Comments on Forbes Article – Millennials Want To Be Entrepreneurs, So Why Aren’t They Starting Businesses?

Posted comments today on Forbes article by Jared Meyer on why millenials are not pursuing their “entrepreneurial dreams” and reinforced the same points I am making in other forums:

— 50% of new ventures fail within five years- we need to educate entrepreneurs, provide tools and ‘best practices’ to create more ‘Survivor’ entrepreneurs

— We do a poor job of offering entrepreneurial education curriculum that really addresses the skills needed to develop winning entrepreneurial management strategies and improve the probability of success

You can see a copy of the Forbes article and comments at– here is a copy of my posted comments:


Thanks for insightful article- good discussion. Glad to share four perspectives on entrepreneurship based on my experience and publications.

First, serving as an Adjunct Professor at 3 leading universities since 2002 teaching mostly Capstone courses, at the first class I always ask for a show of hands on the question “How many of you would like to be an entrepreneur?” after graduation. My survey results shows 50 percent or less answer yes, and sometimes much less. While they see upside, most also understand the challenges here and life’s realities on the need for a steady income, and I am sure this drives these numbers much lower.

Sec1ondly, entrepreneurs must invest time, resources, maybe take a second mortgage on a home, max credit card debt, and if really fortunate, may attract some investors and capture customers. But statistics show half of these new ventures are doomed to fail within five years. Looking deeper, SBA statistics show what drives all business failures: Management Competence (46%), Lack of Managerial Experience (30%), and Lack of Market Sector Experience (11%). Summary- entrepreneur commitment and risks are high, the probability of success are modest.

Third, in my view we are failing in educating entrepreneurs to meet today’s new venture challenges.

Today’s market, technology, and competition challenges are tougher than ever and savvy investors know that. New players emerge and are attacked by newer players using even newer technology. Teaching entrepreneurs how to start and manage a new venture really is the easy part – from business idea, business plan, resources, and launch – the skills needed here can be learned. In a recent book (8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business), I defined these “SYOB” (“Start Your Own Business”) skills as Entrepreneurial Management 1.0, and these skills are not sufficient to meet today’s challenges

Finally, simply put, yesterday’s skills do not meet today’s entrepreneur’s needs. Recognize that Fortune 500 companies develop new ventures using some SYOB techniques, but before committing resources to pursue new ventures, major firms do more- they look at strategic issues; identify value chain metrics; identify peer group competitors; assess market attractiveness using Five Forces Models; identify alliances and global strategies; assess how venture metrics impact overall ROI given 3 to 5,000 other products and services, and so on. And these new skills are the foundation for what I call Entrepreneurial Management 2.0, a new entrepreneurial management discipline I developed building on SYOB tools, drawing upon Fortune 500 firm techniques for launching and managing new ventures, and my experiences working with many early stage companies. Entrepreneurial Management 2.0 is a portfolio of new entrepreneurial management skills organized into 8 Building Blocks to meet today’s business challenges to help manage and grow new ventures. (see “Half of All New Ventures Fail Within 5 Years- What Is Driving This Sobering SBA Statistic?”) The objective here- help entrepreneurs launch, manage, and grow successful ventures and reduce new venture failure rates.

I share your view on the role entrepreneurship plays in driving economic growth and working on several proposed programs to meet this need (national and regional level), and also exploring a new venture development fund. In 2009, I developed and managed a new Step Up Program to bridge the academic and business community and help educate entrepreneurs- more info and press interview at George Mason University Step Up Program and Paul B. Silverman – Press Interview. This is a representative direction I foresee, coupled with creative new venture financing options.

Summarizing, we can be doing much more to educate and motivate entrepreneurs, jumpstart and grow our entrepreneurship sector- these actions will also drive positive economic growth

Paul B. Silverman


Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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