The hustlers you can’t afford to ignore
They’re the masters of multi-tasking and the haters of the traditional 9 – 5. They’re digital natives who move seamlessly between the virtual and real world. Their higher purpose is to fix the world they inherited – which is no easy feat. But they’re go-getters wired to succeed, and it’s with their creative and disruptive solutions that they’re shaking things up. This is Gen Hustle, a subset of the African youth market, who will make up 35% of the global youth population by 2050.
With 46% (27.5 million) of the South African population currently being younger than 24, freedom of expression, access to innovative technology, and a hunger to hustle are sitting at the epicenter of our changing world. They’re claiming their influence on the world sooner and stronger than any generation before them. They’re confident, they’re focused, have access to innovative technology – and they’re coming in hot.
But what happens when a global pandemic, as well as a highly uncertain economic climate, intercepts a group of trailblazers? Digital retaliation with the help of social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. While COVID-19 has changed how we live forever, Gen Hustlers have spotted an opportunity to expand on how content is shared online – and want big brands like you to join their journey.
If you’re looking for practical examples of how Gen Hustlers are shaking things up, you’ll be able to find these agents of change close to home. Emmanuel Okon saw an opportunity to increase awareness around mental health in Nigeria using Artificial intelligence. Another inspiring example is Caleb Annobil, who created a programme and business that gives school children access to clean water – a cause very close to his heart.
So how do big brands and businesses get involved? By being authentic and relevant. Sounds simple enough, but hopping onto the bandwagon isn’t that easy. Gone are the days when just talking the talk sufficed, now it’s action-based strategies that lead the change. By understanding the crux of what the youth really cares about will bring about the by-product that is collaboration.
Gen Hustlers play by their own rules but understand that they need the help of big names to scale and step it up. But traditional partnership rules don’t apply here. Collaboration is the name of the game and if you’re not with it, you’re getting left behind. There has to be one end goal from both sides, one shared vision for it to be successful.
Grumpy Snacks is an exciting new healthy snack brand and is the brainchild of two, young and very passionate entrepreneurs who had a great narrative and brought it to life with a food brand. Their story and coming to be was so inspiring that the new South African airline Lyft, acquired them to be their onboard snack supplier.
Nic Haralambous, also known as “the hustle whisperer” literally took matters into his own hands by writing a playbook that helps small entrepreneurs get their side hustles going. Along with many other major brand partnerships, his main goal is to give funds to micro-entrepreneurs for that extra push they wouldn’t have received elsewhere.
But it’s not just about who Gen Hustlers are, it’s also about where they currently are and where they’re going. We are Egg is an omni-channel retail space that’s giving the smaller hustler a bigger chance. Here we see what happens when one brand co-evolves with a generation, not so much to ‘fit-in’ but to reshape the future. R.E.S.P.E.C.T is what they’re getting – and your brand should be too.
When you promote co-creation, you’ll reach them. When you seek authenticity, you’ll reach them. When you walk the journey with them side by side to see what the future looks like, you’ll become a part of them. Right now, it’s all about them and Gen Hustlers are speaking – are you listening?
Author: Ronen Aires
More about Ronen Aires_Boiler Plate:
Founder and CEO of Student Village (est 2001), Ronen Aires is a thought-leading pioneer of Afrillennials ® and a long-time scholar of the generation gap; Ronen has been responsible for contributing entrepreneurial strategies across University curriculums and has spent over two decades understanding and researching generation behaviour and statistics. His written works and motivational talks within Corporate South Africa have led to transformative team structures within organisations, and strengthened relationships between youth and brands. Ronen holds a position as Global Chair for the Entrepreneur Organisation (E.O) Accelerator Progam. Ronen is the recipient of the EO Volunteer of the Year Award 2016 and was named a nominee in the CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Award.