Millennials, Entrepreneurship and Innovation – The Perfect Combo

Building Their Own Ladder for Success

After watching their parents put in long, hard days to climb the corporate ladder only to be downsized, right-sized or outsourced, few Millennials have the desire to repeat that path and instead are opting to define and build their own ladder to the top. A survey by Bentley University, showed 66% of Millennials had goals to start their own business. They want to succeed but understand the work-life balance they desire can often only be found by starting their own business.

Flexibility is another core driver for these young entrepreneurs. Contrary to popular opinion, Millennials are not afraid to work hard – the Bentley study found 77% of those surveyed believed flexible hours would allow for more productive environments, not less productivity. This is largely due to tech-savvy nature of this group – almost all who have smartphones and are “always-on” – making work no longer just a 9 to 5 occurrence – but blended into their personal world too.

A Spirit of Innovation

As the first digitally native generation, these business innovators have seen an era of unprecedented development that impacts their everyday life. It’s no wonder that Millennials view innovation as a standard way of living and are rigorously involved in pursuing innovative solutions to solve today’s challenges.

Combine innovation with today’s highly connected world, and these young entrepreneurs have access to nearly everything needed to start their own business. Millennials are unafraid to kick-start their next new venture and are seizing the relatively easy opportunity to take their innovative spirit to the next level.

According to Fred Tuffile, Bentley University Director of Entrepreneurial Studies, “Millennials are realizing that starting a company, even if it crashes and burns, teaches them more in two years than sitting in a cubicle for 20 years.”

Driven Through Purpose

Millennials believe, however, that innovation plays more of a role than simply adding to a company’s bottom line. According to Deloitte’s Third Annual Millennial Study, 80 percent of Millennials view business innovation as positively impacting society and providing a launch pad for new ideas. Driven by the need for purpose and meaning in their careers, Millennial entrepreneurs tends to see the world through a very different lens than the generation before them: don’t just take what you can from the world while you’re here… leave the world and (everyone you meet) better than you found it.

Millennials find opportunities to positively impact the world around them that are tied to their business or workplace highly rewarding and effective. According to the Deloitte study, 77 percent of respondents were involved in a charity or “good cause”:

  • 40 percent follow or take an active interest, e.g., via social media
  • 30 percent are active volunteers/organizers
  • 30 percent provide support by becoming a member/making a regular donation
  • 23 percent help raise money by sponsorship, organizing a collection or by other means

Regardless of the type of business Millennials begin, there are ways to tie purpose and meaning back to the mission. Avnet for example, has built a culture of purpose by using technology “to make the world a better place to live, work and play, and has taken a clear stand against modern slavery and human trafficking.” Other global brands such as Google, Microsoft, Intel, Hasbro and Campbell Soup have long been known for their corporate responsibility programs and have built entire cultures around purpose and giving back.

With an innate, tech-savvy ability, a passion for entrepreneurship, and a compelling inner drive to give back and leave the world a better place, Millennials may truly be the perfect combination of inspiration and innovation that can create positive changes in the world like we’ve never seen before in history.

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