I’ve enjoyed speaking to several of Gen Z’s rising star entrepreneurs for my column. These young and ambitious entrepreneurs are leading the way for an entirely new generation that seems to have a strong interest in entrepreneurship.
When I heard about Anton Klingspor, I was excited to meet him. He’s created exponential growth in his family’s business that is in a traditional market that is literally centuries.
Anton isn’t your average 17-year-old — he’s dabbled in both venture capital and social entrepreneurship before sitting in his first college course. His story, intersecting with his family’s background, shows his novel approach to developing his family’s existing company.
Originally developing a metalworking company in the late middle ages to produce knights’ armor, his family later became interested in industrial production and the innovation of abrasive technologies.
Abrasive technology, a critical component in the production cycle of anything from sportscars to skyscrapers, remains essential in general industry even today.
In order to streamline and develop a sense of efficiency for his everyday tasks and stay productive, he used various tools like LinkedIn Lead Builder and Facebook Workplace to collaborate with his teammates seamlessly and efficiently.
LinkedIn’s service is essential to his everyday activities, as valuable web addresses and phone numbers can be collected efficiently with Lead Builder. Facebook Workplace, on the other hand, allows for rapid communication and makes it easy for his team to stay on the same page.
He had the luxury of learning from his parents and grandparents about marketing, finance, and computer science. He was able to practically apply a lot of what he learned from his elders towards a functioning business. This gave him a full-circle learning experience that he really couldn’t find anywhere else, including school.
That’s not to say that high school or any other level of education isn’t important; he thinks overall, the supplemental education that he received from his elders as well as from applying what he learned is what has allowed him to really understand what he had been taught.
However, it’s a huge strength to absorb the experiences of one’s elders; whether they be one’s parents, grandparents, or advisors, it’s essential to learn from what they’ve done right and wrong in order to shape the way one operates.
There’s nothing more wasteful, in my view, than ignoring the advice of people more experienced than you are. Whether you accept someone’s advice is up to you, but hearing people out often saves a lot of time for the young entrepreneurs.
I certainly can vouch for this as I’ve learned a ton of skills, including patenting, product marketing, raising money, and business development, all from my upbringing that I think ended up not only getting me interested in entrepreneurship but also gave me some level of know-how so I could go out there and “just do it.”
Anton has proven that new ideas from Generation Z can be implemented right now in even the oldest of industries. When a company’s growth becomes stagnant, innovative ideas are needed to propel the company forward toward increased profitability.
Gen Z may still be coming of age but they seem to be wasting no time in making an impact.