The Guarded Optimism of Millennial Business Owners

Date: July 07, 2016

A new survey uncovers why there's a decline in the number of young business owners.

The number of people under age 30 who own a business has reached a 24-year low, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data. But that doesn’t mean American entrepreneurship is evaporating. 

A new Wells Fargo survey found that the vast majority of millennial business owners want to start a business that lasts.

Help ensure the vitality of small businesses for years to come. 

Despite the declining number of young people starting businesses, those who do are “in it for the long haul,” according to the survey. Eighty percent of respondents said they hope to grow their businesses for years to come and even potentially pass them down to their children. Furthermore, nearly 60 percent of millennial business owners are content with maintaining their small business status as long as they can provide for themselves and their families.

These owners are also ready to go into debt to finance their company’s future. Even though 75 percent of respondents said they were wary of taking on debt, nearly just as many—67 percent—said they are willing to take some financial risks to grow their businesses. 

Twenty-seven percent of millennial business owners carry personal credit card debt to finance their small businesses, and 16 percent report maxing out at least one personal credit card for business expenses, the survey found. 

Student debt has been shown to be an influential factor as to why some millennials aren’t starting new businesses. Thirty-eight percent said that their loans were impacting their ability to start a business, according to a Young Invincibles poll published in January. 

Despite these obstacles, millennials are optimistic about their future: 77 percent of respondents said they expect their businesses to improve over the next year.

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