Babson College report shows surge in entrepreneurial interest among young adults

An unprecedented surge of young adults, fueled by aspirational causes such as climate control and social justice, plunged into the world of entrepreneurship this year despite ongoing economic uncertainty, according to an annual report from Babson College.

In a trend researchers say “hasn’t been seen in recent history,” 20 percent of those polled in the 18 to 24 age group have high entrepreneurial intentions. The same age group, which is largely Generation Z, also expressed high entrepreneurship rates meaning they’ve started to create a new business at 19 percent.

The growing Gen Z interest comes as entrepreneurs and business owners of all ages placed an increasing emphasis on environmental sustainability and social justice, according to Babson College’s new 2021/2022 U.S. “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor” (GEM) report.

Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 American adults to provide a comprehensive look at how the last year, including the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, impacted entrepreneurs and business owners. A whopping 68 percent of entrepreneurs and 54 percent of established business owners care more about the social and environmental impact of their business than profitability or growth.

In releasing the findings, Babson College President Stephen Spinelli Jr. said, “The GEM results emphasize a need to support entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds. This includes identifying the gaps hindering young entrepreneurs, women, and communities of color, and offering solutions that provide opportunity, connection, and sustainability in support of their vision and create rewarding livelihoods for their stakeholders, families, and themselves.”

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