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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Generation Y kids’ passion for innovation yields hope for future

    If you had offered our grandparents a job with no pay, they would have started laughing. But not Generation Y.

    We’re so worried about future employment that we actually pay for internships and work. Everyone is speculating about what will happen to us, but no one has a definitive answer or a sure-fire plan to secure our future.

    But what was apparent from last week’s Innovation Day, children from Generation Y are ready to take the future into their own hands.

    Innovation Day, the annual UA showcase for student collaborators in McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, offered a place for 23 student groups to display projects and ideas.

    Michelle Vock, the operations manager for Exploreful, “a social platform that enables travelers to gain trusted recommendations from their network of friends”, said she thinks Generation Y is innately adept at thinking outside the box.

    “ … [We] want to make a difference in our communities and better the things that have been stagnant for so many years,” Vock said. “If UA keeps up their promotion of innovation and creativity our generation will continue to respond and succeed.”

    This year’s venture ideas range from jewelry design to stress management consulting. All are technology-based, and some have already received attention from investors.

    “The companies that are launched through this program are highly skilled at coming up with creative and innovative solutions and have already started networking with investors and the Tucson community,” said Antonia Tichindelean, the General Manager of Bucketlive.com, a community-focused, event planning platform that facilitates the networking of experts in various fields with similarly focused individuals.

    “They give us a competitive edge in the business environment that will help us grow and improve the business technology environment in Arizona.”

    On top of the cutting-edge focus of the start-up ideas, Generation Y seems more focused on solving local problems, like decreasing unemployment.

    “Arizona, and Tucson specifically, is becoming a hotbed for innovation,” explained David Basilio, marketing manager for CrowdHopper. He added that the fall StartUp Tucson event for idea pitches to angle investors demonstrates the local attitude toward fixing Arizona’s economy. With CrowdHopper, Basilio added, “We would drive users to the hottest bars, let them know what specials are available in the surrounding area and increase attendance at nightlife venues, spurring increased spending in the local nightlife sector.”

    It sounds great to be able to design a product while sheltered in the risk-free environment of a college class, but how realistic are these incubating ideas? How many actually launch?

    Historically speaking, Navid Fallahi, team manager of HermitCrab, a website targeting international students who want to find optimal housing and living environments, explained that few of these ideas go to market.

    Generation Y is going to have to save itself, and with innovation-focused initiatives like these, the UA is hustling to help us craft our own future. Even if these start-ups fail to leave lasting legacies, the UA is equipping graduates with the skills to be key players in redeveloping the U.S. economy.

    Our grandparents were members of “The Greatest Generation.” With students from all areas of study at the UA so passionate about innovation, there’s nothing stopping us from transforming Generation Y into Generation Y Not.

    — Stephanie Zawada is a chemistry and pre-business sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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