For some, the end of lockdown means the beginning of the lingering impacts of the pandemic on employment.
With jobs cut, internships and training schemes on hold or cancelled, having a months-long summer holiday with no work to do is not something any aspirational young person would look forward to.
However, Zack Fortag, a 19-year-old CEO at Ahead of Time Academy (ATA) believes there is still hope and sees this as a time to create new skills and work for yourselves.
The young entrepreneur, who describes himself as “never a massive fan of school…and very business-minded”, started his own business at the age of 15, providing training for young people aged between 15 and 25.
The training programmes include business management, finance and support on mental health.
Zack said: “The two biggest challenges for young people in this pandemic are adapting and financing.
“Adapting is a huge skill for any successful young CEO, every business owner will face challenges – it is how you deal with them that matters.
He added: “It is important to help young people start a business as they are next generation and entrepreneurs are key to society and the economy.
“The more successful young entrepreneurs we have, the more jobs will be created and [the more] successful the nation will be.”
It turned out Zack’s passion has not only helped Desi Vasileva find his life goal, but also made it come true.
After participating in several webinars presented by ATA, Desi said this has helped him creating his own business.
He added: “I learned more about how to prevent getting into debts while running my business or starting it.
“I also had the opportunity to learn a lot about university life and many essential skills and have managed to better my mindset.”
The 17-year-old lad from Co. Fermanagh Northern Ireland, who told he was once struggling with “finding purpose in life”, now runs his own business which aims to help young people identify their hidden potentials and, more importantly, develop them.
“There are so many people out there who don’t know what to do and haven’t found their passion yet, so they go and do something they don’t enjoy, ending up in a never-ending circle of stress and worries,” said Desi.
He continued, “I want to change that, this is why I’d like to base my business on helping others find their strengths and work on developing them further.”
Like Desi, Connie Burdett, a 20-year-old student at University of Exeter, said she found ATA’s webinars on mental health and being a young entrepreneur informative and inspiring.
Online courses available on the website have broadened her knowledge in Content Creation and Social Media Marketing – areas where she has a great interest in.
“It helps most with inspiring me and helping me realise that I can do anything put my mind to, no matter how young I am,” said Connie.
Ahead of Time Academy also helps young people to connect with successful young business owners.
For more information about the programme, as well as accessing videos and and webinars designed for young aspiring entrepreneurs, please visit their website.
By Na Qing
Feature image credit (modified): Zack Fortag