Belfast Telegraph

Young start-ups cheer me up! Let's celebrate their achievements

By Ron Immink, co-founder, Small Business Can

Start-ups always cheer me up. Particularly start-ups by young people.

This is especially so following my article last month, which was about the education system not preparing our children for a future where we all will have to operate as entrepreneurs. It struck a chord, and thanks for all the tweets ( @smallBC) and messages. Youth unemployment is a serious issue. One in four young people in Northern Ireland can't get a job. It is referred to as 'the lost generation'.

I hate that term. What does it mean? Instead of writing them off, this issue should be about a talent pool of over 22,000 young people who have the ability to do amazing things. Preferably as an entrepreneur, in my view.

But I accept it is not for everyone. Following your passion is. Which brings me again back to Seth Godin. Google 'stop stealing dreams' with 'Youtube'. Watch the video. Good performance at school does NOT guarantee happiness or success. Grades are an illusion. Passion is reality.

Young people who start their business understand that. They stand out. They follow their passion. Such as Karen and Samantha who started Bang on the door (19 years old) or Richard who started his business when he was 24. They are not interested in grades. They took control of their destiny and ran with it. Having a ball. Recession is not in their vocabulary. Which is why this year we want many young start-ups and young businesses to enter the Ulster Bank Business Achievers awards. Let's celebrate these remarkable individuals as role models for the 'lost' generation. Let's help them to become even more successful. Let's ask them to help us to understand all this social media malarkey. Link silver starters (another 'lost' generation) with these entrepreneurs.

If we connect the dots (if you have seen the video, you'll understand), there is hope.