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Young people held back by fear of business failure and lack of startup skills

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When asked about the business climate in their country for startups, EU youngsters score less favourably than their counterparts in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Confidence in their own entrepreneurial skills, a fear of failure, and how entrepreneurship is viewed as a career is also holding young people back.

The report, Generation Entrepreneur? The State of Global Youth Entrepreneurship, surveys more than 198,000 people across 69 countries and is published by Youth Business International and Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. 

The future does not look bright for entrepreneurship in Europe: just 17.3 per cent of Europeans aged 18-35 believe their are good business opportunities available and that they have the skills and knowledge required to start a business. 

This compares to 60 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa, 40 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 30 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa. Asia Pacific & South Asia was the only area to score lower, albeit only marginally at 16.8 per cent.

“This report suggests that young people around the world have the will, but not the means, to become entrepreneurs,” says Andrew Devenport, CEO of Youth Business International. 

“It’s worrying that whilst many young people do see good opportunities for starting up a business, most of those in Europe do not. At a time when we need more new businesses to help drive our economy forward, we want people to come together to support and encourage entrepreneurship in any way they can.”

Other key findings from the research: 

  • The USA has the highest percentage (12.6 per cent) of new or nascent business owners aged 18-35 with high growth 
  • Young people in Asia Pacific and South Asia are most likely, and young people in Sub-Saharan Africa least likely, to make use of an online trading 
  • Young entrepreneurs in all regions of the world perceive themselves, on average, to be more innovative than adults with respect to the extent to which their product or service is new to some or all customers and where few or no other businesses offer the same 
  • In sub-Saharan Africa (77.7%), Latin America and the Caribbean (75.7%) and Asia Pacific and South Asia (73.2%) approximately three-quarters of youth new or nascent businesses are primarily reliant on personal/family or friends for funding to start a business.

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