Millennials will make up at least 75 percent of the workforce by the year 2025. What is in store for them career-wise? With the days of going to work for one company for decades gone, some may be looking to entrepreneurship.
In January of 2016, Nature Biotechnology reported that roughly 70 startups existed within the United States, more than any other country. And it is the millennial generation pushing those numbers the hardest.
Aviva Kamler, 23, discovered her entrepreneurial ambitions while enrolled at American University in Washington, D.C. “I [thought I] wanted to do communications and business,” says the California native. “Then I found my niche in entrepreneurship.”
Kamler is the founder and CEO of SHELF Cosmetics, a mobile app dedicated to giving women guidance on purchasing beauty products. “I love the rules of business with the ability to have some creativity in there.”
Whereas some like Kamler discover their love for entrepreneurship down the line, for others the desire is there from the start. Babatunde Ogunfemi, 26, has “always been interested” in entrepreneurship.
“It’s just been a matter of when and why,” he says.
Ogunfemi is the founder of Renaissance Labs, described as “somewhat of a Google, but one that is not limited by market or investor interest or things of that nature.”
Kamler and Ogunfemi are just two of the 70 percent of millennials who have turned away from traditional work in search of independence through entrepreneurship, according to a Deloitte study. “I’m at a point in my life, and I think a lot of millennials feel this way, we can try something and if it doesn’t work, we have the ability to bounce back,” says Kamler.
Is this the magic that has allowed millennials to product a startup culture so strong?
“We don’t have that same older mentality of ‘I have a job, I’m going to do everything I can to keep it no matter how much I hate it,’” said Ogunfemi. “We think outside of the box.”
Though it may seem as though getting into the startup field is the cool way to go, there are realistic aspects of the lifestyle that also come into account. “Owning your own start up is not as glamorous as a lot of people think,” says Kamler. “For instance, I babysit in the morning…really early to make money. And I babysat last night until midnight to pay the rent.”
For Ogunfemi, stress from the expectations of others is real. “Being in a software tech field, it starts to feel as though you are supposed to at least try to create a startup,” he says. “That pressure has been felt a little bit, like ‘you have the skills so you might as well try.’”
Despite the stress and obstacles, these two 20-year-olds are not discouraged.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a bumpy ride. There are very much the highs and lows of entrepreneurship that people talk about, those exist,” says Kamler. “But I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Ogunfemi would agree. “If you have an idea, you might as well give it a try,” he says. “My opinion is if you start something, you might as well finish.”
The Future of Startup Culture in America