Student debt and millennial entrepreneurs: 'Don't ever underestimate your sweat equity'
The millennial workforce embodies a pioneering mindset, seeing entrepreneurship as an idealized career path, according to recent studies. While data suggests many millennials feel entrepreneurial and aspire to start their own businesses, few do. Business owners under age 30 are small in number — 65 percent smaller than the same age group in the 1980s. From 2004 to 2014, the number of student borrowers rose 89 percent and the debt itself grew by 77 percent. Many industries that used to rely on the young adult market are feeling the sting from this debt load, from car and home sales to vacations, and small business loans have seen a similar decline in the demographic. "That's a real counterforce to uncapping or unleashing the entrepreneurship potential of students," Jeff Stoltman, the director of entrepreneurship and innovation programs at Wayne State University, said of student loans. "I think we'll see greater numbers [of millennial entrepreneurs.] We want you to go in with your eyes open. If you think starting something is easy, let's show you what is involved here. We want you to understand there are serious challenges here and you have to have the special sauce [and] you have to be able to invest [in] yourself," Stoltman said.