Business development · 23 March 2016

“Risky, unstable and reckless”: Young people do see entrepreneurs as rockstars, but not in a good way

young entrepreneurship

New research commissioned by Google has unveiled the surprisingly negative perceptions young people hold around entrepreneurship.

Just 22 per cent of those aged between 15 and 18 are interested in starting their own business, according to survey – which was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the tech giant.

More than half of those surveyed admitted that they do not want to take any risks when it comes to making money – while 56 per cent think entrepreneurship is inherently risky, with unstable and reckless following closely behind on a list of characteristics associated with new business creation.

The report also highlighted the prevalence of a gender gap when it comes to expectations around business success amongst teenagers. Boys are more confident that they could run a business without making mistakes and more likely to think about starting an enterprise straight out of school.

This difference of attitude mirrors the variation in entrepreneurial activity between young men and women. Almost three-quarters of firms founded by under-35s have a male founder.

The new study was commissioned to coincide with the launch of Future Founders, Google’s new youth entrepreneurship programme, which aims to increase the popularity of new venture creation amongst sixth-form students.

Sarah Drinkwater, head of Campus London, said, “No matter what their eventual career, we know that teaching students about entrepreneurship builds critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. These are highly important skills for young people as they prepare to enter the world of work, but can also ensure that the UK’s startup ecosystem flourishes in the years to come.

“From British app developers like Nick D’Aloisio, to YouTube content creators like Zoella or social entrepreneurs like GiveMeTap’s Edwin Broni-Mensah, we’ve seen numerous young founders that have a massive impact on their industries before they even turn 25. By running the Future Founders programme with our partners, we hope to inspire the next generation of innovators who will shape Britain’s future.”

We’ve had pieces recently debating whether students should be more exposed to enterprise education or maths if we want to encourage them to be entrepreneurs. What do you think? Let us know using the box below.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.