Millennials want their businesses to be about more than profit, says Norwich-based researcher

Radostina Dencheva, investment analyst at Chadwicks in Norwich, speaks at a masterclass on millennia

Radostina Dencheva, investment analyst at Chadwicks in Norwich, speaks at a masterclass on millennials hosted by the firm at the UEA's Enterprise Centre. Picture: Bethany Whymark - Credit: Archant

A strong ethical code and scalability are among the most important factors for millennials starting up their own businesses.

Radostina Dencheva, an investment analyst at Norwich-based wealth managers Chadwicks, has researched the generation intensively and says millennial entrepreneurs tend to want 'a business that is focused on more than just financial performance and profit, on having a positive impact on society and the world'.

She said entrepreneurship is a dream for many millennials, with more than half (54%) wanting to start their own company or already having done so – however, only 22% feel branching out on your own is the best way to advance your career.

Popular sectors for millennials to start businesses in are technology, retail and e-commerce, which can be easier to scale up than the professional services start-ups favoured by baby boomers and are more adaptable to 'on demand' operational models.

The sharing economy, typified by companies like Airbnb and Liftshare, is an attractive area for the generation, who are driving its expansion through spending habits and business ventures.

Ms Dencheva argued the impact of the 2008 recession was still prominent among millennials, making them 'one of the most risk-averse generations in history', with avoidance of failure a major motivator in their work life.

'But although they start fewer businesses, the ones they do start are bigger. On average they employ twice as many staff with annual incomes 1.5 times the average,' she said.

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As well as security, a work-life balance is important to both self-employed and employed millennials, while around 74% desiring flexible hours.

A more 'informal' style of leadership, where an employer could also be seen as a 'mentor', was preferable for more than three quarters of the generation, she added.

Millennials – defined as being born between around 1980 and the late 1990s – are now the largest generation in the UK, accounting for 25% of the population.

Ms Dencheva said this age group had 'grown up in a digital revolution', enabling them to make more and different use of technologies.