Who will be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? If you judge by who has the most interest in starting a new business, a new Gallup poll suggests it may likely be a minority.
"About half of all racial and ethnic minority students (50 percent) say they plan to start their own business, compared with 37 percent of white students," says the Gallup-Hope Index.
Just a few years ago in 2011, the share of non-whites who said "I plan to start my own business" was 54 percent and whites was 39 percent.
Another finding from the poll is that the older kids get, the less they aspire to starting their own businesses.
Chad Brooks at BusinessNewsDaily summarizes: "Students' desire to start their own business is lower among high schoolers than middle schoolers, and decreases with each grade level. Specifically, 51 percent of kids in grades 5-8 say they plan to start their own business, compared with just 33 percent of those in grades in 9-12."
Not everybody, however, thinks that entrepreneurship should be necessarily emphasized. Morra Aarons-Mele writes at Harvard Business Review that she knows few talented young people who want to work for existing businesses. She laments that they want to work according to their own rules, not a boss's rules.
"But the reality of starting and running a small business is different from the fantasy — and I should know, because I run one, and am married to a long-time entrepreneur," she says. Starting a company doesn't mean being freed from the grind; it means that the buck stops with you, always, even if it's Sunday morning or Friday night. Moreover, it's just not possible that every smart young graduate can launch her own successful enterprise. Part of me wants to cry every time I meet a smart young student and the notion of joining a respected, existing institution cannot compete with the thought of creating her own."
Gallup's report found that less than half of students are learning about how to start a business. "It is crucial to identify these students early and cultivate their entrepreneurial energy, if Americans expect to maintain the global advantage in entrepreneurship the U.S. has enjoyed," the report says. "Creating opportunities for young minority entrepreneurs may provide a much-needed foundation for helping such businesses flourish."
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