Young kids are lazy, uninterested and spend most of their time staring at their smartphones? The panellists of the “Youth Will Inherit the World…As Soon as the Adults Allow it” panel managed to make us think otherwise. “We are much more tolerant, we are the drivers of change that leads to a better world, we volunteer more and we are socially responsible. We are an optimistic generation that is capable of great things, but the older generations that pull all the strings have to help us in that. If you don´t listen to use, you might miss out on so many great ideas” said 18-year old Alma Džafić, member of the II. Gymnasium Debate club from Zagreb.
For Ante Toni Debelić to participate on this panel, the organizers had to ask for his parents´ permission because he is still a minor. Even so, with his 17 years of age, he is the owner of a company whose value is estimated at several million dollars and its investments will be around a million dollars next year. The idea of GrowCity, a food cultivation system executable anywhere in the world regardless of the weather conditions, came to him during his spring break holidays. He started to skip classes and work on his project, and even though everyone started calling him a failure, his parents gave him all the support necessary. GrowCity was named the best high school start-up idea in Croatia, one of the 50 best start-up ideas in the world according to the World Business Angels Investments forum; and according to Express magazine, Ante is one of 100 Croatian reformists. “My piece of advice is for everyone to think outside the box, break the rules and work on their ideas” said Toni.
Matej Lončarić of 24sata came up with the idea of Joomboos that marked the start of a revolution in the media world. Lončarić said that for a long time, none of his superiors took him seriously or understood what he was talking about, but once he finally got his chance, Joomboos strung one success after another. He admits that today, as a 31-year old, he doesn´t understand the “new kids”, but following his own example, he is always willing to listen.
Tamara Kojić, a Serbian activist, started the “Kilometar kose” (Kilometre of hair) project with a friend. They collect hair from 55 hair salons in Serbia and donate it to make wigs for child cancer patients. When they first started out three years ago, no one took them seriously nor wanted to help.
“The online communication would be very trustful, but once they met us face to face, they would think we were just a couple of students who have no idea what they are doing. We had to do everything ourselves. I started our first Facebook page by googling “how to open a Facebook page”. When you see us young kids on our smartphones, we might be doing something smart. But I disagree with the title of this panel. I belong to the rude generation. I will not wait for you to give us what we need, we already took that”, stated Tamara and said that the generation gap is an imaginary construct which we have to set ourselves free of those constraints. “Kilometar kose” is a successful project, and just imagine how successful it would be if we worked on it together”, she concluded.