Gen Z Entrepreneurs: Solving Societal Issues through Innovation

Gen Z Entrepreneurs: Solving Societal Issues through Innovation

A new generation of socially conscious founders is using innovation to tackle societal problems

When Siddharth Thakur founded Paradigm Robotics, he had no idea what a startup was or the concept of venture capital. It was just a passion project for the high school student, aiming to assist firefighters on the job. But Thakur’s story is emblematic of a new wave of Gen Z entrepreneurship, where young founders are driven by a desire to do good and solve societal issues through innovation. This article explores the rise of Gen Z entrepreneurs, their unique characteristics, and the impact they are making in various industries.

Generation of problem solvers

Gen Z, born in the age of the internet, is characterized by its political awareness and social justice-driven mindset. They deeply care about others, value diversity, collaboration, and non-hierarchical leadership. This generation has grown up in a time of unprecedented globalization and information flow, shaping their worldview and desire to make a positive impact. According to research, around 50% of Gen Zers are interested in starting their own business, showcasing their entrepreneurial mindset.

Gen Z founders, like those at the Founders Institute, understand the importance of purpose in their companies. They challenge accepted norms and strive for sustainability and equity. They are driven by a desire to solve problems and create a better world. For example, SoundMind, an audio-wellness platform founded by Brian Femminella and Travis Chen, offers music therapy to address stress and anxiety. They raised over $2 million in seed money and have onboarded thousands of users.

Climate-conscious entrepreneurs

Gen Z has shown a particular concern for climate change and sustainability. Deloitte reports that 64% of Gen Zers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, and they expect companies to invest in sustainability. This has led to a rising class of climate entrepreneurs who are dedicated to addressing the climate crisis. Meagan Loyst, the founder of Gen Z VC, a community for young investors, highlights AI, climate, and fintech as industries that Gen Z entrepreneurs are drawn to. They are pragmatic about the work that needs to be done to tackle climate change.

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Gen Z in the VC world

While Gen Z founders are still in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journeys, colleges and universities are creating environments for young founders to experiment. Incubators and resources on campuses provide support, mentorship, and networking opportunities. However, Gen Z founders face challenges in being taken seriously by investors, especially if they lack a clear business proposition. It’s not enough to focus solely on purpose; a sustainable business model is crucial.

Conclusion:

Gen Z entrepreneurs are driving change and innovation by tackling societal issues through their startups. They bring a unique perspective, fueled by their political awareness, social justice mindset, and desire to make a positive impact. While they face challenges in being taken seriously by investors and developing sustainable business models, the support from universities and the growing interest in student-led ventures provide a promising environment for their success. As Gen Z continues to enter the workforce, their entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to solving problems are likely to shape the future of innovation.