Is entrepreneurship for the young?

March 28, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Anyone who has ever attended a Verge startup pitch could be forgiven for assuming that entrepreneurship is a young man’s game. Literally.

But over the past 15 years, the percentage of entrepreneurs in the 20- to 34-year-old age group actually has dropped, according to a study released this month by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

In 1996, nearly 35 percent of entrepreneurs were young guns with little to lose. Last year, they represented fewer than 30 percent of business owners, according to the annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.

Those in the 55-64 age group, meanwhile, picked up the slack. The share of entrepreneurs in the oldest age bracket increased from 14 percent to almost 21 percent.

Indeed, entrepreneurship rates have increased as traditional employment opportunities have declined, the Kauffman report said.

All of which goes a long way toward explaining why the U.S. Small Business Administration is hosting a series of seminars across the country—including one in Indianapolis today—to promote entrepreneurship as a career path.

Region V Administrator Marianne Markowitz will lead today’s session, which includes a panel of successful young entrepreneurs and information about resources available through the federal agency.

“SBA recognizes a need to promote and better support the efforts of young people looking to create jobs,” the agency said in a news release.

And it’s never too early to start. This spring, more than 10,000 central Indiana youth are expected to learn how to start, own and operate their own business as part of the national Lemonade Day initiative.

The local effort, launched by Indianapolis tech entrepreneur Scott Jones in 2010, last year had 10,000 participants who opened lemonade stands and generated more than $1.3 million in revenue on a single day.

The 2012 event is scheduled for May 19. This year’s goal: 15,000 kids and $2 million in sales.

What do you make of the focus on young entrepreneurs? Is it easier to strike out on your own early in your professional life, or does experience help?

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Kudos to SBA
    Interesting trends! I think the SBA is wise in their focus on young entrepreneurs. Of course, I'm a bit biased being one myself. However, I believe some of the best lessons are learned in the face of defeat. Starting young gives one the opportunity to bounce back should their first attempt at running a business fail. I also believe that the focus on a younger generation will help build the next generation of community leaders.
  • Don't Believe Everything!
    First - I seldom believe what I read from the "Kauffman Foundation" - most of their "studies" are horribly biased, have very short samples, and are self-serving. Second - if this is true - wouldn't it be due to other, outside factors right now - kind of "It's the economy, stupid" type of thing? Isn't entrepreneurship in general down, rather than just looking at the percentage shifts? However, for the sake of argument, why wouldn't young people shy away from starting new companies, anyway? Banks are horribly tight with money right now, and capital is hard to come by - it still takes money to get started - who's investing in our youth, especially in Indiana?
  • Nurture Skills While Young
    I think it's important to educate the young on entrepreneurship. That is why most colleges now have classes on the subject, which wasn't the case 15 or 20 years ago. This gives young people valuable skills that they can use in the workforce or out on their own someday. I think there is some wisdom that comes from entrepreneurship after experiencing the working world, but many have been successful without this (Facebook, for example). I can also understand the rise in entrepreneurship among the 55-64 class, who have left the corporate world and aren't ready to retire. The more the merrier, in my opinion.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. Angela IS the best RD

  2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

  3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{grouponfunding@hotmail.com}

  4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

  5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {frankloancompany@yahoo.com} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{ Frankloancompany@yahoo.com} for help

ADVERTISEMENT