Almost a third of Gen Z founders think they lack the business knowledge to succeed

Record-numbers of young people are choosing to start up a company, but many fear they are lacking key business skills.

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Young people have plenty of entrepreneurial enthusiasm but have low confidence about their practical business skills, according to a new report by Connectd.

The survey, conducted by independent pollsters Censuswide, explored the attitudes and perspectives of Gen Z founders in contrast to entrepreneurs over the age of 25.

It found that Zoomers are 29% more likely to have doubts about their business knowledge when compared to older entrepreneurs.

According to Gen Z founders, they struggle most with understanding how to commercialise their proposition. 80% of respondents said this was their biggest area for improvement, as they attempt to seat business practicality and scale-up alongside their creative ideas.

Booming entrepreneurial landscape means Gen Z founders struggle to stand out

Gen Z has been labelled the ‘startup generation’ by experts, thanks to their penchant for side hustles. In fact, research has shown that 36% of young people want to be their own boss one day.

The Connectd survey, conducted by independent pollsters Censuswide, explored the motivations and actions of 50 Gen Z founders and compared them with the same number of entrepreneurs over the age of 25.

According to the results, the biggest challenge Gen Zers are currently facing is finding a unique selling point (USP) that will enable them to stand out from the competition.

42% of Gen Z founders felt this was their biggest challenge, compared to 35% of founders aged 25 or older.

Post-COVID, the UK’s entrepreneurial community has welcomed a huge number of new tenants. Government data shows that 753,168 companies were set up between March 2021 and March 2022, only a slight decrease on the year before.

In an increasingly competitive market, crowded with voices shouting about how unique their product or service is, it can take businesses years to figure out how to build a unique brand that can make enough noise to stand out.

Even experienced business owners know the struggle of choosing a business name and registering it on Companies House, only to realise the idea has already been trademarked.

Gen Z founders more likely to use technology to solve business challenges

Nonetheless, it is not just younger founders who feel they are missing out on crucial business knowledge. Entrepreneurs aged over 25 still feel they have much to learn, with 63% citing understanding of technology and products as their biggest area for improvement.

Small businesses began a rapid digital transformation post-COVID, as many firms switched to virtual meetings and online working.

But while new ways of working seem to be difficult for older workers to acclimatise to, Gen Zers – the group who grew up alongside the internet – have quickly adapted and are using the tools to fill their knowledge gaps.

82% of business founders under the age of 25 say they predominantly use technology to find the answers to their business quandaries. That’s compared to 65% of older workers, who are more likely to outsource their business challenges to experts.

Gen Zer’s familiarity with tech means they will also have a natural advantage when it comes to using emerging tools, like AI marketing software, to scale their business.

Founder and CEO of Connectd, Roei Samuel, commented: “Gen Z founders are incredibly adept at identifying their own weaknesses and proactively finding solutions. It’s an exciting time for the entire startup ecosystem to play a part in empowering this next generation.”

Want to start your own business, but need help getting started? Check out our simple, 11-step guide to how to start a business..

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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