Why Gen Z Is Thriving in Entrepreneurship


Last updated: June 20, 2024

young_woman_is_working_on_a_laptopOlder generations often saw entrepreneurship as a risky career path. Gen Z sees it as a golden opportunity.

A few years back, on a flight to Phoenix, I met 17-year-old twins who couldn’t be more different. The sister was a straight-A student, while the brother was an entrepreneurial prodigy with his own car wash business.

He had already built five facilities and was planning five more.

His motivation? “I hate school,” he admitted. He was completing online courses to graduate early and dive into the real world.

This young man is not an outlier. Gen Z is rapidly emerging as one of the most entrepreneurial generations. A 2020 WP Engine survey found that 62% of Gen Zers planned to start their own business.

More recent research by Square pushes that number to 84%.

According to the Square study, Gen Z business owners:

  • 72% believe economic times are tougher for them than previous generations, but 39% still want to start another business.
  • 39% employ five or more people.
  • 46% want lower taxes, 42% seek affordable housing, and 35% support universal basic income.
  • 45% use personal savings to fund their businesses.
  • 80% launched online or with a mobile component, while 46% also have physical locations.

“Many Gen Zers and younger audiences are looking toward entrepreneurial opportunities as a more attractive career path,” says Dave Liniger, founder of RE/MAX.

“This generation values independence and flexibility in their work life, often prioritizing work-life balance and the ability to control their own schedules.”

Entrepreneurship for Job Security

Gen Z’s entrepreneurial drive is fueled by a quest for financial security and personal fulfillment, especially in an era marked by economic instability and the gig economy.

Unlike previous generations who prized corporate careers for their security, Gen Z views entrepreneurship as a stable alternative.

“Growing up in the digital age, Gen Z has seen young entrepreneurs excel in the tech field as well as other industries, and aspire to pursue an entrepreneurial career path.” Liniger notes.

The digital era has demystified the path to entrepreneurship.

Although many young individuals often do not have the financial means or connections to start a company/business the same way as older generations do, digital and social media platforms today provide accessible options for personal brand building,” says Liniger, “as well as a means to monetize their passions through online businesses.”

Getting Started

Gen Z’s pivot towards entrepreneurship often bypasses traditional college routes. Many young entrepreneurs seek alternative education sources or learn by doing.

“Success in entrepreneurship often hinges on personal character and work ethic rather than formal education,” Liniger asserts.

In his book The Perfect 10, he emphasizes that success is more about adaptability and character than conventional markers like degrees.

Liniger advises aspiring entrepreneurs to gain industry experience and learn from successful mentors.

“When I first entered the real estate industry, I first became successful as an agent by learning the ins and outs of the industry before taking the leap to launch my own company,” he says.

“It’s beneficial to gain industry experience for a year or two to fully understand the inner workings and necessary tools you may need to then launch a business of your own.”

Looking Ahead

Liniger is optimistic about Gen Z’s entrepreneurial prospects. “This generation specifically tends to march to the beat of their own drum, and has the mindset that’s ready to pursue an entrepreneurial path,” he observes.

Despite negative stereotypes from older generations, Gen Z is poised to lead the future workforce.

“Many individuals within these newer generations will continue to achieve success and flourish within their respective industries,” Liniger concludes.

One thing is clear: Underestimating what Gen Z can achieve is a mistake.

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About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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