My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’


“My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’. That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job”- Ted Turner, broadcasting entrepreneur.


At the peak of its power, the British Empire (one of the largest and most powerful empires to have emerged) with colonies stretching from Asia to Africa needed a global machine to help fuel the Industrial Revolution which had started in the 1700’s.

In efficiently driving the industrial revolution, the Empire needed, as in the words of Sugata Mitra a 2013 winning TED fellow to create, ‘a one global human machine’. This global human machine must be so homogenous that a component trained in Africa can effectively fit into an industry in The West Indies. To do this, The Empire created ‘THE SCHOOL’. This led to the rise of a blue collar job system, one which supported articulate machine-like efficiency over innovation and creativity.


The conversion of various independent civilizations who were content with their subsistence agriculture to fixed income-dependent ones led to a decline in the entrepreneurship ‘story’. In developing countries like Nigeria, families had abandoned their rich entrepreneurial heritage for limited white-collar jobs.

However, in 2013, reports from several global bodies revealed a new phenomenon, a fast-paced rise in global entrepreneurship indexes. Investigations revealed the driving factor behind this frenetic growth: The frenetic rise in global youth unemployment. The several stories of youths who after submitting hundreds of job applications decide to become entrepreneurs aptly describe a saying of Ted Turner- “My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’. That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job”.

The emergence of ‘The Lost Generation’

The alarming growth in unemployment rates among youths has led to them being termed: The Lost Generation- a generation lost in the job hunt. As described by the Wall Street Journal (14/09/2013), while the present world’s youths had little experience of the financial crises that caused this frightening record unemployment rate, they are all too familiar with the aftermath: a crippling recession.

Data visualizations from the World Economic Forum shows that out of the 87% of the 1.2 billion world’s youths who live in developing countries, 341 million are not in employment or education. This sad trend is not only happening in the developing world. A European Union (EU) report states that there are 5.6 million unemployed youths in Europe with Greece and Spain leading the pack with 60% and 56% respectively. This sorry state had created youths who in the words of a Greek protester “are too young to be angry”.

The rise of the ‘Opportunistic entrepreneur’

“The lost generation is increasingly producing what one might call the ‘opportunistic entrepreneurs’. Unemployed young people from Europe to the Middle East to North America are adapting to the realities of a chronically weak job market by launching their own business”3.

As a promising outgrowth of the global youth unemployment crisis, the rise of creative entrepreneurial innovators is a heartening development. The success stories of youths who in the face of poverty and disappointment have created amazingly innovative ideas are a testament to this. Although sustainability is not assured, the risk-taking startup mindset will surely create an innovation-driven future.


            While, not everyone is concerned about the effectiveness of the usage of entrepreneurship in channeling youths towards innovation and creativity, it is hoped that the future will witness young, daring and creative entrepreneurs free from the shackles of an outdated global machine.


1. Sugata Mitra(2013):Build a School in the Cloud

Online Video available at


2. Ben C. and Marcus W.(2013): A Generation ‘Lost’ in the Job Hunt. (WSJ 14/09/2013)

Available online at: http://www.


3. Jill B. and Lucy S. (2013): Global Youth Unemployment crisis spurs youth entrepreneurs to get creative. (Huff Post 11/12/13)

Available online at:


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