Millennials, particularly Millennial women, are gearing up to be one of the more entrepreneurial and active generations we’ve seen recently. The interest in becoming an entrepreneur is high, despite an economic climate that has been less than friendly to the young over the last decade or so. Women are starting to see more benefit in setting up their own business, and more institutions are beginning to see the value in supporting female entrepreneurs. We should expect to see more growth in employment and revenues by women-led businesses over the coming years.
Millinnials are considered (at least by Pew Research) to be those children born between 1981 and 1996. That means if you are between 22 and 37 years old this year you’re a Millennial (me too!). If you went to college right after high school, you’ve probably graduated by now, or are about to graduate and are looking at starting your career. You might be looking at changing careers now, if you’re at the older end of the spectrum. In other words, we’re talking about a pretty wide range of adults here.
Millennials make up about a quarter of the population overall, and 35% of the labor force. Although Millennials have gotten a negative reputation as not having the “hustle” of previous generations, as of 2016, 8% of Millennials own a business, 16% are planning to start one, and 27% want to start one someday. In the population as a whole, nearly 14% of the population owns a business. For Millennials who have paid off their student loans, 13% have started a business.
That last sentence is important – stability of income is necessary if there are student loans in the mix. Entrepreneurship can pay off really well, but may not create a stable cash-flow environment in the initial stages. When student loans are out of the picture, it appears that Millennials are just as into hustling as the rest of the population.
When it comes to women specifically, up to 83% of Millennial women want to start businesses. There is huge interest among women to be their own bosses. Women business owners of all generations make up almost 40% of the small businesses in the US. However, women-owned businesses only employ 8% of the workforce, and produce 4% of the revenues. These are SMALL businesses. Women are mostly starting services businesses (hair/nail salons, pet grooming, etc.), health or child care businesses, and professional, technical, or scientific businesses. These account for 50% of all women owned businesses. Women have not previously gone into the types of businesses (like management consulting) that make the most money. Of the places showing the most growth and employment vitality, none are in California.
Globally, there are signs that women Millennial business owners might end up out-performing the average. Although that has yet to manifest in the United States, the rise of more female and minority centered VC firms and VC partners does mean that we are moving in the right direction, even if slowly.
The growth in women-led businesses started by Millennials, and the continuing rise in women VC firms and partners should pay off in more jobs and revenue that could have massive impacts on our society. From closing the gender pay gap to improving the ability of families to raise children while still working, the positive impacts are far-reaching. I look forward to helping make that happen.
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