A recent survey conducted by Junior Achievement USA in partnership with EY has shed light on the aspirations of today’s teenagers, with a staggering 76 percent expressing a likelihood to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. The survey, conducted by Big Village from October 10 to October 15, 2023, reached out to 1,003 teenagers aged 13 to 17, revealing intriguing insights into the entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generation.
Of the respondents, it was discovered that a significant 30 percent of teens cited “social media influencers” as their primary source of inspiration, closely followed by “successful businesspeople,” also chosen by 30 percent of participants. It seems that these modern-day role models have a substantial influence on the younger demographic, sparking their interest in the world of business.
However, while the allure of entrepreneurship is strong, over half of the respondents (56%) expressed a desire for more information on how to succeed in the business world. Furthermore, nearly a third of the surveyed teenagers (32%) expressed the need for a mentor or role model who is an established business owner to guide them on their entrepreneurial journey.
Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA, commented on the survey findings, saying, “Social media influencers and celebrity culture have a significant impact on teens, which could help explain why we are seeing such a high level of interest in entrepreneurship.” To capitalize on this interest, Junior Achievement has joined forces with EY to introduce “JA Launch Lesson.”
In November, coinciding with National Entrepreneurship Month, Junior Achievement and EY will roll out JA Launch Lesson to high school students across the nation. This hour-long educational program centers on entrepreneurship and aims to provide students with valuable insights into the world of business. It will be delivered locally by entrepreneurs in classrooms, after-school facilities, and various student venues throughout the United States. For additional information, visit www.JA.org/Launch.
The survey also highlighted certain concerns among teens regarding entrepreneurship. Approximately 30 percent of respondents perceived entrepreneurship as too risky, while 23 percent believed it might not be financially rewarding. A smaller proportion, 11 percent, felt that entrepreneurship might not align with their personality or skills. When asked about the types of businesses they were interested in starting, 16 percent of teens expressed a desire to become a “social media influencer/content creator,” 14 percent aimed for a “retail shop or store,” 13 percent leaned towards service businesses such as “plumbing, construction, haircare, or childcare,” and 9 percent envisioned professional businesses like “engineering, healthcare, or graphic design.”
The survey uncovered various intriguing facets of the entrepreneurial aspirations of today’s teens. While the idea of starting a business clearly appeals to a substantial portion of young individuals, it’s not without its set of concerns and considerations.
First and foremost, it was revealed that almost one in three teenagers (30%) expressed a level of apprehension about embarking on the entrepreneurial journey. They perceived entrepreneurship as a risky endeavor, and this uncertainty is a reflection of the challenges and uncertainties that come with establishing and running a business.
Moreover, a notable 23 percent of respondents cited financial concerns as a key factor influencing their views on entrepreneurship. For these teenagers, there was a perception that the potential for financial success might not be as promising as they would like it to be. This hesitation reflects the practical realities and economic insecurities that can often surround entrepreneurial ventures.
Additionally, a smaller but still significant group, comprising 11 percent of respondents, expressed doubts about entrepreneurship aligning with their personality or skillset. This sentiment emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and personal fit when considering entrepreneurship as a career path. It underscores the idea that not everyone may feel naturally inclined or equipped to take on the multifaceted roles and responsibilities that come with starting and running a business.
When delving into the types of businesses that captured the imaginations of these budding entrepreneurs, a diverse array of interests emerged. A noteworthy 16 percent of teenagers expressed a keen interest in pursuing a career as a “social media influencer/content creator.” This trend speaks to the profound influence of the digital age, where social media and content creation have become powerful platforms for self-expression and entrepreneurship.
- 14 percent of respondents had a more traditional vision, aspiring to establish “a retail shop or store.” This inclination toward brick-and-mortar retail reflects the enduring allure of owning and operating a physical storefront, despite the evolving landscape of e-commerce.
- 13 percent of the surveyed teens showed a desire to venture into service-based businesses, encompassing areas such as “plumbing, construction, haircare, or childcare.” This choice signifies an appreciation for trades and services that cater to the daily needs of communities.
Finally, nine percent of the respondents displayed an interest in professional businesses encompassing fields like “engineering, healthcare, or graphic design.” This indicates a fascination with more specialized and knowledge-intensive industries that offer the potential for professional growth and expertise.
Overall, these findings illustrate the multifaceted nature of teen entrepreneurship aspirations, with a blend of contemporary, traditional, and specialized career paths on their minds. The concerns expressed reflect the practical realities that young individuals weigh when considering the exciting but challenging prospect of starting their own businesses.
The survey was conducted using the Youth CARAVAN methodology by Big Village, involving 1,003 teenagers aged 13 to 17. The research, live from October 10 to October 15, 2023, aimed to provide insight into the entrepreneurial aspirations of the younger generation.
Junior Achievement USA is a global organization dedicated to equipping young people with the knowledge and skills required for economic success. Their programs, delivered by corporate and community volunteers, offer hands-on experiences in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship to students from kindergarten through high school. Furthermore, Junior Achievement is expanding its reach to young adults aged 18 to 25, ensuring they acquire essential life skills, and to pre-K youth to give them a strong foundation for their future. Presently, Junior Achievement reaches more than 4.4 million students annually across 102 markets in the United States, as part of a global network spanning over 100 countries.