Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
STUDENT LIFE / JAN. 16, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Younger US Students More Entrepreneurially Inclined Than Older Ones

young entrepreneur
istock

Younger students in the U.S. tend to be more inclined to entrepreneurship than older and white counterparts. Findings from the Gallup-Hope Index point out that students’ desire to start their own business is lower among high school students than middle school students, and, more generally, decreases with each grade level. Roughly half of students in grades 5-8 (51%) say they plan to start their own business, compared with a third (33%) of those in grades 9-12

Overall, four in 10 U.S. students express plans to start a business. Slightly fewer (38%) say they will invent "something that changes the world". Students’ interest in starting their own business is similar to the level found in 2012, but down from 2011. Their belief that they will invent something world-changing declined in 2013 after holding steady in 2012.

Additionally, younger and ethnically diverse students in the US tend to be more entrepreneurially inclined than older and white counterparts. 50% of ethnic minority students say they plan to set up their own business compared to 37% of white students.  

Students Say There aren’t Enough Opportunities to Match Entrepreneurial Aspirations

Students report that workplace activities that could give them valuable workplace skills and experience are scarce. 17% of all middle school and high school students state they work at least one hour weekly. With little exposure to the workforce, few youngsters have any substantial experience at all in the workforce or that would help them build a business later in their lives.

One of the main barriers to employment for youths worldwide tends to be a lack of experience. Firms often fail to offer jobs to graduates as they often do not have enough experience within the workplace.

Schools appear to offer students knowledge to prepare them for creating a start-up. In 2013, more than half (55%) of students said their school teaches them about money and banking, and slightly fewer, 47%, said their school offers classes on how to start or run a business. Additionally, students widely agree that the more education they attain, the more money they will make.

It is clear that American youth have a considerable amount of economic energy. They have the ambition and desire to jump-start the U.S. economy. There are 1.5 million students with the vision and potential of building robust small to medium-sized businesses. American students need to be given more in-depth knowledge and diverse opportunities on starting and running their own businesses, if it is to cultivate youth entrepreneurial energy and maintain the global advantage of entrepreneurship the U.S. has enjoyed.  

Educators, community and business leaders, and policymakers all have a role to play in formulating plans to encourage students’ entrepreneurial aspirations.

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