What drives entrepreneurs? More importantly, does that drive change if you’re a Baby Boomer, a Gen Xer or a Millennial?
As the Chamber gears up for State of Small Business: Generation Entrepreneur on Feb. 18, we begin to consider what dr ives entrepreneurs across different generations. With the help of Millennial and Love Grown Foods founder Maddy D’Amato, Gen Xer, CTO and NIMBL co-founder Michael Pytel and Boomer and Dazbog Coffee President and COO Leo Yuffa, we’re bound to hear about generational differences and find some common ground in how each entrepreneur approaches launching and running a business.
Before we hear their stories at State of Small Business, here’s a primer on each generation and how they work.
Millennials: Generation Entrepreneur?
Who they are: Born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, this generation is famous
for social startups like Facebook. Millennial entrepreneurs describe themselves as creative, confident and positive.
Why they stand out: Being tech savvy and coming of age in a global economy makes them highly mobile and interested in flexible work hours. They also value working for fulfillment and purpose over pay.
How they’ll change our economy: Twenty-five percent of millennials currently earn at least a part of their income from a business they own or have stake in. This generation has the greatest interest in entrepreneurialism, with 46 percent interested in starting a small business, compared to 34 percent of Gen Xers and 17 percent of Baby Boomers. By 2025, they’ll make up as much as 75 percent of the
global workforce. They also tend to be more optimistic about the economy and anticipate
economic growth within the next year, but they are worried about how economic issues will impact their business.
Generation X: An Independent Streak
Who they are: Born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, this independent generation has
been saving up for the opportunity to break away from corporate America to start their own businesses.
Why they stand out: This group views themselves as hardworking, dedicated, independent and creative. That independence, coupled by distrust in big business after two recessions, motivates their entrepreneurialism. They have solid work experience and have taken time to learn a trade or industry. Most think through their business plan prior to executing and use their own capital from savings.
How they’ll change our economy: Thirty-four percent of Gen Xers are interested in starting and running a small business, according to Independent Community Bankers of America. They’re also most likely to target new industries and customers in the next year.
Baby Boomers: The Face of Small Business?
Who they are: Born between 1946 and 1964, this dedicated and hardworking generation values and rewards loyalty.
Why they stand out: Boomers make up the largest percentage of business owners in the U.S.—nearly 51 percent. With the “longevity bonus,” they’re living longer, more active lives and they are interested in continuing to work. They also are able to leverage their expertise, broad networks and savings to start a business.
How they’ll change our economy: The share of business owners in this generation has been increasing over the last few years. Today people over 55 are almost twice as likely to create successful start-ups as those ages 20 to 34. However, fewer existing business owners in this generation have plans for growth.
Optimistic Millennials, independent Gen-Xers and hard-working Baby Boomers may operate and think differently, but these entrepreneurs are all working toward a common goal: creating jobs and wealth. Hear more about how each generation is shaping entrepreneurialism at State of Small Business on Feb. 18.
Alea Kilgore is the manager for the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center.