October 25, 2014

What Future Entrepreneurs Will Look Like

While Sasha and Malia Obama haven’t publicly announced that they plan to start businesses, they share something in common with the kids most likely to have such plans: They’re African-American.

obama daughterAccording to a Gallup poll of a representative sample of 1,721 children in fifth through twelfth grade conducted this Spring, African-American kids were significantly more likely than White kids to report that they plan to start a business. While 39 percent of White children said they plan to start a business, 52 percent of African-American kids reported this intention.

These numbers are interesting because they are so different from current adult self-employment rates. According to a recent study by Steve Hipple of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, African-Americans had lower incorporated and unincorporated self-employment rates than Whites. For unincorporated self-employment the rates were 7.4 percent for Whites and 4.5 percent for African-Americans. For incorporated self-employment, the rates were 4.2 percent for Whites and 1.5 percent for African-Americans.

Does the divergence between children’s plans and adult actions represent a generational shift in attitudes toward entrepreneurship among children of different races? Or does it demonstrate the greater obstacles that African-Americans face in achieving their entrepreneurial ambitions? I don’t know.

What do you think?


Source: Created from data from Gallup-Hope Index 2011


Image from Paul Frederiksen/Shutterstock

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Scott Shane


Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.

3 Reactions

  1. I’m glad to see so many kids aspiring to start their own businesses and I with them success. Many will undoubtedly struggle, some will fail, but entrepreneurship is ingrained in the American dream. I am hopeful for the future.

  2. It’s nice to see the American Dream is not dead and that even children still have goals to create a better life for themselves through small business.

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