New Survey: Gen Y Loves Entrepreneurship But Lacks Resources

Last Updated Feb 22, 2011 7:11 PM EST

GenYers have a keen interest in starting businesses and overwhelmingly think that entrepreneurship education is important, says a new survey of 1,623 GenYers conducted by Buzz Marketing Group, the Young Entrepreneur Council, and presented by LegalZoom. At the same time, however, they believe that the resources available to them from colleges, government, and financial institutions are inadequate.

Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Council (and, full disclosure, my blogging partner on Inc.com) talked about the results of the survey last Friday in Orlando at the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit. "It's important that government agencies, non-profits, and private enterprise include us directly in the conversation on youth entrepreneurship," says Gerber, who is 27and runs a video production company called SizzleIt. Buzz Marketing Group, by the way, is run by youth marketing guru Tina Wells, who was featured in my book, Upstarts! While 20% of survey respondents aged 18-29 described themselves as self-employed, only 29% of those who have their own businesses said that they had a strong support system. Other highlights of the survey from that same age group, which Wells extracted from the survey data just for BNET:
  • 29% had been offered a class on entrepreneurship
  • 72% said those classes did not adequately prepare them to start a business
  • 89% believe that entrepreneurship education is important given the new economy and job market
  • 90% think they do not have enough support from the government
  • 67% think they do not have enough financial support from banks
  • 33% had started a side business
  • 20% planned to quit a 9-5 job in 2011 to start their own business
Gerber notes that GenYers' opinions on lack of support may, in some cases, simply be a case of perception. "A major part of what Young Entrepreneur Council wants to do is to partner with government agencies like SCORE and the SBA to help better promote and improve upon existing programs for youth," says Gerber. And colleges with entrepreneurship programs and classes should be more aggressive about getting the word out to students, and making those classes a core component of their academic offerings, he suggests. "And they should stop teaching how to write a business plan, and start teaching business planning," he says.

One of the most surprising results from the survey, says Gerber, is that 33% of respondents aged 18-29 had started a side business. "What this shows is that not only are young people trying to survive through entrepreneurship, but they're building something that they can transition into. While not everyone thinks that they can become an entrepreneur, more people in GenY are building entities that may turn them into exactly that."

If you're a member of GenY, have your stared your own company or a side business in the past year? If so, tell us about the resources you used and the ones you wish you had access to.

Further reading:

GenY: Here's Why You Should Never Get a Real Job
Should You Drop Out of College to Start a Business?
Cool Startups to Watch in 2011
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Extreme Entrepreneurship