How many of us had a lemonade stand growing up, or know someone who did? For some, the dream of being your own boss never goes away. Many young adults dream of opening their own construction business, starting a clothing line, or even becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. But for the Millenial generation, there are far too many practical barriers to making that dream a reality. Big ideas are crushed under the weight of student loans, no capital, and daunting unemployment numbers. A stalled economy and rising student debt means that our generation is losing out on the opportunity to launch the next great business and create jobs for our fellow unemployed grads.
That’s why Young Invincibles looked at how to loosen the chains on young Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit. We talked to our members, talked to experts, and did our own analysis and have a few simple suggestions that could make a big difference in the world of young adults:
- Forgive student loans for young entrepreneurs trying to grow their businesses. That way, young would-be business owners won’t be forced to take on a second job or give up their dream just to make interest payments.
- Make it easier for young entrepreneurs to take out microloans to get their business started. Without startup money, it’s difficult to make things happen. Sometimes only $2,000 is enough to get a business going. These small loans are already available, but they’re often harder for young people to get – and no one is really making the effort to get that money into our hands. Making sure young people have access to this source of funding could mean big economic rewards.
- Encourage education in practical skills for starting a business, not just being part of a big corporation. We never actually get trained to be the boss. That needs to change.
- Increase private mentorship of young entrepreneurs. A little mentoring has been shown to go a long way – in fact it’s crucial to the success of a start-up.
Through this mix of public action and expansions of private initiatives, our generation’s most creative minds could finally get to work on jump-starting the economy. Importantly, these are policies that can particularly help our middle class and lower-income young adults, those who are struggling the most. Thousands of young people are unemployed but looking to create their own business – and, in the future, hire others – and we shouldn’t deny them this opportunity. Of course, youth entrepreneurship is only one part of the solution for addressing youth unemployment and barriers to economic opportunity. But it’s an important start. Clearly, investing in our young adults is in everyone’s best interest.