Do Millenials Make Natural Entrepreneurs?

It turns out “millennials” are getting busy. Often accused of being entitled, self-absorbed and lacking in loyalty and patience, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 isn’t quite the work-shirkers we collectively perceive them to be. Instead, they’re launching their own businesses, and compared to previous generations entering the workforce, at record rate too.

According to research by BNP Paribas, whilst “boomers” set up their first businesses around the age of 35, millennials are setting up at the age of 27 (with some of them now clocking up over a decade of experience), and are more likely to set up more than one business too. At double the rate boomers have established start-ups, it turns out the younger generation have a healthier appetite for risk and a more resilient attitude towards failure too.


The reasons behind this heightened propensity to go it alone are numerous. The desire to be more independent and do business differently is a start, the need to be agiler in today’s hyper-fast and technologically driven competitive environment, and the desire to find more flexible and fulfilling work, are just the start. Their values and motivations when it comes to work differ greatly from what we’ve known and experienced previously, as their choices around entrepreneurship tell.

Which is well and good, but the question is, are they able to cut it when going it alone?

Communication and Coaching

The millennial leadership style, increasingly evident as the older end of the cohort come into leadership positions is more communicative in style. Millenials prefer transparency in the way they work, and despite their propensity for the digital living, make compelling communicators, as well as a more coaching style in how they develop their teams.

SOURCE: Venture Beat

Throw a stone in Silicon Valley and you’ll come up against ten tech brands led by young men and women who openly lead in this style. Mark Zuckerberg sharing business decisions through his platform is case in point, and as one of the most powerful business owners and richest entrepreneurs under the age of 40, there is something to be said for millennial leadership.

Collaboration and Co-Production

Involving others in decision making is one of the key hallmarks of millennial leadership. A collaborative way of working, with less of a hierarchy, is the preferred way of heading up a business, as opposed to more traditional models of imposing decision making and leading from the top.

This is reflected in how millennials consume too. They prefer communal experiences as opposed to material goods, tend to go off word of mouth over advertising in making purchase decisions and research, purchase and share their experiences with and about products and services online, expecting to play a part in the shaping of a brand and its offering. The mastery of digital channels shifting the balance of power from consumers has just sped the process up.


With millennials due to account for 75% of the workforce by 2020, and therefore accounting for the majority of spending power across the globe, it's those businesses and their leaders who best understanding this way of living and leading that will capitalise on it. There’s a huge amount to be said, therefore, about the smarts of this generation in going it alone.

Open Minded and Purposeful

Understanding what and how people purchase has always been essential to driving business success. Whilst credence has always been given to the why of consumer behaviour and employee motivation, coming at leadership from a sense of purpose beyond profit is far less common. All that’s beginning to change, though.

Millenials as far more likely to care about your values as a company. They’re more likely to buy from companies that support causes they care about, and when it comes to working, making the world a better and more sustainable place is more important than a hefty paycheck, and its showing, in this generation’s commitment (or lack of) to working in big corporates, and in the type of businesses they’re setting up.

Brands with an inherent social benefit, like Innocent, or commitment to social issues are becoming more prevalent, and millennials are not only rewarding business like AirBnB – who through their commitment to helping refugees worldwide has helped see them turn an entire industry on its head – but replicating in their own socially minded startups too. Having a bigger sense of purpose pays in this day and age, and as entrepreneurs crafting a new style of business, millennials are best placed to benefit.


Debbie Halls-EvansComment