New National Poll: Risk and Failure Top Deterrents for Aspiring Teen Entrepreneurs

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A new Junior Achievement survey found that more than half of teen respondents (51 percent) would like to own their own business someday. However, in the face of a prolonged economic recovery, many teens fear the risk of starting a business venture.

Junior Achievement

I always thought that starting a business was a scary endeavor that people much older and more experienced than myself took on. Through my JA classes, I learned the basic concepts of entrepreneurship and how business works in the 21st century.

A new Junior Achievement survey found that more than half of teen respondents (51 percent) would like to own their own business someday. However, in the face of a prolonged economic recovery, many teens fear the risk of starting a business venture. Of those polled, 74 percent identified risk (39 percent) and failure (35 percent) as the biggest discouragements from starting their own business, compared to 56 percent who cited lack of money to fund their ideas. The Junior Achievement 2010 Teens and Entrepreneurship Survey was sponsored by Sam's Club.

Risk and the possibility of failure, which are at the heart of entrepreneurship, are often unavoidable, but teaching young adults to overcome and manage those fears are the building blocks to success. Part of Junior Achievement's focus on entrepreneurship includes being a Global Entrepreneurship Week partner. Junior Achievement local operations around the globe will be hosting events during the Week to raise awareness around the importance of igniting the spark of entrepreneurship in young people to create jobs and spur economic growth.

Even with the high number of teens fearing risk, 84 percent of the kids surveyed recognized that taking the initiative and assuming risks to create value for businesses, whether they own them or not, should be taught in school.

"I always thought that starting a business was a scary endeavor that people much older and more experienced than myself took on," said Hillary Sadler, an 18 year-old Junior Achievement alumnae from Cleveland, Ohio. "Through my Junior Achievement classes, I learned the basic concepts of entrepreneurship and how business works in the 21st century. I now feel confident about my future success and prospects of opening a business."

Bringing the concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation into the classroom and creating meaningful experiences will give youth a head start on success. And with economic growth and job creation at the forefront of national debate, the need to cultivate an innovative, knowledge-based economy is ever more important.

"With so many teens fearing the risk and possible failure associated with starting a business, the time is now to teach them those essential skills to overcome that fear, so our young people can be successful in the 21st-century global marketplace," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA™. "Junior Achievement empowers students to overcome those fears so they step into the workforce armed with the necessary tools and confidence for success."

"The results of the survey are concerning but understandable in today's economic climate and will help us to better prepare young entrepreneurs," said Sharon Orlopp, senior vice president, Sam's Club People Group. "We applaud the efforts of Junior Achievement to understand the needs of their core customers, and trust these young entrepreneurs will also learn the importance of research to evaluate consumer attitudes as they prepare to develop products and businesses in the future."

While many teens are put off by the elements of risk and failure involved in entrepreneurship, they recognize the key skills needed to succeed in today's marketplace: 34 percent chose creativity and imagination, followed by 23 percent who named a solid work ethic, as the most crucial factors to be a successful entrepreneur or business person. Harnessing this creativity and imagination into innovative ideas is what drives economic growth and job creation.

Junior Achievement instills confidence and teaches students to overcome fears and own their economic success by bringing relevancy to classroom education. In fact, this sense of empowerment is what motivates teens to start a business. More than half of the participants in the Junior Achievement survey said the best reasons to start their own business was either to work for themselves (27 percent) or to take control of their destiny and set their career path (24 percent).

This is the eighth year that Junior Achievement has conducted its "Teens and Entrepreneurship Survey. For a summary of the results, visit http://www.ja.org. The survey was conducted in August 2010, and surveyed 1,000 U.S. young people ages 12-17 via telephone. The survey's margin of error is +/- 3.2 percent.

About Junior Achievement (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 126 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional 5.7 million students served by operations in 122 other countries worldwide.

About Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The first Sam's Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983. Today, Sam's Club serves more than 47 million U.S. Members with locations nationwide, as well in Brazil, China and Mexico. Sam's Club saves its members on average 30.4 percent over grocery and specialty retailers by offering superior values on quality merchandise and services for home or work. Saving is made simple at Sam's Club. Visit samsclub.com for more information.

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