A new study by GoDaddy has revealed that 45% of students leaving school are considering skipping university to become young entrepreneurs.
There is no single factor responsible for this shift towards young entrepreneurship. The data shows that it is a combination of rising university fees, higher cost of living, and a desire to find financial freedom following the pandemic which is driving the change.
75% of 16 to 19-year-olds surveyed say that university is too expensive, leading 42% of that group to reconsider higher education. A major factor for 55% of leaving students is financial independence, which is expected following the pandemic which kept many of them at their family homes. The number of small businesses owned by people under 35 has more than doubled since March of 2020.
The Youth Group is an organisation dedicated to helping young people enter the world of work. With 1.7 million members, The Youth Group provides means for businesses and young people to connect with the end goal of employment. CEO Jack Parsons took the path of a young entrepreneur himself, choosing to skip university and start his own business shortly after leaving school. He describes how the rising cost of higher education is leading to more young people choosing to stay out of debt and explore entrepreneurship.
“I work with thousands of young people and am seeing more and more of them choose to start their own business instead of attending university. Starting a business has never been easier, so as higher education becomes more expensive I expect to see this tend continue,” Parsons says, adding that “Running your own business gives you certain skills, such as emotional intelligence, that simply can’t be developed in the same way at university.”
37% of young entrepreneurs not pursuing higher education have already started their own businesses.
While university is certainly not the guaranteed career path that it used to be, higher education does provide some level of stability. At the very least, it provides young people with something productive to do while they figure out what it is they would like to do in life. Therefore, there will always be some trepidation when considering a different path.
Common concerns for young entrepreneurs are mainly centred around entering their chosen industry rather than long-term issues. 89% cite a perceived lack of experience as a barrier to success. For 48%, fear of failure is what holds them back. As with everything, money is a concern, and 43% believe that lack of capital could mean failure to launch.
Ben Law is the Head of UK and Ireland at GoDaddy. He believes that this shift towards young entrepreneurship shows the next generation’s passion for business and their willingness to explore less traditional routes to success.
“GoDaddy is focused on empowering entrepreneurs and making opportunity more inclusive for all, and it’s inspiring to see a new generation of entrepreneurs explore different routes to success,” Law says, “Gone are the days where a university degree automatically translated to career success and financial independence. Today, young people feel inspired to follow their passion and hone their business skills.”
Need some inspiration? Read the story of young entrepreneur Zack Fortag here:
Lessons from a young entrepreneur: a conversation with Zack Fortag