What ignites entrepreneurship in young people?

Posted on May 23, 2017 • Category: Young Talent


Gallup research finds that future entrepreneurs have access to experiences that are instrumental to starting and growing a business. While optimism among students remains high – 40% of students in grades 5-12 want to start a business or invent something that will change the world – the majority lack the financial literacy to compete globally with other students. What’s involved?

Financial Literacy:

  • Parental Models – Children of business owners are more likely than others to say that they plan to start their own business.
  • Socio-economic Background – Children from households with an annual income of less than $36,000 are more likely to say that they want to start their own business. They may face more obstacles in terms of financial capital, but they have less to lose and more to gain.
  • Financial Literacy – 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance course. Twenty states require high school students to take an economics course and 16 require standardized testing on economic concepts.
  • Economic Participation – 57% of students say that they have an account with a bank or credit union. Students with up to $500 in a savings account designated for college are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate than their peers.
  • Internships & Work Experience – 4% of students report that they are interning with a local business. 16% of students report that they are working more than one hour a week. Internships and other kinds of work experiences help students explore opportunities.
  • Age – In 2016, 55% of students in grades 5-8 and 27% of students in grades 9-12 say they plan to start their own businesses. Waiting until high school to provide students with related coursework, internships and work opportunities may be too late.

Innate Talents:

  • Imagination – New businesses begin with ideas. They emerge more naturally when students have gained knowledge and experience in school and the workplace.
  • Confidence – While talent can’t be taught, determination and confidence can be nurtured from a young age.

Two of the eight citizen goals that describe The Arizona We Want are “job creation” and “making Arizona the place to be for young talent.” Learn More


40% America’s 5th to 12th graders who plan to start their own businesses.
The 2016 Gallup-HOPE Index: Quantifying the Economic Energy of America’s Youth  

Gallup, April 2017


27% High school students who plan to start a business, down 33% to 35% from prior years.
U.S. High School Students’ Entrepreneurial Ambition at New Low  

Gallup Analytics, April 20, 2017

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Lattie F. Coor

My Perspective

When CFA set out to build a citizens' agenda for Arizona, we didn't know it would end up placing Arizona at the center of a national struggle to address the challenges confronting democracy today–the growing lack of confidence that citizens have in government and their growing lack of participation in the civic life of our communities and nation.

In many ways, Arizona is a microcosm of these challenges. This fact was made clear in the results of the Gallup Arizona Poll (2009), which identified the deep concerns that Arizonans have about the need for both effective leaders and engaged citizens. CFA is now in the process of building Arizona Progress Meters for each of the 8 citizen goals defined by the people who live here. The culmination of these goals is The Arizona We Want.

The Arizona We Want is a long-term vision and it can be achieved if we work together.

Learn More about how CFA is activating the citizens' agenda for Arizona.

Citizen goals sit at the heart of all we do.