environment in America that will not only support young entrepreneurs, but young female entrepreneurs as well.
How can female entrepreneurs #FixYoungAmerica?
One important way is by supporting and promoting and successful women entrepreneurs to younger generations so they recognize, from an early age, that women can own businesses and lead in technology. This is a great chance to teach the women leaders of tomorrow to look for opportunities early - and build relationships for success sooner.
To that end, I've asked several of my fellow YEC women to share solutions to #FixYoungAmerica:
"Colleges, universities, and trade schools could integrate Google's '20 percent' time into business courses to enable students to link their education to solving real-world problems. It's also vital for 'young America' to have opportunities for skill-based mentorship to compensate for deficiencies they have coming out of college or from periods of unemployment and underemployment. Shifting the focus of mentorship away from mentors as people who help you climb the career ladder - which is an outdated model - and toward helping young people, particularly young women, develop their specific areas for growth, shortens the learning curve for women's business success." - Alexia Vernon, (Trainer, Alexia Vernon Empowerment LLC)
"Despite wanting to be an entrepreneur as a kid, the school system pushed me down the path towards a 'normal career' - as one guidance counselor put it. To #FixYoungAmerica we need to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option and wholeheartedly support and encourage children with an entrepreneurial spirit." - Natalie MacNeil (Founder & Editor-in-Chief, She Takes on the World
"I think getting young girls interested in technology early on will definitely help #FixYoungAmerica. There's something powerful about a woman who isn't afraid of using technology, and that usually results in bold moves like starting a business, and figuring out how to get all the technology handled as the business grows. That is such a powerful place to be." - Nathalie Lussier (Founder & CEO, Nathalie Lussier Media)
"Countless books and articles have been devoted to the importance of women getting in the know about finances and numbers. Much of what I call 'number anxiety' stems from socialization which is one aspect of education that must change in the process of Fixing Young America. Girls have to learn the fundamental of finance and the nuances of starting a business." - Lisa Nicole Bell (CEO, Inspired Life Media Group)
Ready to lend your voice and share your opinions to help #FixYoungAmerica? Join the campaign or "Pass the Baby" to collaborate on and share your own tangible solutions.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Kelly Azevedo is a systems engineer with a background in collegiate debate and business management. She has worked in startup, successful six figure and million dollar online businesses, helping owners create the systems to serve their needs. With a custom coaching program, Kelly leads her clients to building a support team, launching programs and serving more clients. Follow her on Twitter at @krazevedo.