The generation cheered for its start-up mentality is actually starting companies at the lowest rate in 25 years. Why?
"Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history,” John Lettieri, the co-founder of the Economic Innovation Group,testified last week before the U.S. Senate. The share of people under 30 who own a business has fallen by 65 percent since the 1980s and is now at a quarter-century low, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data.
These statistics go against the typical media portrayal of an American start-up: a phone app built in an open-plan office with dedicated lanes for 22-year-old executives on hover boards. Businesses like American Express have declaredthat "Millennials Could Be the Most Entrepreneurial Generation Ever" and Britt Hysen, the editor-in-chief of MiLLENNiAL magazine, claims that "60 percent of Millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs, and 90 percent recognize entrepreneurship as a mentality."
Young people very well may lead the country in entrepreneurship, as a mentality. But when it comes to the more falsifiable measure of entrepreneurship as anactivity, older generations are doing most of the work.
The average age for a successful startup-founder is about 40 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a think tank focused on education and entrepreneurship. (In their words, one’s 40s are the “peak age for business formation.”) The reality is that the typical American entrepreneur isn’t that hover-boarding kid in a hoodie; it’s his mom or dad. In fact, the only age group with rising entrepreneurial activity in the last two decades is people between 55 and 65....MORE