16 July, 2015 - 10:32 By Tony Quested

Digital from diapers – tech tots drive digital revolution

The most intransigent, old school corporate Canutes have no chance of holding back the tide of technology advance.

Record numbers of young people are starting their own businesses according to research firm Duedil and small business organisation Enterprise Nation.

The number of under-35s launching their own companies has risen by more than 70 per cent since 2006 – with the majority of new founders running digital ventures.

That spike in numbers in the last nine years is only the tip of the Bloomberg, digitally speaking. It is easy to envisage how these figures will continue to rise exponentially as coding skills blossom throughout primary and secondary schools.

Given that toddlers nowadays are as familiar with technology as Teddy bears and comfortable with using iPads it is also fair to assume that generations of tech tots from our ‘coding creches’ will drive down the average age of business ownership even further in future.

Cambridge entrepreneur Sherry Coutu says she is seeing a terrific appetite among secondary and primary school youngsters to pick the brains of business founders.

She launched Founders4Business in Cambridge so those with experience of launching companies could pass entrepreneurial skills to upcoming generations and inspire them to follow suit. It has gone national and now has 9,100 company founders enrolled to go into schools and share their experiences.

Digital business is creating a new kind of skilled workforce for the UK, chiefly because of its core sustainability. Technology, because of its innate ability to be evolved, isn’t perishable – or as hard to access such as textiles and fossil fuels.

Industry observers mourn the losses – inevitable as they were – of old industries and skills: The woollen industry in Leicestershire, textiles in Suffolk, mills in Lancashire and Yorkshire, mines and collieries the length and breadth of Britain, the shoe industry in Northampton and so on.

Technology, by its very nature, advances apace with knowledge, collaboration, convergence and constant upward revision.

The more people comfortable with using technology and the more innovators involved in developing it creates a virtuous circle that will further accelerate advances.

As a by-product, digital technology is also encouraging more social entrepreneurship globally as companies like ARM in Cambridge lead a campaign to educate and liberate women and children in poorer parts of the planet.

Digital from diapers – it is the future for our children and grandchildren and those who follow. And, as it will be increasingly ubiquitous, the continuously upspinning digital revolution will touch every aspect of peoples’ lives from learning and working to healthcare and humanitarian needs.

It’s not as easy to shut down peoples’ brains as it was to board up the mines and mills.

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