Staying home during the pandemic has meant a great number of things. Among them: less time with friends, less commuting and less participation in extracurricular activities. With so much extra time on their hands, many Gen Zers have started thinking about ways to make some money while being stuck at home, and over quarantine, millions have started businesses or side hustles. Therefore, one of the only silver linings of the pandemic has been the accelerating shift towards Gen Z entrepreneurs.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z was known for creativity and an inclination towards freelancing. Harvard Business Review finds that teenagers today are more innovative and entrepreneurial than previous generations. According to a Gallup poll, 80% of teens want to be their own boss, and 40% want to start their own business. The pandemic has made normal teenage jobs like babysitting, working at grocery stores, or as a camp counselor exponentially more difficult. Both students looking to make extra money and those whose families depend on an extra source of income are forced to adapt to a completely new job environment.
The teenage start-ups that have been on the rise recently range from clothing brands to social media marketing to designing websites for other companies. Almost 1 in 4 teens say they have already started some type of business and that trend may soon move from a short-term time filler to something more permanent. After all, while Gen Z has always been inclined to dabble in entrepreneurship, the pandemic escalated these desires. Teenagers saw the sudden uncertainty of a 9-5 job and began thinking about other ways to make money while being forced to stay home.
The pandemic that Gen Z is living through is coinciding and fueling the dismantling and questioning of certain “norms” set by society. In turn, Gen Z’s creativity is heightened and is being used to fuel ideas. Many high schoolers are also beginning to question whether the cost of college is worth it, with some choosing to work directly after graduating high school. One of the reasons for this is that Gen Z isn’t afraid of failure; 80 percent of teens think that embracing failure will make them more innovative.
This change has also brought about positive outcomes, in both new technologies and ideas being developed to help Gen Z give back to their communities. There have been numerous examples of Gen Z pandemic businesses donating large amounts of their profits to organizations like Black Lives Matter or various others.
Overall, entrepreneurs are better problem solvers, considered more creative thinkers, and research even shows they can live happier lives than the average person. Gen Z is just beginning to make its mark on the future of business and society as we know it, and the future seems bright for young entrepreneurs around the world.
Find information about starting your own business and finding ideas below:
Ian is a dual US/UK citizen who was born in New York City and currently lives in Miami, Florida. He is a rising freshman at Ransom Everglades Upper School, where he plans to be involved in Speech and Debate as well as Student Government. Outside of school, Ian can be found sailing around the world, reading a good book, or running. He is passionate about politics and current events, and volunteers with several political advocacy organizations. Through Gen Z Identity Lab, Ian hopes to start a discussion among young people who are passionate about current events and are eager to inspire change.