Youth Remain Interested in Entrepreneurship Despite Economy

Press Release

KANSAS CITY, MO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/15/10 -- Despite a difficult economic climate, many young Americans are still interested in entrepreneurial pursuits.

A Harris Interactive(R) online poll, conducted on behalf of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, released today in conjunction with the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, reveals that 40 percent of youth ages eight to 24 would like to start a business at some future point, or already have done so. Additionally, young people are overwhelmingly optimistic about the possibility of owning their own business. Seventy-five percent of the eight- to 12-year-olds, 62 percent of the 13- to 17-year-olds and 62 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds agree that they can successfully start their own businesses if they work hard.

Results from the August 2010 survey of 5,077 young people are consistent with a previous study conducted in 2007.

“The economic downturn, it seems, has done nothing to dissuade young people from their dreams of business ownership,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, who kicked off the Week on Friday in front of more than 1,700 entrepreneurs at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif., the largest gathering of high-growth companies in the country. “The survey findings are good news, because economic recovery hinges on entrepreneurship. The survey results also attest that connecting with successful entrepreneurs inspires young people to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations, which is what Global Entrepreneurship Week was founded, in part, to accomplish.”

The survey shows that youth who know an entrepreneur personally have the strongest interest in starting their own businesses. (To access the complete youth poll findings, go to www.kauffman.org/youngentrepreneurs.)

Connecting young people to successful business owners is just one aspect of Global Entrepreneurship Week. It also inspires them to get started on their ideas and shows them what it takes to turn them into real-world projects and ventures. Co-founded by the Kauffman Foundation, the world’s largest foundation dedicated to entrepreneurship, and Enterprise UK, a business-led, government-backed campaign in the United Kingdom, Global Entrepreneurship Week helps current and would-be entrepreneurs gain knowledge, skills and networks to inspire and enable them to grow sustainable enterprises.

In the U.S. alone, more than 1,300 organizations in all 50 states -- including top universities, non-profit organizations, successful entrepreneurs, government agencies and corporate sponsors -- will be hosting hundreds of events, engaging students and celebrating firm creation during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Week has grown exponentially since its inaugural event in 2008: more than 10 million people in 103 countries will participate this year. In 2009, more than 7.5 million people took part in an estimated 32,000 events across 88 countries.

The U.S. Senate is on board, too. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, will be introducing a Senate Resolution to officially designate the week of November 15-21 as Global Entrepreneurship Week.

To view a complete list of participating countries and organizations, or to learn more about the Week, visit www.unleashingideas.org. For events only in the U.S., visit www.gewusa.org.

About Global Entrepreneurship Week With the goal to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity, Global Entrepreneurship Week will encourage youth to think big and turn their ideas into reality. From November 15-21, 2010, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement to generate new ideas and seek better ways of doing things. Tens of thousands of activities are being planned in dozens of countries. Global Entrepreneurship Week is founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Enterprise UK. For more information, visit www.unleashingideas.org, and follow unleashingideas on Twitter.

Kauffman Foundation The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students set to open in 2011. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on Twitter at kauffmanfdn and Facebook.

Survey Methodology This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Kauffman Foundation in August 2010 among 5,077 youth ages eight to 24. For eight- to 17-year-olds, figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, school location and parental education were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. For 18- to 24-year-olds, figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

For information, video b-roll and interviews, contact: Lacey Graverson Kauffman Foundation (816) 932-1116 lgraverson@kauffman.org Matthew Hantz M Booth & Associates (212) 481-7000 matthewh@mbooth.com

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