Entrepreneurship Among Millennials is Lower Than Among Prior Generations

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The Millennial generation has often been described as one of self-starting wunderkinds with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Poll after poll, study after study, have suggested more Millennials might ditch the idea of a traditional job to work independently.

Mark Zuckerberg put a face on the idea that Millennials could do it all without ever punching a clock. At 32, the founder of Facebook reportedly is sitting on a fortune worth more than $50 billion. Dropping out of college and launching a start-up never looked so good.

But reality, so far anyway, is quite a bit different.

Entrepreneurship among Millennials is lower than among prior generations, according to a 2016 report out of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.

In 2014, fewer than 2% of Millennials reported self-employment, compared with 7.6% for Generation X and 9.3% for Baby Boomers. Research indicates there is indeed a relative scarcity of Millennial entrepreneurs, according to the report “The Missing Millennial Entrepreneurs.”

Daniel Wilmoth, research economist for Office of Advocacy, said Millennials have a strong interest in entrepreneurship, based on many surveys. But Millennials aren’t starting new businesses at the same pace as earlier generations.

It’s hard to know the exact reason, but Wilmoth says some growth in new start-ups depends on the development of new technology and many breakthroughs took place before many Millennials were born.

The oldest Millennials are just 34 or 35, depending where one marks the Millennial generation. And many of the youngest wouldn’t be running start-ups in their early 20s. But even so, some experts are expressing concern that Millennials might end up starting fewer businesses than expected.

New restaurants, boutiques, online start-ups and the like can all generate jobs and boost economic growth. A low level of entrepreneurship among Millennials could hold back small business and job growth in communities.

“Entrepreneurship is an important source of jobs and innovation,” Wilmoth said.

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Source: USA Today | Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press