More Than Two-thirds of Teens Hope to Become Entrepreneurs

Forty-two percent of those polled think unemployment is economy's biggest challenge

Taking a cue from business moguls such as Donald Trump and Richard Branson, today's teens are excited about the possibility of being their own boss, according to the JA Worldwide (Junior Achievement) 2005 "Interprise Poll on Teens and Entrepreneurship." Sixty-nine percent of those taking the poll indicated they would like to start their own business, a five percent increase over last year's results. When asked what kind of business they would be most interested in starting, "Professional services" - such as an accountant, lawyer, or insurance agent - was the top category selected (27.2%), followed closely by "retail business" (25.8%). A total of 1,155 students from 120 JA franchises across the country participated in the poll, the fourth Interprise Poll on this topic.

Teens' enthusiasm for starting their own business is tempered by the knowledge that obstacles to success are numerous; only 10 percent of student respondents believe that starting a business would be "easy" or "very easy." The remainder indicated that this process would involve varying degrees of difficulty, thus underscoring the need for mentoring opportunities, small business loans, and help devising a business plan.

Firmly embracing the possibility of achieving the "American Dream," 46 percent of teens believe the greatest motivator to start a business is "having a great idea and wanting to see it in action." Conversely, students think the most likely reason people don't start a business is "not enough money to get started" (33.5%) and "fear of failure" (32.5%). The notion of controlling one's own destiny may be spurring the dream of entrepreneurship, and that owning your own business can provide protection against economic shifts, as 42 percent of the respondents feel that "unemployment" is the biggest threat to the nation's economy. However, when the issue of job security arises, students narrowly favor company employment (38.1%) to self-employment (36.0%).

To help teens get a new business up and running, there is a new online resource available. JA Worldwide and the U.S. Small Business Administration recently unveiled "Mind Your Own Business," a co-sponsored web-site with information, tips, and suggestions designed to guide teens through the necessary steps to starting a business. The web-site is located at

One teen who has experienced success in the world of business at a young age was recently recognized as JA Worldwide's 2005 "National Student Entrepreneur of the Year." Brian Hendricks, a twelfth grade student at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., started "StartUpPC," providing a cost-effective alternative to computer stores and on-site technical support companies. The Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award is sponsored by the NASDAQ Educational Foundation, and is awarded to a student who demonstrates achievement, leadership, and career potential by starting a successful business. The student is also required to submit teacher recommendations and compose a 500-word essay about the obstacles one must overcome when starting a business.

"I'm thrilled to have been selected as the National Student Entrepreneur of the Year, and am grateful to Junior Achievement and the NASDAQ Educational Foundation for this honor," said Hendricks, who plans to major in business in college. "It has always been my dream to be a successful entrepreneur or CEO, and this award makes me want to grow StartUpPC even more. It was also inspiring to meet the SBA Administrator himself!" Hendricks was presented with the award by Hector V. Barreto, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

"Brian Hendricks embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that JA Worldwide is all about," said David S. Chernow, president and chief executive officer of JA Worldwide. "JA Worldwide is pleased to join with NASDAQ in recognizing his worthy achievement at such a young age. I'm sure we'll be seeing great things from him in the future."

For more information about the JA "Interprise Poll on Teens and Entrepreneurship," visit

About JA Worldwide (Junior Achievement)
JA Worldwide is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and entrepreneurship. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA Worldwide provides in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12. JA Worldwide offers educational programs that focus on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy, and career development. Today, 143 offices reach four million students in the United States, with more than 2.6 million students served by operations in 98 countries worldwide. For more information, visit

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