Sammy Ortiz
Jun 19 · 3 min read

We just graduated our third cohort at Young Entrepreneurial Students (Y.E.S.) on the 4th of June. The math goes like this, 25 students, 4 who have started their own ventures. If you ask me, that’s not bad given that we’re only two years old.

Because Youth Are Entrepreneurial

Have you ever sat down with a young person lately? Their ideas are amazing! At our last Celebration Night (where the students give their pitches), I was blown away by how articulate they were explaining how their project has the potential of creating an impact on the environment, tackling inequality, and so on. I’ve said it before, I didn’t think this way at their age. This is a more astute generation, for sure!

Happiness Is the Goal

Unlike other generations who wanted to make gobs of money, this generation just wants to be happy. They’re content making the world a better place. Not all of them want to be YouTube stars, not that there’s anything wrong with that. All that I’m trying to say is that the things they want to do have real meaning.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Evolve Quicker

Since most cities and rural communities are trying to figure out how to bolster economic development, this would be a natural step for the evolution of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

My organization starts introducing youth at the age of 12 to entrepreneurship using the CO.STARTERS Generator curriculum. It exposes them to a world not taught in school.

There’s something about Generation Z in how they’ve grown up in a completely digital world watching people get famous on social media that leans them toward entrepreneurship in my opinion. While they may not be familiar with business principals or terminology, that’s where the Generator program comes in.

Entrepreneurship is Glocal

Just like young people have grown up in a global community thanks to the internet and social media, entrepreneurship too is “glocal,” both global and local. When I use the term “glocal,” I mean how it can impact communities, whether they be rural or urban.

Although in the backyard of Tampa Bay, the students that I serve are in a rural, marginalized area. My premise for serving in Dade City, Florida is to prevent gentrification and provide the same opportunities for these young people that may come easily to youth in non-marginalized communities.

It’s a good way to begin to shift the paradigm for future generations concerning cyclical poverty. Shifting to the place where we can teach them how to eradicate it.

Because You Don’t Have to Be Old to Start Something New

There’s this unspoken rule that you can’t start something entrepreneurial until you’re old. Or worst yet, that young people don’t have the potential. This underestimation is neither good nor fair.

I’m using a product right now that was a concept which became a reality created by a young person in his garage. We all use a social media platform that was developed by a young person in his college dorm.

I believe that the cure for cancer is lying undiscovered in the mind of a young person right now. Someone needs to believe in them enough to awaken that which lies dormant.

Our tagline for Young Entrepreneurial Students is “You Don’t Have to Be Old to Start Something New.”

I want young people to know that I don’t underestimate them, especially youth who are latino or black. They get underestimated enough as it is. I want to be one who champions the cause for youth startups everywhere in the U.S., especially in marginalized communities.


MAKING INTERSECTIONS

Read on for more insights on this ecosystem building topic:

Missed Connections: Know other voices that connect to this story? Link them in the comments!

Intersections

A connecting point for ecosystem builders, founders, and partners building stronger networks for entrepreneurs. | Powered by CO.STARTERS

Sammy Ortiz

Written by

Social Entrepreneur | Founder/CEO of Y.E.S. | Pastor of Restoration Church

Intersections

A connecting point for ecosystem builders, founders, and partners building stronger networks for entrepreneurs. | Powered by CO.STARTERS

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