Entrepreneurial Enthusiasm

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.