Eight things you didn't know about millennial entrepreneurs

A bumper new start-up survey reveals what makes the next generation of entrepreneurs tick.

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 06 Jul 2016

From all the hoopla surrounding so-called millennials - the cohort of people aged roughly 18-24 sometimes characterised as the ‘Special snowflakes’ - you could be forgiven for thinking that the generation gap is widening into a generation chasm that any 40-plus old crusty simply cannot cross.

But the truth as always is more nuanced than the hype, as a big new global start-up survey from SME accounts outfit Sage reveals. Questioning no fewer than 7,400 entrepreneurs aged 18-34 across a whopping 16 countries, the survey provides some important insights into the motivations, attitudes and expectations of a much discussed but equally much misunderstood group of people.

The findings may surprise you, but if you want to know what really makes millennial entrepreneurs get out of bed in the morning, read on.

They put principle ahead of profit…

61% overall are quite prepared to take a smaller return in order to stay true to their personal ethos, and only 21% say they started their business primarily to make money.

…But they are ambitious and impatient to get on

65% expect to start more than one business in their lifetimes, and 33% want to become famous entrepreneurs within five years.

Shared values really matter to them

33% say they strive to recruit staff who share the same personal values, and another third say they look for employees who have the same level of ambition and drive.

They believe in disruptive change…

41% believe that mobile working is the future, and that smartphones will have made the concept of ‘your desk’ defunct within a decade.

…But they aren’t as digitally-dependant as you think

45% are confident that they could run their businesses using only technology that was available 20 years ago.  This figure rises to 51% in the US.

They have an acutely-developed social conscience

69% are driven to run their own businesses by the prospect of being able to make a difference and do real social good. This figure is highest in Brazil at 81%.

They are independent and hard working – especially the Brits

34% are driven by the desire to be masters of their own destiny, with 36% in the UK whose key motivation is being their own boss. Brits and Belgians are also the most likely to prioritise work over socialising (42% and 43% respectively).

Aussies really want to retire early

70% of Australian millennial entrepreneurs say they want to retire early. Chuck another prawn on the Barbie, mate!


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