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Millennial entrepreneurs lead the way

News, 10 March 2016

LONDON: Millennial entrepreneurs are achieving greater business success than older generations because they are motivated by valuing purpose over profit, a new global study has suggested.

HSBC Private Bank commissioned an online survey of 2,834 business owners with a net worth of between $250,000 and $20m across nine markets – the UK, US, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

According to the research, millennial entrepreneurs aged under 35 run businesses with annual revenues of $11.5m, or nearly one-and-a-half times (+141%) the $4.8m earned by their older counterparts.

What's more, their main venture on average employs more than twice as many staff as older entrepreneurs (123 versus 58) and they also have active shareholdings in five businesses, compared to just three among those aged over 35.

The report attributed the success of these younger entrepreneurs to their personal motivation and willingness to improve their community and economy.

More than two-thirds (69%) of millennial entrepreneurs agreed that having a positive economic impact was a factor in their decision to go into business, while 59% wanted to have a positive impact in their community. Furthermore, 79% said they were active philanthropists.

"The new generation of millennial entrepreneurs are revolutionising the nature of entrepreneurship. They are starting in business younger than previous generations and are involved in a greater number of enterprises," said Nick Levitt, head of Global Solutions Group at HSBC Private Bank.

"These entrepreneurs are building bigger businesses and creating more jobs. They are as motivated to create an impact on the world as they are to make money and they are having a positive impact on their communities," he added.

The report went on to reveal that the highest proportion of millennial entrepreneurs are to be found in the Middle East (63%), Mainland China (44%) and Hong Kong (44%).

In addition, nearly half (47%) of all millennial entrepreneurs around the world are women, but the proportion rises to a significant majority (59%) in the UK. By comparison, just 16% of female UK entrepreneurs are aged over 55.


Findings from the HSBC study are more optimistic than a separate report released earlier in the week by The Guardian. Citing "a perfect storm" of factors – including debt, unemployment, globalisation and rising house prices – the report said that young adults around the world are earning less than the national average, leading to "unprecedented inequality between generations".

Data sourced from HSBC Private Bank, Management Today; additional content by Warc staff