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Generation Y lead digital innovation but are failed by firms

4 February, 2015 / Articles

Nearly 70 percent of millennials want to run their own startups – an aspiration that businesses need to harness

Millennials, or Generation Y, are one of the most entrepreneurial generations to join the workforce, according to research from consulting firm EY, with 68 percent of 25-34 year olds aspiring to run their own business.

Based on a survey conducted by Censuswide of 1,000 business professionals, the research explored how entrepreneurial skills can be fostered in large companies. It revealed that many large businesses are failing to harness the entrepreneurial talents of their employees, with only half (52 percent) of millennials surveyed feeling that “their skills and attributes are fully utilised by their current organisation”.

Steve Wilkinson, UK and Ireland managing partner for markets at EY, said: “An entrepreneurial mind-set is often associated with small startup businesses. Whereas in reality, all organisations, regardless of size and scale, need people who can innovate, create and challenge the status quo. That’s why the best businesses focus on building diverse teams to ensure they are drawing on the widest spectrum of views.”

According to the survey, 82 percent of all respondents have previously had or currently have ideas that could create new opportunities or revenue for their organisation. However, many organisations have been slow to capitalise on these entrepreneurial skills, with only half of the respondents (54 percent) saying they have been able to implement their ideas in their workplace.

Rajeeb Dey, founder and chief executive officer of Enternships.com and co-founder of Startup Britain, partnered with EY to look at the role of entrepreneurship within large organisations. He said: “Businesses are failing both to realise significant potential growth and failing to retain their entrepreneurial talent. We operate in a knowledge economy and in a competitive economic landscape it is essential for businesses to continue to innovate and stay ahead of their competition. In order to do this they need to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit and empower and support their employees to drive growth.”

The survey highlighted that many of today’s workforce recognise the limitations of their current employers. Only half (48 percent) of professionals feel they can achieve their ambitions with their current employer, and a mere third of respondents say their workplace has “an entrepreneurial and innovative culture”.

Neil Crockett, CEO at Digital Catapult, believes that for startups to grow there are various requirements and support mechanisms which need to be in place. He said: “The UK has become a hotbed for startups with more than 24,000 new businesses forming in the last year alone, boosting innovation in their various sectors, but also driving the UK economy forward. Nowhere has this new entrepreneur generation been more prevalent than in digital.”

He said: “In order to allow companies to realize their potential they must be given the means to collaborate with peers, larger businesses, academics and other stakeholders. In future we and the other innovation acceleration organizations need to work hard on aligning and coordinating to make sure we have more impact for this exciting new generation of UK digital entrepreneurs.”

The Digital Catapult is based opposite King’s Cross station in London and is actively helping digital startups and SMEs connect with academics and enterprises who may be able to help them realize their potential.




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