Four Ways How Millennials Approach Entrepreneurship

Gone are the days when entrepreneurship was considered a risky profession and people preferred the security of salaried corporate jobs. Then the millennials*, a.k.a. Gen Y, arrived on the scene and changed the conversation on how to approach entrepreneurship. As millennials constitute the largest segment of today’s global labour market, it would be beneficial to understand what drives millennials when it comes to entrepreneurship. It, in turn, will enable the key stakeholders in the startup ecosystem to partner with millennial founders and harness the unique strengths and perspectives they bring to the table.

According to recent research findings, 71 per cent of millennials at ‘regular jobs’ aspire to quit and become entrepreneurs. Among the reasons cited for their entrepreneurial aspirations include the freedom to be self-employed, have the potential to earn unlimited income and the creative freedom to exercise control over the type of work they undertake. This trend perhaps explains the success of reality shows such as ‘Shark Tank’ that scout for path-breaking startup ideas that could change the world for the better.

The next generation of resourceful startup leaders has shown that they mean business when they express their desire to start their own business. In this blog, we explore how the refreshing mindset of millennials has paved the way for a global startup revolution.

Millennials dislike routine

One reason why millennials are lured into entrepreneurship is that they don’t like being bogged down by routine jobs. While studies such as this one have shown that millennials are mostly risk-averse and take sound financial decisions, they are also more idealistic than the Gen X-ers before them. It is the reason why millennials don’t conform to the norm and seek out jobs that are fulfilling and meaningful. Further, driven by the need to follow their passions, they ultimately run their own companies.

TEDx speaker and serial entrepreneur Varun Agarwal, 32, is one such individual. He chose to follow his entrepreneurial passion by co-founding three startups, instead of opting for a regular corporate job. His success story inspires the youth as is seen in the rise of Agarwal as one of India’s most popular motivational speakers, despite having failed engineering. He truly represents the millennial mindset of following his passion.

Millennials like to think out of the box

Innovation has become a trending word largely due to the role of new-age entrepreneurs in chasing unique ideas. Millennials like to disrupt existing industries and ideas. Being the first generation of digital natives, they intrinsically understand how to leverage social media to their startup’s advantage. Being curious, innovation-focused and competitive, they seek an enabling environment that will help them contribute to the startup ecosystem.

For instance, when millennial Jennifer Batchelor went shopping for a ‘feel-good’ drink sans the ‘downsides of alcohol’, she soon found herself on the path to innovation. It led her to create a new category of non-alcoholic beverages called ‘euphorics’ that are made from herbs and synthetic compounds. The innovation reflects the wellness trends among millennials who are moving away from alcoholic drinks.

Millennials prefer teamwork

According to an IBM study, millennials value the power of teamwork and believe that all team members should be recognised for their contribution. They prefer to collaborate across departments and are in favour of removing silos in their startups. Thus, millennials have ushered in a culture of collaboration as only then will better companies be run and better decisions be made for the organisation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 35, has been vocal about the importance of team-building since the initial days of the company. He is of the view that communication is vital to strong team dynamics and will eventually enable the organisation to meet its business objectives. Further, managers and team members should have clarity about their expectations and goals as only then can they be in sync with each other. Zuckerberg has also stressed on the importance of giving teams sufficient autonomy as it will lead to better collaboration and foster creativity in the organisation.

Millennials want to give back to society

Contrary to popular belief that millennials are an entitled lot, they have proved to display a high social conscience. For instance, even though Ananya Birla, 25, the scion of the Aditya Birla Group, comes from a privileged background, she is a strong advocate of financial inclusion of poor rural women in India’s economic growth story. She founded her startup Svatantra Microfin at the age of seventeen as she felt the need to empower women at the bottom of the pyramid. Birla has also co-founded the Mpower movement, an ambitious endeavour to affect change associated with the stigma of mental health.

Sharad Vivek Sagar, 28, a graduate from Tufts University, is a rising star in the social impact space. He founded Dexterity Global at the age of sixteen to empower the next generation of leaders through educational opportunities. According to Sagar, Dexterity Global aims to address wide education gaps, particularly in rural parts of South Asia, where a digital divide exists. Sagar’s impressive accomplishments had got him an invitation to the White House when the former U.S president Barack Obama was in power. The Rockefeller Foundation also inducted him in the list of 100 next-century innovators.


If the startup ecosystem has to evolve and thrive, it should support the hugely talented and innovative millennials. More so because millennials will be roughly 50 per cent of the workforce in the U.S. in 2020 and 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2030.

Interestingly, it has become common practice in today’s corporate culture for employees across the generational divide to adopt a millennial mindset. Considering the growing power of the millennial workforce, managers should become more adept at recognising the role of Gen-Y in making the world a better and more inclusive place.

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