The dreams vs. reality of young entrepreneurism

Posted On February 10, 2015

With the near-extinction of “the company man” in today’s workforce, more and more workers dream of taking control of their own destiny. Generational research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation indicates that half to two-thirds of Millennials are interested in entrepreneurship. Yet a recent study conducted by The Wall Street Journal shows only 3.6% of professionals under 30 own stock in a private company, down from 10.6% in 1989 and even 6.1% as recently as 2010. So why doesn’t desire equate to action? Where to begin…

Money is certainly a key factor. With Millennials coming into the workforce at the height of the recession and with historically high student loan balances, traditional lending sources have not been as accessible. This includes loans from parents who had renewed fears over funding their own retirements. But the Journal surmises there is more to it than that. In particular, the challenges facing a start-up today are different than in 1989. In particular, the Internet and globalization set the price of entry much higher than in the past. The article goes on to lament the loss of ideas that may come with this decline in entrepreneurism.

So let’s do some simple logic. Entrepreneurism is valued by, but seemingly out of reach of, Millennials. Corporations are seeking to attract and retain Millennials. Entrepreneurism is critical to the very fiber of capitalism. What if more corporations started acting like start-ups? Or at the very least create incubators within the company to foster entrepreneurial ideas.

Has your company taken a traditional corporate environment and made room for the entrepreneurial desires of the younger generations? Do you think it could?

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Entrepreneurship, Generation Y / Millennials