What’s Motivating Generation Z to Become Entrepreneurs?

By Gaia Freydefont

Polling from Octopus has observed that young people are eager to pursue their own business because they view entrepreneurship as a path to independence and freedom.

Eighty-six percent of those who have considered starting their own business want to fulfil the aspiration “to be your own boss,” and 84% want to have the “freedom to do what I want”.

Other notable motivators include “being passionate about a particular idea or cause,” endorsed by 83% of young people thinking of being entrepreneurs, and “wanting to make the world a better place and/or make a positive difference”, advocated by 76% of young people thinking of starting a business.

Equally, 76% of young people considering entrepreneurship identified “wanting to become wealthy” as their main reason for thinking of starting a business.

The weakest motivator was “wanting to be famous,” with only 40% of young people endorsing this as a motivating factor, and with women being less likely to seek fame as an incentive, compared to men.

Apart from this factor, men and women tended to quote similar motivating factors when it came to starting a business.

According to research conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in 2017, women are more likely to be motivated to start businesses which have the potential to fulfil goals “such as helping others, making a difference to society, and building long term relationships with stakeholders”.

Of the 21-25 year-olds who did not attend university and who were considering starting a business, a significant majority were likely to sympathise with the idea of having the freedom to do what they like as an important motivator.

Interestingly, 21-25 year-olds who did not attend university and were considering becoming entrepreneurs were less likely to identify a “lack of other available employment opportunities” as their motivating force.

It was found that 65% of people studying creative arts or social sciences endorsed a lack of other available employment opportunities as an entrepreneurial motivator, while just 56% of people studying business or STEM subjects quoted this as their reason for considering entrepreneurship.

This may be a result of the nature of creative arts degrees, and the fact that they were more likely to be adaptable to self-employed or freelance work.

This is exhibited by the fact that the creative arts subject with the lowest self-employment rate, design with 13.8%, still had a rate close to three times higher than the average, according to data from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey.

Past research has found a relation between entrepreneurial motivations and their corresponding entrepreneurial outcomes.

Entrepreneurs who were just beginning and who located financial success as a factor of major importance showed a tendency to have better employment and sales outcomes, while a preference for independence was negatively correlated with employment growth.

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