Ben Woodhead Deputy editor - digital

Ben Woodhead is deputy editor - digital at the Financial Review Group. He writes on business, technology, politics and the economy and can be found on BRW, The Australian Financial Review and Smart Investor.

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7 reasons Gen Y entrepreneurs should get started now

Published 31 August 2012 08:47, Updated 01 September 2012 02:41

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7 reasons Gen Y entrepreneurs should get started now

Entrepreneurs such as 99designs founder Nikki Durkin have demonstrated youngsters with big ambitions can make an early start. Photo: Hugh Hamilton

Ambitious young Australians such as 21-year-old 99dresses founder Nikki Durkin have made headlines for their entrepreneurial pursuits and angel investment blog VentureStab argues more should follow suit.

Angel investor and Tech Launch Solutions co-founder Jerome Gentolia cites several young entrepreneurs in arguing that there are a number of reasons why wannabe Gen Y entrepreneurs should get their skates on, ranging from the obvious such as having time on their side through to biases investors can display.

His seven reasons:

  • Time: “When you are young, you have lesser responsibilities ... This means you don’t have to divide time between your family and your business.”
  • Mindset: “The young’s mindset is much more positive than their elders. Everyone knows this – the young think they can do anything and that NO obstacles in front of them would be too hard to overcome, they have the dynamism and the energy to give their all”.
  • Social environment: “When you are young, you have a much broader social support group. Your social connections, your classmates and friends in college would be willing to try out your products for free – you won’t have a lack of testers”.
  • Adaptability: “The young adapt to what is available to them. Since they have fewer resources at their disposal, they are used to the idea of a ‘lean’ start-up and are capable of building a final product that is less than ideal, but already fits the bill.”
  • Expectations: “People’s expectations of you are much lower when you’re still in college ... Failing with your start-up while you’re still in college won’t be too much of a burden for you. Instead, people will look at your experience as a badge of honour”.
  • The daily grind: “Once you graduate from college, chances are, you’ll end up on the corporate grind, working on the 9-to-5. You’ll see your entrepreneurial ambitions slip away, as you get more comfortable with the idea of working on a steady income”.
  • Investor favouritism: ”Angel investors and VCs favour the young. Data shows that younger tech founders have better rate of success than their older peers. Investors are in it for the long run and expect younger founders to finish better and faster than older ones.”

In his post, Gentolia links to an article by young entrepreneur Andrea Walker on under30ceo.com last year laying out five attributes she things give young entrepreneurs a competitive edge. Hitting on similar themes to Gentolia, not surprisingly, she names passion, risk taking, a desire to innovate, perseverance and fearlessness as key.

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