Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) is proud to support International Women's Day (IWD), March 8, a day devoted to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women. With robust female-focused initiatives and a longstanding history of empowering women leaders, EO upholds the mission of this global program every day. The IWD 2020 focus is #eachforequal, which recognizes that gender equality is good for business, great for communities, and essential for business growth.
Generation Z--those born between 1995 and 2012--is positioned to be our most entrepreneurial generation yet. A Gallup poll indicates that 77 percent of Gen Z students in grades 5 to 12 want to be their own boss; 45 percent intend to run their own business and 42 percent aim to invent something that will transform the world.
While Millennials set the trend of job-hopping and side hustles, Gen Zers are focused on working for themselves and only for themselves. A Millennial Branding study shows that 72 percent of Gen Z high-schoolers and 64 percent of college students want to start their own business--and exhibit a strong preference for being entrepreneurs over employees.
That's excellent news because entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to transform our world, and the more of us there are, the more significant our impact.
We asked EO members what changes they expect as this new generation of entrepreneurs--especially the women among them--launch businesses. Here's what they shared:
"What I have observed from our younger female and also male graduates and interns is a high level of self-awareness and willingness to confront the problems facing our environment and society in general. Young people know the power of social influence and creating communities. We'll see this group evolve business models with a genuine focus on a deeper cause, and these will be a natural choice for an emerging and growing consumer market made up of Millennials, Gen Zers, and the social and sustainably aware."
--Warner Cowin, EO New Zealand, CEO of Height Project Management
"As younger women assume leadership roles and launch businesses, more change has to come from the society around them. I see men being equal partners in taking care of children and helping in day-to-day activities. A good example from Japan: Shinjiro Koizumi, a politician expected to be a future prime minister, announced he's taking paternity leave. Such changes are positive, and we will see more in future. We will also see more diversification in various products as more are made by women, for women. Additionally, body shaming will not be tolerated. We already see companies like Victoria's Secret losing market share."
--Anuja Parikh, EO Gujarat, CEO of Intech Systems
"I think that the marketplace will see more diversity in both the types of businesses created and how they are run. As younger women take the reins of leadership, we will see, maybe for the first time in history, a dynamic and more complete workforce--a workforce that is better representative of what drives not just individual male and female leaders, but society as a whole. After all, the more voices we hear, the richer the song produced."
--Rachel Everett, EO DC, CEO of Viderity
"I believe as more younger women move into leadership roles, we'll see more questioning of 'the way we've always done it,' and more exploring of solutions outside the box, which is what the future of business will require."
--Megan Hottman, EO Colorado, founder and CEO of Hottman Law Office
"Technology has made working in a flexible manner possible, and that is incredibly empowering for many, but especially for the most skilled. Any companies that are demanding staff be in the physical will attract the kind of talent where that is acceptable. If you are a skilled talent, you are going to work for companies that enable you to work how you want to work so you can explore personal interests, take care of aging parents, attend your child's play or enjoy a change of scenery sometimes. If you are an entrepreneur with skill and lots of grit, we are living in the best of times. We can literally design the life we want because of technology. On the flip side, I fear for my fellow women who are not part of the skilled labor market and that the gap of opportunity will only become wider."
--Erin M. Weaver, EO New Jersey, founder and CEO of Pennington Gray
"I believe that female entrepreneurship is poised to flourish. In EO Canada, we have more than 150 incredible entrepreneurial women running extremely successful companies already. I expect this number to go way up. There are so many brilliant young women out there. To not expect a massive shift seems naïve."
--Rob Murray, EO Southwest Ontario, co-founder of Intrigue Media