Don’t Sleep on it! Turn Your Dreams Into a Reality

A promising article posted on Entrepreneur.com suggested that Generation Z (those born between 1994 and 2010) is poised to be the most entrepreneurial generation yet. While they might currently still be students, Dan Schawbel argues that this “savvy, connected and self-educated group” are already more ambitious and focused on working for themselves than their predecessors (who are more likely to toy with the concept of starting a business as a sideline to full time employment rather than making a full committal).

He puts this down to greater access to online skills resources, more training and funding programmes, the availability of business mentors and awareness of the benefits of attaining valuable professional work experience while still a student. In essence: the infrastructure is now in place to encourage and support entrepreneurialism.

This can only be a good thing and, if these predictions prove to be true, then society is in for an incredible journey over the next few decades! Who knows what innovations will come to the fore as a result of this newfound entrepreneurial spirit?

Here at the Catalyst Centre, and more widely at the award-winning University of Southampton Science Park, we too have been long focused on putting the infrastructure in place to foster entrepreneurialism. Regular readers will know about the mutually supportive community that we have established here. Embracing formal skills training and informal approaches like mentoring and networking, Catalyst is at the very heart of the South’s start-up scene.

With just three weeks to go before we start interviewing candidates for the next Catalyst programme due to start this September, it’s interesting to consider what is motivating people today to start their own science or technology business and, just as importantly, what they hope to achieve by doing so.

For some it’s about wealth creation. Profit, higher salaries than corporate life allows, tax efficiency, early retirement and financial independence….

For many, starting a business signals freedom. Freedom to decide what hours you’d like to work, to decide where you’d like to work and reduce (or cut out altogether) the daily commute, to decide what you’d like to pay yourself and even what your career path looks like. By creating your own business plan, you can plot your personal path to retirement on your terms.

But more than that, it could also be freedom to follow your dreams. If you find yourself in a career that’s altogether different from how you like to spend your free time, starting-up in business could be the opportunity to re-wire your career into something more aligned to your passion. Assuming that you’ve done your research and there is a gap in the market, it’s perfectly possible to turn a hobby or interest into a profitable enterprise, enabling a career switch without retraining.

The Huffington Post published an article by Mo Seetubim on the personal benefits of starting a business. Here she talks about eliminating those ‘what if’ thoughts, broadening your mind, learning to be more independent, fearless, confident and motivated – all worthy life skills  which, in themselves, could set you on the path to future happiness through personal fulfilment alone.

For thirty more good reasons to start your own business, take a look at Entrepreneur.com and Startups.co.uk.

The flip side? Well, starting a business is always a risk, whatever way you look at it and you need to be comfortable with that. It’s a steep learning curve too so when you start out there will of course be long days and less pay in the early years. But this rarely deters people; rather, it motivates and drives them to work through those problems, knowing that, if they do, future rewards will be there for the taking.

So why not take a leaf out of Gen Z’s book (or rather share a screen from their tablet) and consider following your dreams? To get all the help and support you need to give it the best chance of success, apply to Catalyst today.