A Generation Z individual is someone who was born between 1997 and 2015. That comprises 68 million Americans out of a nation of 356 million. Today, a Gen Zer is from eight to 23 years old.
A recent Gallup poll of students from grades 5 through 12 found that 40% of them named starting their own business as a post-educational goal. Amazingly, 24% have already started or tried to start a business while still in school.
Why is Gen Z so enamored with entrepreneurship? Part of the reason gets back to Millennials who, after all, are their parents. Up until now, it was Millennials who carried the mantel of “the entrepreneurial generation.”
Millennials also consumed a copious amount of information about business, much of it the form of entertainment or quasi-entertainment. That means popular TV shows like Shark Tank and/or influential books, such as The Art of the Start by hip internet guru Guy Kawasaki.
Millennials passed on their many entrepreneurial fascinations to their children.
Gen Z people are “Digital Natives.” That means they have never known a world that has not been infused with the internet and digital technology. Spending a lot of time online naturally brought Gen Zers into frequent contact with information about start-up entrepreneurs who shaped the world they live in.
Furthermore, many of those entrepreneurs were their peers — fellow Gen Zers who were having success building websites, coding, developing apps and other activities that dovetail with business development.
Gen Zers, in general, have a psychological mindset markedly different from pre-Millennial generations. Baby boomers, for example, expected to get a college education and then land a good-paying job provided by someone else, as in an existing corporation or a local enterprise in their hometowns. Working a nine-to-five job on someone else’s schedule was not an abhorrent idea to Boomers like it is to many young people today.
A Gen Zer is far more likely to pursue freelance gig economy work, adopt a digital nomad lifestyle or run a computer-based business out of their bedroom rather than be entrapped by a cubical in some oppressive, windowless office building.