Young Upstarts

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Ten Reasons Entrepreneurs Keep Getting Younger

Have you noticed? Entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger these days. It’s not at all uncommon to see entrepreneurs in college, high school, and even younger.

But why does there seem to be such a boom in young entrepreneurship? It can’t all be about following in Mark Zuckerberg’s footsteps.

We’ve discovered 10 big reasons why more and more young entrepreneurs are stepping out on their own.

  1. They’re being supported and encouraged:

    Entrepreneurship speakers report that they’re more frequently getting invitations to speak at high schools and colleges these days, and when they do, kids actually listen. Not only that, there’s an endless list of organizations devoted to helping young entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground, from college business incubators to those that start at a young age like Lemonade Day. Colleges especially are a great resource for young entrepreneurs, offering both business incubators, cheap labor, professors who are happy to mentor, and resources like free computer labs.

  2. They’re not finding jobs:

    It’s difficult to find a job these days, especially with limited experience like so many students. For some recent grads, it’s simply easier to make their own jobs. This has sparked a trend of “involuntary entrepreneurship,” wherein those who would have adopted a corporate life become entrepreneurs instead. Many launched small businesses to tide them over until they could find a “real” job and eventually just stopped looking when their new venture stuck.

  3. Young workers don’t want a real job:

    There are some who turn to entrepreneurship in desperation when they can’t find a real job, but others prefer to skip the job market altogether. These young people are opting out of the lifestyle that’s been promised to them by so many parents, grandparents, and professors. Rather than searching for a job, they create one for themselves, one that they actually like. So many have decided that corporate America just isn’t for them, instead choosing to pursue a life that’s more challenging and flexible, with a work-life balance that they can define all on their own.

  4. Young startup founders get more funding:

    It’s not fair, but it’s true: investors just like whiz kids better than anyone else. Why? Investors are more inclined to support those that attract young customers. It’s a hot market, and young entrepreneurs are the most likely ones to break into it. Even Inc. joked that venture capital firms these days practically have a “No Old People Need Apply” sign hanging on their doors. They’ve seen the teen to 30 set launch successful companies time and time again, and they’re more likely to support the younger generation of entrepreneurs. This makes things infinitely easier for young entrepreneurs to get launched, and attracts more and more of them to the game of entrepreneurship.

  5. Younger entrepreneurs are more confident:

    We’ve all heard that if you believe in yourself, you’re more likely to succeed. And that’s exactly what’s happening with today’s young entrepreneurs: they simply believe they’re going to do well, and they do. A recent survey indicated that nearly all — 98% — of 18- to 30-year-old entrepreneurs are confident that their business will experience greater profitability in the year to come, even among lowered expectations for the U.S. economy. In this situation, inexperience is an advantage. They simply don’t know what can’t be done. Whether it’s foolhardy or smart, these young entrepreneurs are working hard to turn their positive predictions into a reality.

  6. They’re not weighed down by commitments:

    As entrepreneurs grow older, their commitments increase and they grow accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Often, a full-time job, house, family, even aging parents can take up time in a would-be entrepreneur’s busy schedule. Kids in high school or college are typically free of the commitments that can keep them from exploring their dreams. And although they may not have as much money as older entrepreneurs, they also often have the advantage of a fresh credit score and fewer bills to pay, making it easy to find bootstrapping cash to get off the ground.

  7. Young entrepreneurs have less to lose:

    The aforementioned commitments also function as liabilities. College students typically don’t have a house or job to lose if they fail, so they’re more likely to take the leap. Older would-be entrepreneurs may shy away from opportunities, fearing that they’ll lose everything they’ve worked hard for up to that point. In fact, failure in small business can be a good thing for young entrepreneurs. Studies show that although failure is frightening for entrepreneurs, it comes with a promise of increased success: 10% of first-time entrepreneurs will make it, but that figure more than doubles to more than 20% for entrepreneurs who have experienced at least one failure. At the very least, young entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that they have taken the initiative to start out on their own and learned from their mistakes are very valuable to employers.

  8. They know their market better:

    The under-30 set love to spend, and they often have plenty of disposable cash to burn. Who better to create and market products to them than their very own generation? An endless stream of iPod accessories, tech solutions, and fun fashion ventures are being created for young people, by young people. They’re essentially making products for themselves.

  9. Young entrepreneurs are no longer unusual:

    Mark Zuckerberg did more than create Facebook, he made it mainstream for college kids to start a business. When in years past, young entrepreneurs may have been met with apprehension, they’re now viewed with excitement. We’ve seen so many successful businesses borne out of college dorm rooms that it’s no longer weird to jump into entrepreneurship at a young age, and that makes it easier for young entrepreneurs to find acceptance, resources, and friends in business.

  10. Young entrepreneurs are more willing to pour themselves into their business:

    Sure, this one’s debatable, but so often, we see young entrepreneurs sharing more excitement, personality, and commitment than their older counterparts. Young entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to spend late night after late night launching a business. Sometimes, the personality of the business takes on that of the founder, and vice versa. The kind of excitement that young entrepreneurs typically bring to the table grows quickly.


This article was first posted in Online MBA.

This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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