“Why is it important for children & youth to have a voice in business?”
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Of the over 7 billion people that are on earth today, all those aged 24 years and younger account for nearly 40 percent of the world's population. What this means is that effectively roughly half of the world’s population will be, or in some cases already are, consumers of services and goods for at least the next half century. From a business stand point, this means that one should effectively concentrate one’s efforts on this target group, because this will be one’s market for a long period of time and is a sizeable portion of the population. But should the youth have a voice in business simply because they are a lucrative market?
The answer to this question is a resounding no. If one would empower the youth simply to “tap” them dry, then we would be building a society of dependence. We would be empowering them simply to take advantage of them. The old adage “give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish, feed him for a lifetime” comes to mind here. The youth should have a voice in business not only to determine what products and services will be in the market, but also to become active creators and investors in these products and services. I think the most important tool to accomplish this end is surely the internet, which serves as not only a medium for communication, but also as a platform to present ideas on a much larger scale and gain support for them. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter are enabling people to become the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.
These three names that I have mentioned as well as so many others were quite young when they decided to innovate and create and actively use their voice in the business arena to share their vision. History shows us that youth is indeed capable of great achievement.
When something works, there is no need to fix it. Youth innovation has always been the formula, so let us stick to that. But let us make it grow, let us nourish it and give the youth from all over the world the opportunity to change the world. And once we do that, we should impart onto them the importance of cycles. Doors have been opened for them, but they also need to open doors for others, including the younger generation and so on and so forth.
As consumers, I think businesses also have the responsibility to
be honest about their business practices with consumers. Once
they are honest, the consumers can act as a moral compass for the
companies, because most people will buy from companies that give
them that extra “feel good factor”.
As a conclusion I would like to state that the main thing businesses should be doing is not only listening to consumers but educating them. Once consumers have the power of knowledge, they are less dependent on others and can impact today’s society in several ways with their new ideas!
Christopher, 19, Kenya