Why don’t young people want to be entrepreneurs?

A study carried out by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) on UK students showed that less than 10% have aspirations to start their own businesses. There’s no doubt that it’s a challenging task to set up your own business but this statistic surprised me. I would’ve thought that more young people would have big dreams to do their own thing and start of revolutionary business.

I spoke to Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of the IDA, about the results. He said: “I think we’d be more worried if 50% said they wanted to become entrepreneurs because it’s a tough road.

“I had a call with a guy back in Singapore, someone that has already had a bit of success and a lot of customers and even he was saying it’s really tough. Essentially, he was looking for a shoulder to cry on, so to speak.

“Part of our message is that business is not for everyone, it’s not for many people. In fact, it’s not for most people. We were kind of surprised the numbers were as high as they were as opposed to low. Maybe one or two percent of the world is ready to take on their own business rather than the eight or nine percent surveyed.”

I wouldn’t push young people into starting their own business without telling them to think long and hard about it but I’m still surprised by the fact that there’s so little ambition out there. However, 61% of those who said they didn’t want to start their own business did say they’d want to carve out a career with a large, stable business.

It seems the thing holding young people back is the risk involved with starting a business. That’s completely understandable but as someone who’s taken a number of risks with her career, I want to say that sometimes it does work out. Don’t go through life thinking about what could have been.

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