What We Can Learn from the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Generation Z

David Kietzman is the managing partner and chief engagement officer at Momentum Solutions, a company that strengthens communities through communication. Learn more at www.momentumsolutionsteam.com.


texting-congress-3Generation Z seems to be the official terminology for the generation proceeding the millennial generation – but people in my circles are replacing the Z with E.  With new ideas being fostered regularly and easy access to technology and marketing tools, this new wave of leaders born between 1995 and 2010 is by far the most entrepreneurial. What I like to call “Generation Entrepreneur” or “Gen E” is evolving into a creative, pioneering and problem-solving generation. The students I have taught and interact with embrace the word “entrepreneur” and thrive when challenged to tackle small or wicked problems. Technology, social media and online interaction are not just buzz words, but values engrained in their DNA.

I believe we all have an entrepreneurial spirit, but many times that might not be fostered in traditional family or educational settings. Having worked as an educator, nonprofit leader and entrepreneur, I have learned from hundreds of millennials and Gen Eer’s. This rising generation has both a practical and innovative mindset that allows them to become architects and build their own futures. They see a broken world that they can fix.  The evolution of technology gives them the tools to build and their collaborative mindset is becoming more valuable. This generation will become less about taking selfies and more focused on tackling today’s issues. The trick is to learn with “Gen E” and apply their new entrepreneurial traits to our life, work and careers. The great thing about the entrepreneurial mindset is it can be learned.

Top 5 entrepreneurial traits to pick up from Gen E

  • Be resourceful. With so many resources out there we need to figure out what works, what doesn’t, how to fix it and how to develop new tools. Even with a seemingly full toolbox of gadgets and apps, the ability to be resourceful will become more valuable for future generations.
  • Be impatient. Take a risk and don’t wait for something to get fixed. Instead of waiting for a solution to happen or let a great idea simmer in their heads, Gen E’s take action and implement. They learn from mistakes, pivot again, and re-implement until they’ve created a solution. Forge ahead with any opportunity you see.
  • Get offline. Forming authentic relationships is a strong ingredient for any successful entrepreneur. The millennial generation has been tagged the “selfie generation” and while the love and value of social media will continue, “Gen E” are also students of project based learning, which emphasizes collaboration and problem solving as a team. Most successful entrepreneurs know that team building is a major key to success – one’s weakness is another’s strength.
  • Welcome change. Smart entrepreneurs constantly evolve. This generation has grown up with the internet at their fingertips and information easily accessible. They have lived through the recession and seen the entrepreneurial mindset thrive when given a chance. Challenges should make you work harder. Look for the instances when you can embrace change, and give it a chance.
  • Be Pragmatic. Seeing the impact the recession had on their parents, “Gen E” wants to learn from that experience. This encourages us to be less reliant on big brands and cookie-cutter solutions – and rather develop new ideas, grassroots campaigns and innovative results.


This article was originally created for the HuffPost Impact. Visit the Momentum Solutions Team site to learn more about their work with nonprofits, foundations and social impact businesses. 



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