Much of the negative press surrounding Millennials and post-Millennials is lacking nuance. The two generations are the most socially aware, driven by authenticity, and are helping to lead efforts to protect the environment. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Cam Wilkie, Chase Dobbie, and Everett Vane on how millennial entrepreneurs can help foster change.
At this point headlines featuring the latest company or product Millennials have ‘killed’ has become somewhat comical. Everything from Buffalo Wild Wings, Napkins, Hooters, Golf, and the diminishing of a number of brands are laid at the feet of the youngest generations of Americans.
However, when we look at Millennials and post-Millenials there are far more to like than dislike. Even Millennial entrepreneurs are aware of their effect on the planet and are searching for social and environmental solutions rather than simply looking to maximize profit.
Nicole Weaver states:
Other generations like to make us seem lazy, but it’s not that we don’t want to work – we just don’t want to work for others. According to a survey from Bentley University, 67 percent of their respondents said they wanted to start their own business, while 13 percent said they hope to climb the ladders to become CEO or president.
She continues, “Not a week goes by without a public outrage over police brutality, sexism, homophobia, or any number of other issues. We don’t get change from people being complacent, so the unrest is actually a good thing, and young people taking to social media and the streets to express it is amazing,” meaning the youngest generations are interested in socially equality while building brands which exemplify those ideals.
Sammy Nickalls also adds to the conversation, “According to Psychology Today, millennials are more genuine. They thrive on being judged by their performance, and they respect those with experience rather than power.” In addition, Millennials seem to have become the most educated generation of all-time, which may be passed by post-Millennials in several decades.
How Millennials Are Making Change
Groups like Enactus and DECA exist in order to help bring students into the business world. However, these organizations also strive to have a positive effect on social and environmental issues. While younger individuals often have their entrepreneurial efforts balked at, many still push to become agents of change. Cam Wilkie, Chase Dobbie, and Everett Vane, co-founders of func.media are familiar with that hurdle.
The group is based out of Toronto and I recently had the opportunity to speak to them about Millennials and their role in the world.
“Millennials thrive on challenging the status quo. Being able to leverage platforms like Instagram to connect and share your own unique view of the world is something entirely new and distinct to our generation. The new wave of social interaction has laid the foundation for an inherently connected world, and Millennials are the ones leading the charge,” Cam stated when asked about what Millennials are doing to create change in society.
When asked why they feel authenticity is so important to Millennials and post-Millennials Everett responded, “Authenticity gives your audience a reason to connect. Millennials and post-Millennials are constantly seeking out the latest and greatest offering - being genuine and transparent helps consumers relate to the brand on a personal level. With all the information available at our fingertips - there’s no reason to pretend your brand is something it isn’t. Based on our experience, Millennials and post-Millennials are looking for what’s real.”
“I feel that millennials are often the topic of unfair critique because of our lack of corporate work experience. Many Millennials turn away from the cookie-cutter corporate career model, in-turn lacking some of the knowledge and experience to sufficiently scale a business. With func.media, what we lack in corporate experience, we gain in our own unique approach to calculated decision making. We never make impulsive, rash decisions - we want to ensure what we’re doing is right for the now and also right for the future.” Chase stated when asked why they feel Millennials are often the topic of unfair critique from bloggers.
When I asked the group about their goals as a company in regards to environmental and social issues Chase continued, “I think the great thing about having a strong social platform is you can share your opinions and thoughts to your followers on social and environmental issues and have people from all around the world listen. Many great social and environmental movements of the 21st century have been attributed to social media [#BellLetsTalk].”