This month we welcomed two new customers, Futurepreneur and Enactus Canada, two organizations whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship by providing mentoring, financing, business planning and strategic planning to the younger, up and coming generations. This got us thinking about why would such non-profit organizations be seeking advanced Enterprise Resource Planning or Constituent Relationship Management solutions? What is driving their growth, requiring them to implement software to manage their internal and external operations? In a word, Millennials.
Why are Millennials so driven to be entrepreneurs?
- The sheer size of the millennial generation – roughly 85 million strong in North America. Such a large population feeding into the workforce is resulting in employment challenges. Baby boomers, for various reasons, are retiring later – and this is resulting in a job shortage. New graduates are experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates on record, forcing Millennials to get innovative and start creating work for themselves instead of waiting for more job opportunities to open up.
- The values that Millennials are typically associated with. One of Millennials top values is ‘freedom’. The ability to work where they want (home or office or coffee shop or the park), when they want (day or night), and on the projects they choose. The research backs this up with almost 90% of Millennials saying they prefer to work when and where they choose, compared to the corporate 9-5 job. And as for the Millennials who are working ‘regular’ jobs? Most of them are biding their time at a regular job and freelancing on the side until the time is right to leave (60% said they planned on leaving their ‘regular’ job within two years) - [source : Small Business Trends].
What drove the Millennials to put such value on freedom or independence and thus opt for entrepreneurship instead of a more tradition working life? There are two reasons that come to mind.
- Many Millennials grew up in a time where both parents are working, or being raised by a single working parent. As a result, they became more independent growing up. They were alone when they came home from school and had to take care of themselves. In the past, for example during the Traditionalist or Baby Boomer generations, the mother was at home and was there to supervise the kids, feed them, make sure they did their homework etc. This new independence given to Millennials led them to be, in a way, ‘masters of their own universe’. They became accustomed to being accountable to themselves, reporting to themselves and in some way, leading themselves. It is therefore not surprising that Millennials are gravitating toward a career path of independence; one of entrepreneurship. It is after all, how they grew up!
- Millennials are often categorised as excellent multi-taskers – they’re used to living a fast paced life style with many ‘things on the go’ all the time. It comes naturally to them. This has given them the tendency to be very forward-thinking, innovative and creative individuals. All excellent characteristics for entrepreneurs to have. When Millennials get an innovative idea, they will buckle down and work until they are satisfied with the results – whether or not their creative juices happen to be flowing during the 9-5 work day or not. However, most organizations are struggling with the concept of allowing this generation the ability to work ‘whenever their creative juices start flowing’. Despite the fact that the research shows Millennials often work well above the average 40 hour work week, when given the autonomy that they value so much - [source : Canadian Management Centre]. Unfortunately, since many organizations (notable exceptions include Google and Netflix) are not changing their management styles fast enough, this is driving the Millennials toward entrepreneurship where they have the freedom to work from anywhere at any time.
As a result, support organizations such as Futurepreneur, Enactus Canada and others like them are becoming a popular go to for Millennials who are seeking financing and the expertise to become their own bosses. Educational institutes have also taken note of this shift toward entrepreneurship. More than 2,000 colleges in the US alone now offer entrepreneur programs, where there was only 500 in the mid-1980’s. There are also now over 5,000 courses on entrepreneurship available through the US, both online and on-campus, compared to only 250 in 1985 [source - Rasmussen College].
Millennials have coined a new term, ‘work-life integration’ a modification of the term ‘work-life balance’. They are connected, fully expecting to be available to work 24/7, but with this they also expect a certain level of autonomy and independence while they work. There is no separation between living and working to them – they are the ‘always on’ generation that is not afraid to work evenings and weekends. For them, the best place to get this level of autonomy is to create their own businesses. As a result entrepreneurial support organizations are booming and seeking out solutions such as Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM from vendors with the experience to help them maximize their benefit, such as Altus Dynamics. We wish them and our future entrepreneurs, all the best.