This year, the Kauffman Foundation’s Acting President and CEO Wendy Guillies gave the annual State of Entrepreneurship Address.
“Only entrepreneurs can change the existing ways of doing things. Only entrepreneurs can create the millions of jobs needed for our future. Only entrepreneurs can renew the dynamic and innovative American spirit.”
Guillies outlined the demographic factors shaping entrepreneurship in America today. In short, Millennials and Baby Boomers, largely due to economic and educational reasons, are poised to complement each other in entrepreneurial ventures.
Millennials (born between 1981 and 1997) are the most educated generation in history. They have also benefited from new entrepreneurship courses, and normally possess basic IT skills. However, coming of age during the Great Recession and acquiring unprecedented amounts of student debt has left many of this age group feeling insecure and pessimistic about their careers.
On the other hand, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have strong household median net worth, are working until older ages, and are confident about starting new companies and ventures. However, they sometimes lack the suite of technical skills needed to launch new ventures or a start-up.
The professional strengths and weaknesses of these two generations are poised to complement each other in entrepreneurship. Baby Boomers possess expertise, wisdom, and maturity that result from years of professional experience. The younger crowd can flesh out their seniors’ vision with technical acumen and educational training or networks.
During the process of writing this article, we realized that Plum Alley is a perfect example of cross-generational teamwork. Our employees are in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifty plus. Our talent represents age diversity, and has been crucial to our success.