A new report from the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), Millennial Women: The Future of Entrepreneurship in America, examines the perception of this demographic in comparison with their true state, offering a detailed look at millennial women entrepreneurs and their future as influencers in the business world.
Perception vs. Reality
One view of millennials is that they are “entrepreneurial champions,” innovative beyond past generations. As the report articulates, “Followers or advocates of this opinion describe millennials as digital natives with high interest and high involvement in entrepreneurship.”
The true numbers differ from this opinion, however, and we may be witnessing the effects of debt and an uncertain economy on millennial entrepreneurship. The report shows that while a Bentley University survey found that 66 percent of millennials want to start a business, less than five percent have.
Furthermore, the NWBC reveals that,
- Since the 1980s, the percentage of people under 30 who own a business has dropped by 65 percent
- The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that the rate of new entrepreneurship among those aged 20 to 34 fell from 35 percent in 1996 to 23 percent in 2013
From Census Bureau data analysis, the report affirms that only three percent of millennial women are self-employed at unincorporated businesses and 0.8 percent of millennial women are self-employed at incorporated businesses.
- Millennial women are less likely than millennial men to be entrepreneurs
- Millennial women entrepreneurs are more likely to be married than millennial women who aren’t entrepreneurs
- Millennial women entrepreneurs are more likely to have children
- Millennial women entrepreneurs make over 25 percent less than their millennial women labor force counterparts
- Millennial men are over twice as likely as millennial women to have paid employees
As the report expresses, “Many of these demographic and personal characteristic findings raise, rather than answer, questions germane to supporting and developing the next generation of women entrepreneurs.”
Policymakers, entrepreneurs and the business world should work to eliminate the barriers hindering young entrepreneurs. Millennial women, who earn lower wages and carry more student loan debt than their male counterparts, are especially burdened. By not contributing to and supporting the success of these business owners, we are doing a disservice to an entire generation of entrepreneurs.