PaySquad founder Cam Richardson wants to see redemptive entrepreneurship disrupt the traditional technology landscape to create a sustainable and ethical industry.
More and more young people are entering the business world before the age of 30, driven by a desire to change the world around them.
Young Enterprise Scheme chief executive Terry Shubkin said there had been an increase in support for 18- to 30-year-olds “over the past few years”, which had encouraged young people to stay in the business ecosystem longer.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in this age group… Over the past few years, the number of students graduating from our programmes has doubled and we’ve seen more and more students go on to their businesses Or stay in that ecosystem.”
The New Zealand Angels Association, an organization that connects early-stage investors at home and abroad, found in its latest startup ecosystem analysis in 2017 that the average age of New Zealand founders was 35, lower than the global average of 36.
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People under the age of 30 tend to work in purpose-driven business fields and are particularly passionate about creating social, environmental and cultural change, Shubkin said.
A report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says the number of purpose-driven businesses in New Zealand is likely to grow steadily over the next 10 years due to increased awareness of social responsibility.
“One of the benefits they bring [to the business landscape] It’s the naiveté of the young…I think it’s a positive thing they’re not being swallowed up by the system…A lot of older people will say ‘well, tried it, but it didn’t work’. ..maybe it’s true, but maybe society isn’t ready,” she said
“That’s where you’ll see a lot of innovation and fresh ideas.”
It is this business ecosystem and the opportunities available that led Southland entrepreneur Cam Richardson to start his own business late last year.
Richardson stumbled into the entrepreneurial world in 2013 by winning a funding challenge with his invention, a bike helmet with a built-in bike lock.
“That was the lightbulb moment. It was like, ‘Well, there are entire ecosystems out there, and they help people have the motivation to create amazing things for the world,'” he said.
Richardson, founder of Invercargill fintech startup PaySquad, is a firm believer that to succeed at a young age, you have to be motivated by something bigger than profit.
“Entrepreneurs are more flashy now than they used to be, like ‘wow, that’s cool, I’ll get some nice cars and some street credit’. You don’t see extreme late nights, lack of social interaction, giving up nights out with friends, and Constant rejection,” he said.
PaySquad is designed to allow multiple people to buy directly from merchants at the point of sale, rather than sharing costs after purchase.
For Richardson, it’s a way to upend the popular “buy now” service About a third of consumers are behind on payments.
“If we can encourage people to collaborate and buy things together, instead of getting stuck on credit or making unsustainable purchases, it will be a real redemptive force for the payments industry and for consumerism in general,” he said.
He wants to prove that you no longer need to be in Silicon Valley, or have a lot of money behind you, to change the business landscape in the South.
“In the old school way of thinking, you could only make great strides in your career in your 40s, but today, you can be so young. It’s still important to have a mentor and a bit of wisdom behind you, but when you’re young , the possibilities are huge.”
“The most important thing to me is not … working with adults and young people is where we get to really innovate and grow.”