Will the Changing Guard Transform the Modern Marketplace?

Ron Corker  |

Professionals from the millennial and Generation Z age groups are pouring into the workplace, but as for launching their own enterprises – they’re not faring as well compared to previous generations. As they enter the labor force, however, they’re dispelling the unfair “slacker” stereotype assigned to their group by society.

The typical millennial works extra hours or holds multiple jobs. This generation grew up during the great recession and witnessed the struggles of their parents, and like many before them, they seek stability and are lured into overtime by the prospect of financial gain.

Now, the economy is giving younger generations a hard way to go. Many millennials and Gen Zers struggle with student loan debt in finding work in their chosen profession.

In another regard, millennial and Generation Z entrepreneurs are a fortunate bunch in that there’s a wealth of easily accessible business information at their disposal. There are more tools and resources than ever before that can help fledgling entrepreneurs compete in the marketplace. However, the jury’s still out on how the nation’s up and coming generations will influence the future of commerce.

Millennials and the Modern Business Landscape

66-percent of millennials want to launch an enterprise. However, the current environment doesn’t necessarily favor this. While various obstacles could prevent most millennials from pursuing their dreams of entrepreneurship, business analysts forecast that Generation Z will fare a little better than millennials in launching their own ventures.

Despite obstacles faced by both generations, these groups harbor remarkable entrepreneurship potential. In fact, many millennials and Gen Zers are at least pursuing commerce at the micro-enterprise level through outlets such as shared labor apps, while others run businesses as side gigs. They hold onto the dream and pursue entrepreneurship despite a currently unfavorable economic environment.

The Role of Gender Equality in the Emerging Marketplace

Entrepreneurism is a cornerstone of the American dream. In this spirit, a growing number of female millennial professionals have launched their own enterprises and relatively recent years. Around the world, in fact, the number of female-owned startups increased at twice the rate of their male peers between 2015 and 2016.

In the United States, women now own over 11.3 million businesses, accounting for 36-percent of all enterprises. In fact, the U.S. is ranked as the most favorable business climate for women entrepreneurs in the world.

Women-owned businesses are an important economic driver in America. Analysts estimate that their firms generate $3 trillion in revenue for the economy and create 23 million jobs. Furthermore, research shows that women-owned firms perform twice as well as firms headed by male entrepreneurs.

In addition, studies show that women-owned companies deliver 60-percent more value for investors, remarkably maximizing returns for shareholders. These numbers indicate that female business owners play a critical role in job creation and economic growth in the United States.

Despite a proven track record of success, however, millennial women entrepreneurs continue to face roadblocks compared to their male equals. According to the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), barriers such as inadequate training and lack of access to funding are especially challenging for women entrepreneurs. In fact, expresses OECD representatives, the limited funding granted to female-owned enterprises is abysmal.

As an example, venture capitalists only invested $1.46 billion in female owned enterprises out of a total of $58 billion in 2016. While the amount of funding for women-owned enterprises is increasing, economic investment in female-led enterprises compared to their male counterparts is infinitesimal.

Despite gender, entrepreneurism is difficult for anyone. It requires passion, commitment and limitless motivation. Still, bold female millennials are pushing forward in commerce because they understand that beyond the risks lies a world of opportunity.

When Generations Collide

Somehow, society has labeled millennials as an entitled group that expects great reward for little effort. At the same time, baby boomers are known for resilience, independence and a can-do attitude.

Unfortunately, the numbers aren’t doing much to help millennials overcome this stereotype. The latest U.S. Census data reports 452,853 new businesses, down from 500,000 to 600,000 new startups for previous counts. However, economists don’t necessarily blame this on millennials as much as the changing times.

Today, big box stores are eating up markets like candy, new legislation is making it harder to remain in compliance and corporate behemoths are thinking like small- to midsized businesses with entrepreneurial acumen, rather than exercising brute force in the marketplace.

Additionally, startup funding is a big hurdle for millennial entrepreneurial hopefuls. The generation also holds $1.3 trillion in student debt, placing them at a significant disadvantage compared to their predecessors. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that millennials and Gen Zers earn approximately $2,000 less in annual average salary compared to workers in the 80’s.

Considering these factors, millennials have it tougher when it comes to launching their own enterprises. However, the challenge hasn’t killed the dream. As a matter of fact, a survey conducted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) reveals that 22-percent of millennials believe that starting a business will change their life for the better.

Today, innovations are helping those who do launch their own firms produce remarkable achievements. According to business analysts, for instance, a 10-percent increase in performance due to big data analysis can net the average fortune 1,000 company $65 billion annually.

This is one area where millennials and Generation Z do have an advantage. For these groups, the Internet is as familiar as television and radio for previous generations.

Studies show that 91-percent of younger generations leverage technology for self-led learning. These groups also believe the technology will help them eventually achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

Technology does promise to deliver an abundance of opportunity for skilled professionals. Still, now is indeed a time of uncertainty for millennials and Generation Z, as society undergoes a technological revolution and many lives remain in career limbo. Millennials and Generation Z might do well to follow the example of their predecessors while they ride out the storm, which is to go back to school and prepare for the next economic upswing.

DISCLOSURE: The author is not affiliated with any firms that may have been mentioned in this article.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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