There’s a lot of so-called data and anecdotes about Millennials and entrepreneurship, most of it leaning toward the conclusion that Millennials have a strong penchant for entrepreneurialism. Alas, such information is askew.

Because the bookending birth years around generations are often quite misunderstood (we don’t yet have a collective intelligence in society around how generations are formed and how long they are), the birth years for Millennials often “borrow” a bit from GenXers’ years and bleed over into a phenomenon sometimes called “Gen Y.” Many people feel Gen Y and Millennials are the same thing, and data/reports/surveys about Millennials, or Gen Y, are often askew because of this misconception.

young black entrepreneur myths

For what it’s worth, Gen Y is really the latter third of GenXers whose parents are almost exclusively Boomers, whereas the first third of GenXers have solidly Silent generation parents.

The result of these inaccurate generational birth years in white papers and surveys, etc. is traits belonging to Xers sometimes get attributed to Millennials. Millennial entrepreneurialism is one of those misconceptions.

True: quite a few Millennials run businesses and many are self-made. But if you get up close and really look at the differences with GenXers above them, you’ll see many Millennials started businesses with significant family support, start-up incubators and a host of freemium online tools Xers and Boomers had to pay for in their earlier start-up days. The climate supporting Millennial business is one of support… none of which was true for Xer or Boomer entrepreneurs. 

What Millennials really want? 

Most Millennials are not looking for the initiation, risk and high chance of failure accompanying entrepreneurial adventures. What they really want is an LTR, a long-term relationship. They want a caring, committed employer-partner who will invest in them for the long-term. One that will see the relationship as a two-way street, with give and take. They want an employer who will welcome them, train them, support them, show them a clear path to success within their organization … and then follow through on their promises to them. 

FWIW, Millennials tend to receive the most from employers (in terms of technology, investment and support) but feel the least amount of satisfaction from the benefits, investment and support they receive.