Orange Magazine

Millenials, “take action!” Interview with Oksana Vedminska, winner of SME Week Youth Essay Competition.

Text by Triin Ilves
Photos by SME Assembly 2017

Presenting her essay live at the SME Assembly 2017, Youth Essay Competition winner Oksana Vedminska said that entrepreneurship is one of the most effective tools that our global society can use to transform the world into a better place.

Triin Ilves from European Youth Press met Oksana, to discuss more on the expectations set on the new generation and the double-edged sword of the term “millenials”.


OM: During the past two days at the SME Assembly, we’ve been discussing future scenarios, changes, possibilities for upscaling. What do all these offer for us – to the new generation?

Oksana Vedminska: I believe we now have a lot of opportunities but we have to grab them and prioritise these. So let’s say that if I now want to develop in this direction, I want to try it, I definitely want to succeed and I see that it’s not mine and I fail, then I have to try again. As new generations, I believe we have to take the responsibility of what is happening in the world and to be prepared for the new challenges that will come from the vast internet use. And when we talked about the security measures on the Internet, we also have to think about it.

We have a lot of advantages but we also have to think about responsibilities that come with the digitalisation.


OM: Not to define the others as the older generation, but we have been labeled by the millenials by many others and this definition often comes with negative connotations. How do you as one of the millenials react to it? Do you agree with them or see a different perspective?

Yes, we are called millenials. But the not positive connotation does not mean that the future is not open for us. You have to find a compromise in your life. You have to find the middle-ground. You have to look what is happening with us, with all the digitalisation and think about the consequences.

A little bit of critics from the older generation is not bad. It shows you that they try to protect you and they try you to not make the mistakes which they already have made. We, the new generations, have to prove to the world that we are positive, we are flexible, we are all about new digital solutions, but we also remember security and helping each other about taking responsibility – to establish social enterprises for example.


OM: Based on your essay, what are the key takeaways for the future?

I would like to take the skills and ideas that we also talked about in the SME Assembly and develop them in different European countries and parts of the world in ways where they could be implemented. We have a problem that we still don’t pay too much attention to soft skills – in some countries they do it more, in others, they still have a traditional education system that needs to change. We need to take entrepreneurial skills and try to implement them to the educational systems in our own countries.


OM: Do you have some examples and practical advice on how to do it?

Each country has to look their own way because we can’t say that there is only one approach that works for everyone. You have to be specific, take local approach, identify the problems and then look for approaches, ideas that are suitable to your local area. Always be ready to adapt, to change them a little bit. This way you have something to start from. For example, I found the Ideas from Europe initiative from Finland very interesting. They implement entrepreneurial skills already to kindergarten and basic school. This shows that you have to start early. In my essay, I talk about the measures that you can take. We start with education, then we have to speak about all school levels as well as about the government. They have to take measures and first of all, develop a methodology to teachers and explain them how they have to teach others and how they have to teach themselves to apply new approaches. Then we have business sector. They are the potential sponsors for example to competitions which can take place in universities and schools. There are already some good examples, i.e. in Ukraine, Klitchko’s Fund selects most talented youth to provide them an opportunity to meet famous people and to get new ideas and to get experience.

At the end of the day, all sectors need to cooperate.


OM: How would you comment the argument that today’s education system is failing because we don’t teach the children the competences they need for the future?

That’s why we have to start already now. And I agree, I’ve experienced it on my own. Of course, it’s difficult to change the system overnight. What you can do, is to save yourself. Go online, speak with people and try to look for opportunities that are out there – conferences, workshops, competitions. Take initiative, use it, and after try to inspire others to do the same. Try to get professors, teachers involved with cool projects. Take action!

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About This Edition

SME Assembly 2017
Tallinn, Estonia
Nov. 2017