The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that small businesses account for 48% of national employment in the United States. This represent 99.7% of all businesses in the country. Small business owners are the stewards of an enormous segment of the American economy. However, a number of older small business owners are retiring, and Millennials are not filling the small business gap; at least, not yet.
Millennials are people born between 1982 and 2000, and they are the largest generation America has ever seen. In fact, there are over 83 million Millennials in the United States. Furthermore, this generation is expected to make up as much as 75% of the workforce by 2025. Like Generation X before them, and Baby Boomers before that generation, Millennials, aka Generation Y, are dramatically altering the American way of life, including in the business arena. However, they have yet to pick up the torch as small business owners.
Why is this? Simply put, Millennials are just less entrepreneurial than the generations preceding them. The ranks of young business owners are not growing as expected. Millennials are also more aware of the economic pressures that are reshaping how business is and will be done in the future.
And, of course, many Millennials were raised with the Big Box mentality. Mom and pop stores might be rather foreign to some. It has been proven that Big Box giants, such as Walmart, kill off local small businesses. And then there’s Amazon. The mega online retailer has drastically changed the American retail landscape.
Perhaps we will one day see a resurgence in mom and pop small businesses. However, it will be up to Millennials to lead the charge, as the average age of the small business owner today is over 50 and many are looking toward retirement, and Generation X, people born between 1964 and 1979, are approximately half the number of people that are considered to be Baby Boomers and less than half the number of Millennials.