Millennial Entrepreneurs Fueling Change in the Economy
To our readers: This is another entry in an occasional series by GoodCall® writer Marisa Sanfilippo on entrepreneurs. Today’s narrative concerns four millennial entrepreneurs whose actions counter the common narrative about the generation.
Millennials tend to get a bad reputation. Time calls them the “Me, Me, Me Generation” noting that they are famous for narcissism and entitlement. Other stereotypes: They are lazy, change jobs too often, and are materialistic. What’s often overlooked is how entrepreneurial this generation is and how it makes a positive impact on the economy. Many millennials, it turns out, are creating new jobs while helping charities along the way.
No less than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation, in its Millennial Generation Research review, references millennials as the “Entrepreneurial Generation.” The review notes the following:
- Though research varies, one-half to two-thirds of millennials are interested in entrepreneurship.
- More than one-fourth (27 percent) are already self-employed.
- Males, blacks, and Latinos are most inclined toward becoming millennial entrepreneurs; females are more likely to be interested in starting nonprofits.
- Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation to date with 27 percent of women and 21 percent of men completing at least a bachelor’s degree, according to Pew Research.
- And while this generation might be the most in debt, they do stay in school longer than any previous generation.
The rise of millennial entrepreneurs
Regardless of what outsiders think of millennials, this is a generation that will shape the economy for decades to come. According to Fortune, millennial entrepreneurs already are making a mark. They have launched about twice as many companies as the Boomers have. Remi Frank, global head of the key client group at BNP Paribas, credits two possible reasons for this:
- It might be easier today to create a business than before.
- Millennials may be more open to failure than boomers.
Millennial entrepreneurs are plentiful, but here’s a closer look at four: Anthony Khamsei, Nima Veiseh, Jennifer Kapahi, and Adriana Marie.
Anthony Khamsei: The itch of entrepreneurship
Anthony Khamsei is the owner of two businesses. He first started Gold Security in 2012 while on a mission to make the internet a safer place. At the time, he was studying computer science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and got inspired.
“I took in some reference customers, and it suddenly became a real business. Now it’s one off the best IT security companies in Sweden and Europe (technology-wise),” he said. “Websites are getting hacked everyday; it’s our job to make them more secure and less of a target for malicious attacks,” he said.
Khamsei always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, and he still gets the urge to expand to new levels. That’s why, a few months ago, he brought Trip Seats to life. This travel search company has quickly grown to an international staff of 20. In total, his two businesses have created 26 – and counting – jobs.
Nima Veiseh: Inventor mindset
Production designer and entrepreneur Nima Veiseh started Dress Abstract three years ago as a platform to bring high-art into high-fashion. The motivation behind the company is to empower those with creative skills, giving them a platform for those skills to be appreciated by the brand’s clients, Veiseh says.
Unlike Khamsei, he didn’t grow up with the urge to be an entrepreneur; instead, he wanted to be an inventor. “[At Dress Abstract] we are passionate about the creation process, and we are inventing new techniques and platforms to enable artists to get compensated and appreciated for their art,” he says.
This business idea largely came from intersection of his experience as a commercial painter, training as an MIT engineer, and academic work in sustainability, he say. Through his academic training in sustainability and design, Veiseh saw an opportunity to help those who may not have the chance to practice and build their skills as refugees in their new home in the United States. Through his company, he gives back. “A percentage of [our] revenues are made as donations to refugee causes like the International Rescue Committee,” Veiseh says
Dress Abstract has created a dozen jobs both directly and indirectly through the impact of the business during the past three years.
Jennifer Kapahi: Passionate product developer
Jennifer Kapahi, co-founder of beauty products brand trèStiQue, is a product developer with more than 12 years experience in the industry. Prior to trèStiQue, she led sales and marketing efforts for some of top manufacturing cosmetic companies and has driven product development efforts at Revlon.
Kapahi grew up with a family of entrepreneurs and knew becoming one herself was something she always wanted to do. “When you are passionate about something it becomes your life, work, and hobby. I love the intensity of entrepreneurship and the endless possibilities.”
The company is on track to double sales this year and looks forward to continued growth.
Adriana Marie: Emerging designer turns entrepreneur
As an emerging designer, Adriana Marie founded AMCONYC, a creative platform for millennial fashion designers/event production company. “Part of my business plan was to organize pop-up stores in different markets to test out what was selling and where. That was research for opening my own store,” she says. “Through that process, I gathered other brands complimentary to mine to participate and create a well-rounded shopping experience. I did all the scouting, marketing, PR, organizing etc. After the first pop-up store was a success, the demand for my services became a full-time job and AMCONYC was born. It was very organic.”
Growing up she had a comfortable lifestyle but chose to work and “earn her own keep.” She worked several jobs and was successful at all of them, she said, but after moving to New York she realized she needed to join the cohort of millennial entrepreneurs.
“I think it has always been a part of who I am. I’ve always been incredibly independent,” she says. Since its founding in 2014, AMCONYC has created 11 jobs (not including interns). “Stimulating the interest of young industry folks is something we are very keen on doing. It is something they need freedom [from] while experiencing to really understand their calling,” she says.
AMCONYC also gives back. “To date, we have raised over 20K to help support the rising fashion designers in our community. Giving back has always been true to my heart and what a better way to stimulate the economy with giving back.”