Survey Debunks Perceptions about Entrepreneurial Millennials

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL ( – A new survey about millennials who own and operate small businesses found the energetic entrepreneurs to be cautious, not risk takers, and that they are more informed, which helps them add more rationality to their decision-making processes, according to Cargo, a full-service marketing and advertising firm.

“We found millennials to be purpose driven, so they are not looking for the typical work/balance scenario like other generations because they love what they do,” said Dan Gliatta, Cargo founder.

Gliatta reports that 58 percent of millennials are entrepreneurial and they have tremendous access to capital, a key ingredient for any successful small business startup. Millennials – born between 1980 and 2000 – are both the 20th century’s last generation and its first truly digital one.

While they are already a potent force in the marketplace, Gliatta said millennials will come into their own by 2020, when their spending is projected to grow to $1.4 trillion annually and represent 30 percent of total retail sales.

The study reveals the make-up and motivations of the newest generation and fastest growing and least understood segment of small business owners (SBOs) in North America. Recognizing how misrepresented this economically important demographic is, Cargo partnered with neuromarketing consultancy BRANDthro to better understand and analyze the emotional response of millennial SBOs through a combination of neuroscience and emotion artificial intelligence (AI).

Gliatta said the survey further explains that when looking at the big five personality traits, myths typically skew millennials towards extraversion and neuroticism, when in fact, millennials are highly conscientious.

And when it comes to the impending threat of technology, the survey found that the youngest millennials are concerned about loss of privacy and the scary nature of AI, while the oldest are worried about keeping up with the latest technology.

However, the survey did unveil that mid-age millennials embrace technology and are eager to explore new solutions.

“We also learned from the survey that for all SBOs, you need to move the heart to move the mind,” said Gliatta. “As organizations look to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced environment, the latest innovations and technologies provide essential tools that can help strengthen their offering. Through these tools, we recognized that advancements in AI had the potential to revolutionize the way marketers engage with their customers by predicting their response to a given message – even before it is created.”

Still other millennial experts like Jeffrey Butler question the designation of ‘entrepreneurial” for a large portion of the millennial generation. “If you look at the U.S. history, we are all entrepreneurial in some respects,” said Butler, author and a generation workplace expert.

But Butler was quick to add that the survey was right on the mark about millennials being the most important consumer block in this decade and beyond.

To measure the emotional response of millennial small business owners, the research was conducted through a custom online survey instrument designed by BRANDNthro and a sample size of 200. Participants were defined as small business owners in the United States and Canada, born between 1980 and 1994, and working in businesses ranging in size from 1 to 99 employees. The survey consisted of 45 multiple choice questions and 20 questions that required respondents to answer on a seven-point Lickert scale. Respondents were given 20 minutes to complete the survey.

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