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What Makes Millennial Entrepreneurs Tick

Yaj Malik, EVP and Managing Director, Sage Asia | Nov. 30, 2016
A recent survey have found Singapore millennials to be more likely to plan or start a business or be self-employed in the next ten years

Ambitious business leaders

It used to be that business owners would start a business, build it up, groom their children to run it and pass it on when they are ready to retire. Well, the thinking is quite different with millennial entrepreneurs. Of the global millennial entrepreneur respondents, 62 percent believe they will be a serial entrepreneurs -- starting more than one than business. Among these, 52 percent said this is because they have lots of ideas they want to share with the world. It is not that different in Singapore as 58 percent of the millennial entrepreneurs here believe they will start more than one business during their lifetime.

Ethics and values important

Another interesting finding is that millennial entrepreneurs tend to hold true to ethics and values strongly. A vast majority said they would sacrifice profits over their own ethics and values. For instance, close to 73 percent of respondents in Singapore said they have sacrificed profits in order to stay true to their personal values in business.

These group of business leaders also see doing social good as important. In South Africa (80%) and Brazil (81%), a majority of the respondents emphasised that they value doing social good in their approach to business. Some respondents in Australia (20%), France (19%) Switzerland (24%) also said that employee happiness is what gets them out of bed in the morning.

Valuing Work-life balance

Furthermore, millennial entrepreneurs value work-life balance. Specifically, 66 percent of the global respondents said life comes before work. Similarly, 67 percent of respondents in Singapore prioritise life over work. It is possible that that many millennials here have grown up around adults who toiled at their businesses or work during the early years of the country's independence, and they are now choosing to ensure that they devote time to themselves and their families.

Respondents in Australia (70%), Belgium (70%), Brazil (71%) and Switzerland (70%) also said reducing the amount of hours they spend working and retiring early is a key focus for them. Interestingly, close to three-quarters (73.4%) in Singapore said that retirement and reducing their hours is a key focus, higher than any other country that responded.

Understanding the Millennial Entrepreneur

The Sage study revealed important and interesting insights into the characteristics that influence their behaviour in areas such as attitudes towards work-life balance, technology adoption, social values and barriers they face. They fall into distinct camps with specific concerns, fears, hopes, and preference in business approaches and work styles.

We conducted this study because it is important that businesses around the world understand the behaviour patterns and business needs of millennial entrepreneurs. As the next generation of business builders, millennial entrepreneurs will continue to build their businesses to be the SMEs of tomorrow and eventually become the business leaders of the future.

 

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