Can Millennials Save Entrepreneurism?

Despite Silicon Valley success stories and Kickstarter-fueled innovation, the reality is entrepreneurship in America is dying. That is, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institute. Their research indicates American entrepreneurism has been slowly declining for the last 30 years, and recently—for the first time since the U.S. Census Bureau started measuring the related stats—the amount of failing businesses has eclipsed the amount being created by entrepreneurs.

So, can entrepreneurism be saved? And are millennials the ones to do it?

Numbers show millennials—roughly defined as those born between 1980 and 2000—are the most educated generation in history. A report from The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that last year, American colleges offered nearly 5,000 courses on entrepreneurism compared to only about 100 offered in 1970. Payscale’s 2013 Generation at Work Report even cited entrepreneurship & marketing as the top major for millennials.

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The education—paired with online and digital resources—seems to be making a difference. A Kauffman Foundation study found that just over half of all millennials plan on starting their own business in the next five years. But beyond just a change in knowledge and resources, the generation also possesses a factor that may help turn the tide of entrepreneurism: a new system of career values.

A study by the iOpener Institute reported that millennials value fulfillment—like the knowledge that owning your own business meets personal goals—over career benefits such as job security or even salary that were important to previous generations.

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