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Start-Ups Aren't Cool Anymore


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Research suggests entrepreneurial activity has declined among Millennials. The share of people under 30 who own a business has fallen to almost a quarter-century low, according to a 2015 analysis of Federal Reserve data by The Wall Street Journal. A survey of 1,200 Millennials conducted in 2016 by the Economic Innovation Group found that more Millennials believed they could have a successful career by staying at one company and attempting to climb the ladder than by founding a new one. Two years ago, EIG's president and co-founder, John Lettieri, testified before the U.S. Senate, "Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history."

Some of the reasons have been well-documented. The romantic view of entrepreneurship involves angel investors and venture capital funds, but in fact, the ordinary entrepreneur is more likely to fund a start-up using personal savings—something underemployed Millennials simply could not build as they entered the workforce during or in the immediate wake of the Great Recession. Funding from friends and family is the next most common source, but this personal network could not help much during the most recent economic downturn, when so much home equity was underwater. Student debt worsened the underlying economic problems. According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, between 2004 and 2014, the number of student borrowers rose by 89 percent.

Lately, though, it seems that even those who might typically have access to other forms of funding, like venture capital, are having a hard time getting investors' attention.

From The Atlantic
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