Reporters and researchers paint broad strokes about millennials being a generation of entrepreneurs. Inc. recently touted self-made billionaires age 36 and under, noting that millennials have surpassed baby boomers in becoming America’s largest population; many of which are also generating some serious cash. Forbes has also highlighted the richest millennial entrepreneurs in the U.S., with the usual suspects, including Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 32; Evan Spiegel, 26, and Brian Murphy, 28, co-founders of Snap, Inc. (formerly Snapchat); Nathan Blecharczyk, 33, Brian Chesky, 35, the co-founders of Airbnb; and Ben Silbermann, 34, the co-founder and CEO of Pinterest.
However, the reality is that millennials think about starting businesses more than they actual go about finding a way to become their own boss. SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, examined the emergence of millennial entrepreneurs—or millennipreneurs—to see how successful they are compared to previous generations.
SCORE’s Findings on Millennials Becoming Entrepreneurs
SCORE discovered is that millennials—individuals born between 1982 and 2000—lag behind previous generations, in terms of starting businesses, with only 4% reporting self-employment at age 30, compared to 5.3% of gen-Xers, and 6.8% of baby boomers. Notwithstanding, 55% believe that their generation is more entrepreneurial than past ones, even though the data suggests otherwise.
According to SCORE’s data, these lower numbers could be attributed to finances. Student debt has now reached 1.3 trillion dollars nationally. About 42% of millennials say they lack the financial means to start a business, while 81% of college-educated millennials have at least one source of debt, and 30% have more than one source of debt. The 2016 school year also showed some startling numbers; reportedly, some 9.6 million Americans with federal student loans can’t make their monthly payments.
Millennials Desire to Be the Boss
A majority of the 80 million millennials in the U.S. want to be entrepreneurs. SCORE data shows that millennials admire entrepreneurship, with 62% having thought about starting a business.
The reasons for wanting to start a business vary for millennials:
- 40% want to be their own boss.
- 21% want to feel passion for their job.
- 21% desire flexibility in time/location.
- 6% seek challenges and growth.
- 6% have found difficulty finding a job.
- 5% were laid off from a prior job.
Other key findings were that millennials plan for the future–and look forward to it:
- 35% of millennial entrepreneurs have a formal business plan, compared to just 27% of older entrepreneurs.
- 42% have a cyber attack plan, compared to just 13% of older entrepreneurs.
- 51% have a disaster recovery plan, compared to just 30% of older entrepreneurs.
- 77% are optimistic about the future, compared to just 51% of older entrepreneurs.
A Helpful Resource for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Regardless of age, all entrepreneurs can and should take advantage of SCORE’s free small business mentoring and educational resources. Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s over 10,000 volunteer business experts provide more than 350,000 free small business mentoring sessions, workshops, and educational services to clients in over 300 chapters nationwide.