I recently participated in a webinar about Generation Z, those born between 1995-2010. It’s hard to believe that those students are in college when it seems like just yesterday they were born.

The presenters (Dr. Corey Seemlier and Meghan Grace) shared information about many trends impacting this generation. One that was of particular note to me was their interest in “creative entrepreneurship.” The speakers pointed out that for all their lives, side businesses have been a part of the landscape. From Uber, Alibaba, Etsy to Airbnb, people they know have been making money on the side or on their own. Turning a hobby or passion into a business no longer has high entry barriers or involves significant start-up funds. If you are offering a service, you can just start offering it.

Another influencer of this generation is budget cuts. They have know a tight economy for much of their lives, and seen the impact of budget reductions in schools, colleges and even in families. As a result, they are more financially conservative and more likely to save than previous cohorts. Combine this concern about money with the ability to make a little extra on the side, and you can only imagine where the generation is going.

The study of generations may not change the path people are on, but it helps to understand the motivating factors behind group behavior. If you haven’t read about this latest wave of young people, I encourage you to brush up on your ZZZs. As graduation approaches, more and more of them will be entering the workforce and it behooves us all to know how to create environments that will capitalize on their Zeal and Zest for social change.

beth triplett

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