Finance

Gen Y business owners are on the rise: study

Kye White /

Gen Y workers are putting on their big-kid pants and diving into business ownership, according to a Bankwest Business Trends report released this morning.

The number of Millennials running their own businesses grew by 8.5% last year, with the notoriously fickle and demanding generation making up the majority of the 15,300 new men and women leading businesses.

The second-largest rise in business ownership was within the 55-64 age group, growing by 3.8%, while business ownership fell in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups by 5.7% and 4.1% respectively, putting some ice on the Gen X’s “hardest working” generation tag.

OneShift founder and millennial Gen George told SmartCompany Gen Y is well-suited to entrepreneurship, especially in an increasingly tech-focused business environment.

“I think we’re a lot more aware about what’s around us, in terms of the accessibility of technology. We’re risk-takers,” says George.

“I think every generation after us is going to be very competitive with what we’ve achieved,” she says.

George was 21 when she founded her own company two years ago, and says that businesses generally understand the potential of the most digitally-savvy generation.

“Businesses are much more willing to take a punt with start-ups… You’ve got 13-year-olds starting companies around the world,” she says.

While the number of men running a business has fallen by 9.3% in the last decade, there has been a 3.7% growth in the number of female business owners. Similarly, the report notes the rise of the ‘nanpreneuers’ – women over 65 who start their own businesses.

Spokesperson for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Clare Buttner, told SmartCompany this is a very positive trend considering the financial disadvantages that many women experience in retirement.

“We know that women, when they approach retirement age, are commonly in a far more precarious financial position than men,” says Buttner.

“A large number of women retire without almost any superannuation; women are two-and-a-half times more likely to live in poverty in their old age and they live longer after retirement,” she says.

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Kye White

Kye began his career at a Fairfax daily on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. He has since taken his belongings, and keen interest in technology, to Melbourne. He has a bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from RMIT University.

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