Twenty percent of students want to start their own business, with most of them wanting to do business in a way that it is not harmful to the environment. They are even willing to renounce a part of potential profit in order to achieve that. Seven out of ten young people would abandon their idea if it appears that it is harmful to the environment. The survey was conducted in January among 550 secondary-school and university students aged 18-25 by IPSOS for T-Mobile Takeoffs, a project aimed at supporting start-up businesses.
“In recent editions of the project, we have clearly seen that beginning entrepreneurs are placing increased emphasis on protection of the environment. Last year, nearly 40% of the winning projects took environmental responsibility into consideration,” says Eva Karasová, CSR Manager at T-Mobile Czech Republic, adding: “Therefore, we have decided this year to award the special Prize for Responsible Business for the first time. At the same time, we have commissioned a survey to find out young people’s views with respect to doing business and its relationship to the environment.” In the jubilee tenth edition of the T-Mobile Takeoffs project, the Prize for the Best Technological Solution will also be awarded. Business ideas and projects that have been started only recently can be registered in the competition until 24 February 2020.
Young men are bolder when it comes to having plans to do business: 30% of male students want to start their own business in the future as compared with only 15% of young female respondents. Sixty-four percent of students have not yet made up their minds, but are considering working for themselves. Young people are attracted to having their own business in particular by the freedom that it would afford them, which was an answer given by two-thirds of respondents. The other reasons include financial independence (55%) and the possibility of pursing their hobby (48%). “The survey shows that the new generation no longer needs any certainties or regular salary. Sixteen percent of those who are planning or considering starting their own business do not ever want to be employed,” says Eva Karasová, commenting on the results.
And what is, in the opinion of young people, the meaning of conducting business? It’s not just profits, which was mentioned in first place by one-third of the respondents. For another third, it is making their dreams come true. The third most frequent response was the quality of the product or service offered. What is great, however, is that consideration for the environment ranked only one place below. Moreover, seven out of ten (68.5%) of current students claim that they would abandon their business idea if it appears that it would cause an excessive burden on the environment.
“Students even said that they would be willing to renounce a part of their profit in order for their future company to do business in a sustainable manner, save water and plastics and not produce unnecessary packaging, take into consideration the health and opinions of employees, and treat suppliers fairly. Forty-five percent of respondents would be willing to renounce 5%-10% of their profit, one-third of respondents up to 30% and ten percent of respondents would even give up half of their profit,” adds Eva Karasová, quoting the outcome of the survey.
“The results confirm what we see in our practice. Our organisation, whose aim is to foster the development of the circular economy and sustainable business in the Czech Republic, is regularly approached by dozens of students who are interested in an internship that would complement their knowledge gained at school. Continuation of their efforts in the form of an opportunity to implement their own projects within various acceleration programmes is a great step towards finding meaningful work,” says Soňa Jonášová, director of the Institute of Circular Economy, commenting on the results of the survey.
This is the tenth year that the T-Mobile Takeoffs project has supported start-up businesses. A total of 4,079 projects have been registered in the programme so far, with CZK 42.5 million having been distributed among 462 winners and thousands of hours of consultations donated by experts. The last two editions saw a significant increase in both the number of applications and winners with various forms of sustainable business. “In the last edition, one-eighth of all competing projects featured an element of sustainability. Thirty-seven percent of the winning projects involved responsible business, such as Steeblo glass straws and EBUU children’s clothing rental service,” explains Eva Karasová. Therefore, a special national prize was added this year: the most responsible project will receive a financial support of CZK 150,000 and a package of telecommunications services.
The competing projects also include an increasing number of technological ideas, which is also in line with the outcome of the survey: 24% of students want to start a tech company. Therefore, T-Mobile Takeoffs will newly select the best technological project among all regional winners. The key criteria will be the usefulness, level of advancement and quality of the technological solution.
T-Mobile Takeoffs is a long-term programme aimed at supporting start-up businesses. It offers free regional workshops on issues relating to starting a business; another part of the programme involves a competition for the best business idea and business plan. From 27 January until 24 February, those who have not yet started a business or who have had a business license in relation to a particular idea for less than 12 months can register in the competition at www.rozjezdy.cz. In each region, three programme participants can win and receive financial support, advisory services from experts in different areas of business, packages of services and tangible prizes. The national winner is selected by the jury. The innovations of this year’s edition are the Prize for the Best Technological Solution and the Prize for Responsible Business. In addition to that, online voting is held to determine the winner of the Prize of the Public. The Czech Management Association awards the Special Prize for Young Talents. Free regional workshops that are open to the broader public take place in March and April in five cities: Plzeň, České Budějovice, Brno, Olomouc and Prague.
The partners of this year’s edition of T-Mobile Takeoffs are AZ Legal, Connect Economic Group, Czech Management Association, Expertia, Samsung and Seznam.cz. The expert partners are Proboston and AC&C Public Relations, and the regional partners are DEPO 2015, the Faculty of Social and Economic Studies of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, Innovation Centre of the Ústí nad Labem Region, South Bohemian Science and Technology Park, South Moravian Innovation Centre, Plzeň Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lipo.ink, P-PINK, Central Bohemian Innovation Centre and Technology Centre Hradec Králové.