Changing demographic trends are altering the American economic landscape in ways that will affect the economy for years to come. Large numbers of workers are nearing traditional retirement age, and a new generation of young, highly educated workers is poised to take their place. The aging of Baby Boomers and the emergence of Millennials are two of the biggest demographic developments in America today.
These shifts are occurring at a time in which big questions remain about the strength and future of the U.S. economy. An increasing number of reports and data analyses have revealed that rates of business creation have been slowing across the United States—a troubling development since new and young businesses account for nearly all net new job creation.
Demographics are not determinative, but they can help us understand where we are headed. As Baby Boomers age, will they embrace retirement or continue to engage in entrepreneurial ventures as they get older? As the oldest of the Millennials enter the "peak age" for entrepreneurship, will entrepreneurial activity explode or continue to languish?
The answers to these questions are unknown, but public policy will shape the environment in ways that will either facilitate new business creation and growth or make it harder for individuals in these demographic groups to achieve their entrepreneurial potential.
This massive generational shift was the theme of the 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address, where four panelists each offered a policy idea to boost levels of entrepreneurship among Millennials and Baby Boomers.
Address Student Debt
Create Tax Structures that Facilitate Entrepreneurship
Let Entrepreneurs Compete
Connect Entrepreneurs of All Ages
Peer-learning and mentor-mentee relationships can provide many benefits to entrepreneurs. Encourage these types of entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur connections to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems.
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*Based on a Kauffman survey of 479 Inc. high-growth firms, the major methods of finance are personal savings (67 percent), bank loans (52 percent), and credit cards (34 percent), while finance from venture capital and angel investors share a small portion (15 percent combined).
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