Home Business NewsBusiness I asked 11-year-olds what business will look like in 2020. You'll be surprised by how insightful their answers are

I asked 11-year-olds what business will look like in 2020. You'll be surprised by how insightful their answers are

19th Nov 14 11:25 am

These kids are the leaders of the future. So what do they predict?

Natalie Campbell is the founder of A Very Good Company, author of Starting A Business in 7 Simple Steps, and a trustee of UnLtd

I am lucky to be part of the team that founded Global Entrepreneurship Week during what I (and a few colleagues – they know who they are) remember as the good old days of enterprise promotion.

This was before entrepreneurship was sexy – The Apprentice had only just launched (and was a decent night’s viewing) and universities and colleges would stare at me in disgust at the thought of their students becoming entrepreneurs or doing anything that didn’t involve the traditional Graduate Milkround.

I am pleased to see that times have changed. Over 140 countries are now signed up to take part in Global Entrepreneurship Week and there are more than 2,000 events all over the UK this year.

I truly feel that the UK has a strong culture of entrepreneurship. The business climate following the crash has changed for the better. Everyone recognises the value of entrepreneurship, not just as a career choice and endeavor, but as a way of operating.

Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation is celebrated (in my circles at least). Universities are tailoring courses to suit the needs of students that have aspirations to run a business whilst studying.

But it occurred to me this week that we rarely hear from young people and students about their expectations of business and the world of work.

They are the next and future generations that will create and grow the next Facebooks and Googles, and run Marks & Spencer and easyJet.

Part of my role as the director of Kensington Creates, a business incubator and hub at the Kensington Aldridge Academy, is to inspire and up-skill students with the attributes that most successful entrepreneurs and leaders have: things like ‘teamwork’ and ‘resilience’.

So I put this simple question to some of my students: what do you think business will be like in 2020, and what do today’s leaders need to consider for the future? This is what they said…

Zena El-Aaoud, 11, thinks…


I think more people will start their own businesses in the future. We are learning all of the skills entrepreneurs need to create great businesses, and we’re only 11! Just think what we’ll know and how smart we’ll be in 2020!

As an entrepreneur, I make it my job to be open to new opportunities so I think bigger businesses should watch out for the start-ups. By 2020, it will be a level-playing field and the amount of time a brand has been around won’t be that important anymore.

Josh Crawley, 11, thinks…


All businesses will focus on technology of some sort. We’ll be using something like broadband – but with a different name – that connects businesses all over the world faster than anything we’ve ever experienced.

I’ll be able to get a global job without having to leave my house, as home-working will probably take off. That’s one of the things we’ve been learning here. If you are entrepreneurial you can create your own way of working so that you are successful but on your own terms.

Andre Borgonzolo, 11, thinks…


There will be even more businesses and start-ups in 2020 simply because there will be more people with bright ideas and the means to make them happen.

New technology will help with this trend and entrepreneurs will use it create products and services that we can’t even imagine today, but that will be real and everyday by 2020. Having catchy, cool names, and working globally from day one will also be a given.

That’s not to say we won’t have smaller, more local charities operating too. Just make sure you are hiring! Youth unemployment worries me.

Maisie Wiggins, 11, thinks…


In 2020 all women will be paid the same as men for the work they do. We recently read an article on a school trip that said that women earn £9,060 less than men each year in management roles. This is not right, so I hope by 2020 this will be fixed.

If it’s not then I’ll start my own business so I can decide how much I am paid not someone else. I also know that business is about more than money, it’s about helping people so I think businesses in 2020 will be kinder, nicer and more caring to people and the planet.

So to summarise in three points:

1.      Business will be both local and global from day one.

2.      Women will be paid the same as men at every stage of their career.

3.      Technology will be at the heart of a business’s value proposition.

Do you agree? Disagree?

I think they have made some smart assumptions – and, after all, they will be the leaders of the future. I can guarantee it.  

Drop me a tweet with your ideas about business in 2020 @natdcampbell and I’ll ask Josh, Zena, Andre and Maisie if they agree, or not.

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