Our Image of an Entrepreneur Desperately Needs an Update
“Young people are just smarter,” Mark Zuckerberg infamously said to 650 aspiring entrepreneurs at a Y Combinator Startup School event in 2007. His logic was straightforward—young people lead simpler lives, so they’re able to focus on big-picture problems. Now that Zuckerberg is in his thirties, I’m not sure he’d still agree—in fact, I’m confident he wouldn’t.
But this idea continues to resonate. Silicon Valley still fetishizes youth, and a lot of people probably see 22-year-old Zuckerberg as the archetype of a founder. Research confirms that many people perceive young entrepreneurs to be more driven and more capable of solving significant challenges.
There’s just one problem. A substantive and growing body of data tells us this picture is dead wrong. A study released in 2017 reveals that the average age of a startup founder is 42. The rate of new entrepreneurs in the US is actually highest among those aged 45-54, and lowest for 20-34-year-olds.
16 Young And Successful Entrepreneurs Who Prove That Age Is Nothing but a Number
Self-employment has been blossoming over the past decade. In this age of internet and technology, people are now more confident to try and sell their ideas and hit the road to success. With even the basic skills like knowing how to create a website or marketing products online, people can reach out to the world and showcase their talent.
A study conducted in the year 2015 revealed that about 14% of the total working population in the U.S. was into running a business of their own and we all know that the numbers have been growing since then.
Each day while we drive, when we shower or go through a boring lecture, our minds come up with some of the most intriguing ideas that can potentially become big business plans, but we tend to ignore them as we are never looking to make anything out of it. Our brains are idea machines, but only a few of us go ahead to make these ideas big.
One of the most common complaints of the people who bloom late and succeed in the later ages of their lives is that they didn’t dare enough to sell their ideas sooner. Ironically, one of the most common excuses among the youth is that they are not old enough to start their own business. It is never too early or late to become successful in your life.
Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught in a Classroom?
In early April, a Thai student in our entrepreneurship class saw a shortage of high quality, low cost hand sanitizer across Thailand. To support the Covid relief effort and generate revenue, he quickly shifted his family’s medical supply company to sanitizer production. Closer to home, when Dollaride, a business incubated in NYU’s Future Labs, recognized that the pandemic had eliminated demand for their shared commuting van business in New York, they refreshed their business model to leverage their existing vans, technology, and routes to support burgeoning package delivery demands.
Neither entrepreneur followed a typical business school approach when deciding to pivot their business: they didn’t conduct a long-term market analysis, develop a business plan, or weigh various alternative approaches. In fact, had they done these analyses, they might have concluded that the short-term gains wouldn’t justify the retooling investment, or they might have gotten stuck trying to figure out how to estimate the duration of the pandemic or how soon global manufacturing might recover. Instead, they simply took action based on the resources at their disposal.
Importance of Youth Entrepreneurship
The importance of youth entrepreneurship is huge. Yet sometimes, teachers and professors do not know how to promote entrepreneurship among youth properly.
Things have changed a lot in the last 20 years. Teenagers do not have the same attitude and mindset as before. Youth entrepreneurship becomes more and more popular on a daily basis. The development of Internet Technology gives us many business opportunities. It really doesn’t matter how old you are. Everyone has equal chances to achieve his business goals.
Because of that, it doesn’t need to surprise us that youth entrepreneurship became some kind of trend.
Why Young Entrepreneurs Are Positioned to Succeed
Entrepreneurship is a unique field in which many of the most successful people are actually quite young and found their success in their early twenties, rather than decades later after years of climbing a corporate ladder. There are many reasons why young people are well-suited to entrepreneurial success, and as long as they have the ambition and confidence to move forward with their ideas, these young people are likely to continue to dominate this field.
That said, it’s important that we reinforce their capabilities and equip these adolescents, teens, and young adults with the tools, resources, and support to try their hand at entrepreneurship in the first place. This encouragement can come from supportive parents, entrepreneurial clubs and programs in schools, and business-building extracurricular programs like Beta Bowl, that help give students their first positive entrée into the world of entrepreneurship. In case you needed a refresher on why teens are such perfect candidates for entrepreneurial success, just keep reading.
Who are the entrepreneurs?
Recently, the Kauffman Foundation released its annual Index of Entrepreneurial Activity looking at entrepreneurism in the United States. Here’s a breakdown of some of their numbers that give us a good picture of what entrepreneurs look like today.
Entrepreneurism has increased greatly within the Latino community, up to a 20% share of all American entrepreneurs from just 11% in 1996. Asian entrepreneurs increased to 6%. The percentage of black entrepreneurs declined slightly, going from 8% to 9% in 2013. White entrepreneurs made up 76% of entrepreneurs in 1996, but just 61% of entrepreneurs in 2013.
Diversity In Entrepreneurship: What We Can Do To Create A Level Playing Field
What inspires someone to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve often wondered what gives some people the energy and focus to take their idea and turn it into reality. I know so many others who dream but don’t ever take action to venture out on their own. They love working and contributing to an organization as part of a team and enjoy the security that comes with it.
But for some of us, entrepreneurship is like an itch that demands to be scratched. For me, it’s the challenge of creating something that makes an impact on people’s lives.
Creating a viable business requires more than just a great idea. There are the long hours and a commitment to doing the work without knowing if your work is going in the right direction or not. Of course, it also requires capital, sound decision making, strategy, the right team and luck. Without these ingredients, the business starves and fails. And even with these, the odds are the business will not make it.
The Diversity of Entrepreneurs in the U.S.
New businesses are popping up every day. In fact, an estimated 550,000 open up each month just in the United States.
Of these businesses, approximately 60 percent are launched by men, but women aren’t far behind, launching businesses at six times the national average. Of these female entrepreneurs, African American women are the fastest growing demographic.
Unfortunately though, launching a business doesn’t equate to success. Three-fourths of new businesses only last a year. Your best bet is to open a business in finance, insurance or real estate, which have the highest survival rates in the country.
Don’t let that discourage you though. The world needs entrepreneurs and new businesses: They create jobs, offer new products and/or services, help the economy grow, boost communities and sometimes even spark social change.
Black Americans share in flurry of business startups
There has been a surge in startups in America that experts have yet to fully explain. But a new study — using data that allows researchers to more precisely track new businesses across time and place — finds that the surge coincides with federal stimulus, and is strongest in Black communities.
Across a number of states, the pace of weekly business registrations more than doubled in the months after the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed in March 2020. Business registrations rose again, by 60%, around the period of the supplementary aid package signed in December. Coinciding with the third wave of stimulus in March, weekly business registrations have been up by 20%, but the data is less complete.
Small Businesses Have Surged in Black Communities. Was It the Stimulus?
Over the last year, multiple stimulus measures from the federal government have helped families buy groceries, pay rent and build a financial cushion. This aid might have also helped start a new era of entrepreneurship.
There has been a surge in start-ups in America that experts have yet to fully explain. But a new study — using data that allows researchers to more precisely track new businesses across time and place — finds that the surge coincides with federal stimulus, and is strongest in Black communities.
Across a number of states, the pace of weekly business registrations more than doubled in the months after the CARES Act was signed in March 2020. Business registrations rose again, by 60 percent, around the period of the supplementary aid package signed in December. Coinciding with the third wave of stimulus in March, weekly business registrations have been up by 20 percent, but the data is less complete.
Female Entrepreneurship Is on the Rise
Women are founding companies at a historic rate, with more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today.
Over the past 15 years, these women-owned firms have grown at a rate 1.5 times other small businesses and are estimated to provide more than 5 million jobs by 2018.
There’s still a long way to go though — female-led businesses only make up 30 percent of companies around the world. There’s much opportunity ahead — businesses with at least one female executive team member are more likely to receive higher valuations in their first round of fundraising.
5 Tips for Female Entrepreneurs to Improve Their Odds of Business Success
If you want to achieve long-term success as a female entrepreneur, it is imperative you learn early on how to increase your odds of success. Developing a strategy early to improve the growth trajectory of your career is one of the savviest moves you’ll make as a woman in business. Whether you’re a mompreneur building your own home-based business or a female startup founder launching what you hope will be the next unicorn startup, how you approach the growth rate of your entrepreneurial career is crucial. If you want help learning how female entrepreneurs can improve the growth trajectory of their careers, bear the following five essential tips for entrepreneurs in mind.
Stretch outside your comfort zone in terms of business development and marketing ideas. If all you’re willing to do is try the same growth activities every other female entrepreneur is using, how will you ever achieve remarkable success or have your business become a viral sensation? Be willing to try new methods to grow your company, and you’ll increase your chances of entrepreneurial success in the process.
Challenges faced by female entrepreneurs
The journey for women to become badass entrepreneurs include many challenges:
- Lack of funding: Guidant Financial reported that 74% of women has to raise the required funds to establish their businesses.
- Network Access: In a male-dominated business world, women can find it difficult to find the right mentors or network.
- Lack of information: Women are unsure how to get started or even find relevant information sometimes.
- Being taken seriously: A Swedish qualitative study concluded that venture capitalists believe that female entrepreneurs were unsubstantiated compared to male entrepreneurs.
- Balancing business & family life: In general, 30 is where entrepreneurs start a venture, and that’s also around the same time of starting a family.
Inclusive Entrepreneurship: A Roadmap for a More Equitable Future
Imagine an ecosystem where entrepreneurship is open and accessible to everyone.
Then picture a space founded on the belief that entrepreneurship can level the playing field by giving all entrepreneurs an equal opportunity to start and run a business – irrespective of gender, race, and so on.
Sexism, racism, and other forms of systemic inequality have long meant that conventional entrepreneurship was ill-equipped to unlock the full potential of women and people of color, who often lack access to critical resources for business growth. That is, until now.
Enter inclusive entrepreneurship.
9 Entrepreneurs Share Their Thoughts on the Future of Entrepreneurship
Every waking day, we are having tremendous changes in regulations and technology which greatly affects the way businesses operate. Some entrepreneurs will say the future is definitely bright but to others, some of these changes are meant to work against their expansion and business operations. Additionally, there’s growing empowerment and embracing of individuality which motivates more people to begin their entrepreneurship journey. But the big question, what’s the future of entrepreneurship?
Learn what entrepreneurs had to say about the future of entrepreneurship at Hear.CEOblognation.com.
The Future of Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century
For years, becoming an entrepreneur has been the goal of many a would-be business owner. The lifestyle, flexibility of working hours and the ability to set yourself up financially, potentially for life, is a call that thousands each year find difficult to ignore, taking the leap and setting out on their own business ventures.
What puts a large fraction of potential entrepreneurs off, however, is the inability to decide what kind of business they are best to venture into in the first place. What do consumers favor in 2020, and what will make you more likely to succeed? Is it innovative ideas, bringing something completely new to the market? Is it about keeping a keen eye on consumer trends and new markets? Or is it perhaps all about embracing the move towards sustainability and using business to ‘give back’ to the world around you?