For Impact


The Gen Y Social Entrepreneur Wave: Part III

For Impact Ideas, On Change in the Social Sector | | Nick Fellers

Part I was about the next generation of ‘change leaders’
Part II was an unsolicited attempt to tell you how Gen Y sees the world.
Part III is about the economy, culture and the future Gen Y could provide.

Our work has taken us to just about every corner of the planet – either directly or indirectly – in helping an NGO that works on the ground in India, China, Bolivia… you name it. I’ve been having a lot of discussions about the ‘entrepreneurial culture’ or lack thereof in other countries. Have also been talking a lot about how that will be an enduring strength for us as we work through a new economy – one in which the economic norm of the past 50 years is not what we will have in the next 20+.

Spending time in other countries provides the enough contrast to highlight that ‘American entrepreneurial spirit’ and particularly just how rooted it is in our culture and systems. For example:

  • Other parts of the world are really down about the global economy. I mean really down… Despite the headlines in US newspapers we still have a widespread assumption that ‘we’ll get through this’. It’s not that way everywhere else.
  • Our government is designed to help entrepreneurs. I know, that sounds laughable. Travel to India though – it’s billed as an enterprising and rapidly developing place. Has a lot of entrepreneurs, etc. The government and its systems are total chaos. Two of my former business partners tried to start businesses there and gave up because it was such a joke to do anything – even something as simple as incorporate.

I point to both of these examples because they’re cultural and systemic. These attitudes and systems didn’t just happen and they’re not going to change in 10 years.

So this creates a simple premise, we will continue to have one of the most entrepreneurial culture systems on the planet and we’re about to add a[nother] generation of humanity-driven individuals full of the entrepreneurial spirit.

At just the right time.