With the global conversation on climate change being increasingly led by young adults, this is the moment for our children to step into the limelight and claim their place. Let’s make a start.
A quick Google search will show you that the world’s youngest millionaire is just 21 years old. Percy Smith was 15, when he had amassed $190,000 worth of Bitcoin, and growing that wealth into over a million dollars took just a short couple of years more. Today he’s worth much more, with an enviable, diverse portfolio. Search for the world’s youngest billionaires and you will find that apart from the heirs and scions of established businesses, there are 4 tech entrepreneurs worth several billions, and they’re still under 30 years of age.
There’s plenty of original thought and ambition in our Indian youngsters. With our cultural focus on education, unlimited access to the internet, tinkering labs in schools… our children are primed to succeed as innovators and entrepreneurs. All we need to do is to fan the flames of the potential that comes from unfettered imagination and “why not” thinking.
Are we encouraging our children to think big enough; to believe that they too can contribute here and now, today, and not just after they graduate college? We know that engagement is not the problem - talking to school children today reveals that they are not just aware of the world’s biggest challenges, but deeply passionate about finding solutions.
Volvo Car’s Breathe Free program in Delhi last year demonstrated this ably. Not only did children adopt the ideas and tips from the program with enormous enthusiasm, but they also participated in several thought experiments that resulted in innovative solutions involving existing technology. So what’s the missing ingredient here? Why are our young tinkerers and innovators not stepping forward the way their western counterparts do?
One of the problems is of enablement. Do we create enough opportunities and visibility for these innovators? Do we give them the backing of technical expertise and capital, to explore these ideas to the fullest? Yes, we have competitions and contests, but do any of these result in real world change? That’s the question that Volvo Cars asked themselves, and the Voices of Future campaign was born.
Yes, it’s a competition for school children across India. But this time, Volvo Cars is backing this up with the right infrastructure to take these ideas and innovations to fruition. Through internships with their partners as well as through scholarships, participants will have the satisfaction of seeing their concepts brought to life and maybe even go on to solve global problems.
With the global conversation on climate change being increasingly led by young adults, this is the moment for our children to step into the limelight and claim their place. Let’s make a start. One success can inspire several, setting in motion a positive cascade that would not only benefit our economy and our world standing as innovators, but possibly, make the world so much better than what we’ve made of it.
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