Why do millennials naturally excel as entrepreneurs? A combination of both the age in which they were raised and the culture that they have emerged into has led to a generation of independent thinkers.
Quick takeaways if you’re in a hurry
- In Manta 2015 research, 66 percent of small business owners surveyed believed that millennials will lead the way in entrepreneurship in the future
- Millennials have an idea set of characteristics to allow them to excel as entrepreneurs
- In the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 70 percent of millennials stated that they might reject traditional business to work independently.
Read on: Why Generation Y Entrepreneurs are the Future
(estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
You may be familiar with the term ‘millennial’, and if you are it may not have positive associations. A millennial is someone who was born (approximately) between 1980 and 2000. They are also referred to as Generation Y or less kindly as ‘Generation Me’ because they have a reputation for being challenging to manage in the corporate environment.
Recently the business world has begin to witness their unexpected emergence as the next successful group of entrepreneurs. But given their ability to think outside the box and their drive and determination, the rise of generation Y entrepreneurs may not be such a surprise after all.
Manta research conducted in 2015 delved into the relationship between millennials and small businesses. Of small business owners surveyed, 66 percent believed that millennials will lead the way in entrepreneurship in the future. Their entrepreneurial skills are born of their age. Millennial entrepreneurs are growing in number as they create their own opportunities in today’s business world.
Why do millennials take on the mantle of entrepreneur?
The business world
Millienials have a reputation for being difficult to satisfy in the corporate marketplace: it’s worth exploring where this comes from. The millennial workforce is highly educated, and many graduated at the time of, or just after, the economic crisis. This meant that they emerged with debt to pay into a marketplace of corporates who were down-sizing or at putting a stop to recruitment. Not a promising environment for a job search: and many millennials found it hard to find the roles they were looking for.
A shift in expectation
Further to the challenge of the market condition, was the challenge of meeting the millennial’s desire to find the right kind of business. In the 2014 Deloitte Millennial Survey, results indicated that this generation of workers need to both value and be valued by their companies. 75 percent of respondents felt that businesses could do more to develop future leaders. 78 percent of those surveyed cared about how innovative a company was when deciding whether to work there. Millennials surveyed demonstrated that purpose had a role as important as money. The survey asked whether businesses could contribute more to society and those surveyed responded that 68 percent wanted more action from businesses about resource scarcity; 65 percent wanted to see more done about climate change; and 64 percent sought more action on wage inequality.
Generation Y does not restrict their personal values to their personal time. The boundaries between private and working life have been blurred as mobile technology makes us increasingly connected. The clear lines that define working time no longer exist, and so for this generation personal beliefs have gained increased importance in a working environment. If millennials can not support their beliefs in their work, they look elsewhere. In the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 70 percent of millennials stated that they might reject traditional business to work independently.
What makes Generation Y so entrepreneurial?
Entrepreneurs to admire
When millennials do make the move to start up their own businesses, they bring a highly entrepreneurial disposition to their roles. And is it any wonder when they were raised with inspiring new leaders like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or a wealth of new entrepreneurs to look to for inspiration? Earlier generations had looked up to big corporations and powerful CEOs for role models. Millennials instead saw real people able to shake up the world with a well executed idea.
Millennials like to collaborate and recognise the immense benefits it offers in achieving a goal. They are very different from their predecessor’s whose focus was secrecy, privacy, and ensuring that the competition never found out what you were working on. For Generation Y there is great value placed in learning, especially from the knowledge and experience of those around them. There’s a tendency to throw out the old ways of working in favour of the way that will deliver the result: and team working is recognised as a great driver of big innovation.
Immensely tech-savvy and driven
More so than any generation that preceded them, Generation Y grew up with changing technology and an increased awareness of how to use it to achieve their goals. The technological knowledge of millennials is of huge benefit to them in starting up business and functioning as entrepreneurs. They have the ability to drive results because they understand the capabilities of the systems they require to run their business. Millennials see beyond current technology and accept that the future is filled with further advancements that they can make happen.
For millennial entrepreneurs, success in business is not just about driving profit and revenue. They are more in touch with their relationships with the world around them, and this impacts what they consider to be their responsibility. For a business to achieve success it should consider: its impact on the environment; the way it treats people locally and globally; and what it can do to improve the world around it.
Experts in innovation
The desire to challenge the way that things work can be frustrating in a corporate environment, but it is the lifeblood of an entrepreneur. Millennial entrepreneurs are not limited by how things have been done before, or why things cannot change. They are an immensely innovative group of people, skilled in using need to drive development and look beyond the limitation of what currently exists.
The innovation of the millennial entrepreneur is not limited by boundaries and so is not confined to products and services. The workplace of this generation is highly innovative, with a focus on flexible working and the right ways of working to achieve results. They have no emotional attachment to traditional offices, meetings and hierarchical working. The millennial entrepreneur creates a working environment that reflects the importance of delivering results and living life. Work-life boundaries are no longer applicable because millennials think beyond two different ways of being. All time should be productive and rewarding and the goals carry across the day.
When they arrived in the workplace, the millennial employee was seen as a challenge because of their desire for change, need for recognition, and lack of belief in the way that things are done. Their evolution into the role of entrepreneurs is a natural fit for their inquisitive and innovative nature.
Millennials may have been dissatisfied with their position in corporations, but now they have the opportunity to redefine how business functions from within their own start ups. They have used the perceived failings of their predecessors as an effective springboard to creating their own futures. Their focus on innovation and far-sightedness has created an age of entrepreneurs. And we can all expect exciting times ahead.
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