The majority of young Americans want to start a business, but most of them are waiting until the economy gets better, according to a new survey released Thursday by the Kauffman Foundation.
The poll found that 54 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 want to start their own company, but just 8 percent of them own businesses now. A lack of access to credit and an undue amount of risk were the two most often-cited barriers to entrepreneurship.
Forty-four percent more African-Americans and Latinos reported being interested in owning businesses than did white young people — a trend that’s consistent with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2008 finding that immigrants are more likely to start a business than non-immigrants.
John Clarke, executive director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Illinois, said he sees significant entrepreneurial drive among immigrant students because they often grow up surrounded by role models who are small business owners.
“Maybe they’re seeing more opportunities for businesses, or maybe their parents weren’t employed by IBM for 30 years, so they don’t see that as their destiny,” Clarke said.
So what can the government do to help? In addition to increasing access to capital and training, 81 percent of the young people surveyed support student loan relief for millennials who start companies.