Entrepreneurial Enthusiasm

Having watched their parents and older siblings fall prey to massive job layoffs in corporate America, today’s youth are, not surprisingly, enthusiastic about becoming entrepreneurs. Roughly 41% of teens (those age 13 to 18) believe that owning a business provides greater job security than working for a company. Moreover, about 81% believed that there is greater job satisfaction in owning a business than in working for someone else, according to the 2003 Interprise Poll on Entrepreneurship conducted by Junior Achievement, a nonprofit organization that provides in-school and after-school programs in such areas as economics, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.

When asked if they would like to start their own business someday, 75% responded yes, while 18% said no. Moreover, African American youth were more likely to denote a willingness to become entrepreneurs compared to white teens, 86% versus 69%. More boys, at 80%, than girls, at 71%, expressed a desire to become entrepreneurs.

Young people are fully aware of the challenges involved with starting a business. Only 11% perceived that their efforts would be easy or very easy while almost half, or 49%, believed that starting a business would be somewhat challenging.

Nearly half, or 49%, of the teens believed that independence was the primary reason people became entrepreneurs. Having a great idea and wanting to see it in action was the second choice, at 32%.
What factors would derail today’s youth from pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations? Not enough money to get a business started, 38%, and fear of failure, 29%, were the top two reasons. This is the exact reverse of JA’s 2000 survey, which showed that fear of failure, at 39%, was the most commonly cited reason for not starting a business, while 28% of the teens cited not having enough money.