Off The Streets And Into The Boardroom: Encouraging Urban Millenial Entrepreneurs
A prior generation might call them “cocky.” Millenials have a confidence that not only can they be their own boss, many feel they have to strike out on their own. But what is driving this – it is certainly more than just “money.”
Millennials live in a world where the ability to strive and live the “American Dream” is instilled in them during the adolescence. But during the pivotal moments of their adulthood, many get stuck for lengthy periods of time while working under someone with hopes of a promotion or financial increase. Once they have suffered through financially instability or felt their career progression was stagnant, they are redirected to follow their passions or train their creative skills. The very idea of the “American Dream” is a driver that will allow their entrepreneurial skills to emerge.
Many inner city youth are fortunate enough to be introduced & exposed to entrepreneurs & individual ownership; many local businesses in the inner city serve as a catalyst to the entrepreneurial mindset, but unfortunately urban youth don’t always have the necessary institutions & experts who are willing to teach them. Because of that, the youth fall into the cycle of a “9 to 5” jobs. They have the willingness, they have the enthusiasm, and now they just need the mentorship to show them the way.
Industry experts who believe in these young adults can develop their creative minds, expose them to opportunities, and – most importantly – give them a sense of hope and purpose. The challenge is finding experts and connecting them with the right future entrepreneur.
Darius Davie, known to many as “Sunny D,” industry impresario, public relations specialist, & Brooklyn-native found that “for me, entrepreneurship is a way of life. Many other like-minded entrepreneurial enthusiasts connect with me directly on social networks. I’ve recently made sure to designate time – even evenings and weekends – to answer their questions, career concerns, and sometimes personal / life advice. Some kids fail to connect in the classroom, but are quick to do it on social media like Twitter. Topics range from functioning in a new city to how to “network” or bringing new creative ideas & skills to life. I make sure to challenge their minds to think outside the box. My passion is to bring the best out of them (skills, ideas, various forms of motivation) and for them to recognize & accept it, which is not always easy.”
“I created #Mogultalk to have an opportunity to connect with me, share my network and to make it a place where individuals have an opportunity to share their stories, ask specific industry questions & receive insight & feedback. I make connections, and when I’m not able to supply answers, I make sure that I have other industry-professionals available within my network – this has had a profound effect on me.”
“Lastly, this is a source of inspiration for my generation as I make an effort to introduce certain resources that will provide knowledge, insight, and feelings of personal encouragement. The Internet is invaluable but it’s important to know how to effectively use it. Sometimes just helping them learn how to research and make connections is all that is needed to get them started.”
#Mogultalk too me is a sense of enlightenment and a reminder that even when coming from a single-parent home and witnessing a family struggle that there’s hope for me to still achieve my goals. The daily #Mogultalk quotes from Darius keeps me motivated and lets me know there’s still room in the world for me to become the next Russell Simmons, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, or Jay-Z. As an aspiring musician and entrepreneur, #Mogultalk is a lifestyle – NOT just a hashtag.” – Antwon “TwonDon” Gibbs (@TwondonUC)
One Person, One Community, One Step At A Time
There are bigger networks and there are some great programs – both institutional and private – that have aspire to help the underserved. Many of them are successful. But how many of us create something from scratch and sustainable to really give back and help. A simple hashtag and an abundance of passion can make an indelible impression on a community and steer lives in new directions – the benefit of which may be felt for decades or generations. There is no end to where social communications can help, but many feel like it is too hard to get a program up and running, too bureaucratic, or burdensome.
Sometimes – in fact, most often – simple is the way to go.
Todd has kept in touch with Sunny D since their last discussion article concerning hip-hop culture & issues like homosexuality. His passion for his community and his desire to help those around him is truly an inspiration, if not an embarrassment for those of us who have been given so much more and done less. You can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter with the hashtag #Mogultalk. Be on the lookout for his official site launching this month.