Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Teens Interested in Entrepreneurship
Could the coronavirus pandemic and the economic hardships that have come with it serve to discourage future business owners? According to a recent survey conducted by Junior Achievement USA and the Brian Hamilton Foundation, maybe not.
The latest survey sought to discover what students aged 13 to 17 thought about entrepreneurship. What it found was that 66% of respondents said they were “likely” to consider starting a small business when they were older. Despite that impressive assertion, the students did express some concerns. At the top of the list was general risk, with 29% saying they worried that starting a business was “too risky.” Meanwhile nearly one-quarter (24%) said they didn’t think there was enough money in entrepreneurship and 18% said that being a business owner didn’t fit their personality or skills.
As for what they believed it would take for them to consider starting a business, 52% stated that they’d need someone to invest monetarily while 47% said they’d need more support from their parents (they are 13 to 17, after all). It also seems that many teens are looking for partners and mentors for their potential businesses, with 38% noting they’d like to have friend with similar interests team up with them while 34% said they’d require a successful businessperson as a role model in order to pursue entrepreneurship. Finally, 51% of respondents simply stated that they’d need more information on what it takes to be successful in order to pursue being a business owner.
Interestingly, the 66% of students that said they’d consider entrepreneurship in the latest survey is only slightly off of the 69% who said the same in 2017. Considering that the poll was conducted earlier this month while several small businesses were forced to remain closed, some may have expected a larger drop in interest — especially since a separate survey from Junior Achievement found that 69% of students 13 to 18 were concerned about the financial impacts of the current pandemic. As Junior Achievement USA president and CEO Jack E. Kosakowski remarked, “Despite the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown on the business community, it is encouraging to see the next generation still interested in considering entrepreneurship as a career path. We must encourage that interest going forward.”
Also commenting on the results of the survey, Brian Hamilton Foundation CEO Charlie Bradley stated, “With all of the very-public challenges facing small businesses today, I was glad to see the survey results reflecting that current economic conditions have not reduced interest in entrepreneurship among teens.” He went on to point out, “It’s notable that almost 30 percent of teens responded that their greatest concern about starting a business is the risk involved. We recommend that youth start businesses now, as teens, for just that reason. When you’re young, there is almost no downside to failure.”
Although a single, 1,000-student survey isn’t nearly enough to sway concerns that the current crisis could turn off would-be business owners of the future, these results are encouraging nonetheless. Plus, with all of the resources and role models that young entrepreneurs can find online, on television, and elsewhere these days, there should be no shortage of interest going forward. Thus, we can rest assured that the next generation of business owners will do just fine.