Despite Recession, Youth Remain Interested in Entrepreneurship, Poll Shows

Despite the tough economic climate, American youth are still interested in starting their own businesses, a new Harris Interactive poll conducted for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation finds.

Released in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Youth Entrepreneurship Survey 2010 (35 pages, PDF) found that 40 percent of youth between the ages of 8 and 24 would like to start a business in the future or already have done so, the same percentage as in a 2007 survey. The survey also found that interest in business ownership is fairly consistent among young people, with 39 percent of "tweens" (8- to 12-year-olds) and teens (13- to 17-year-olds), and 41 percent of young adults (18- to 24-year-olds) expressing interest in starting their own business. Overall, male youth (45 percent) were more likely than their female counterparts (35 percent) to say they would like to start a business.

In addition, the survey found that 46 percent of those who personally know an entrepreneur are interested in starting their own businesses, compared with 31 percent of respondents who do not know an entrepreneur. Both groups cited "earning lots of money" as the most important motivation for owning a business.

"The economic downturn, it seems, has done nothing to dissuade young people from their dreams of business ownership," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "The survey findings are good news, because economic recovery hinges on entrepreneurship."