After reading your story: “Starting Up: Older, Wiser Entrepreneurs,” I certainly see the advantages that older individuals have in starting up a business. However, I’m wondering about the advantages a younger entrepreneur might have. Any thoughts? —Kayla McClinton, Rock Hill , S.C.
Young people have a lot to offer as entrepreneurs, says Thom Ruhe, the director of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, based in Kansas City, Mo. One of their biggest assets: An appetite for risk. Since young individuals typically have less to lose (they often don’t have mortgages, car loans, kids or spouses), they’re typically well positioned for entrepreneurship, he says.
Another advantage: Most young entrepreneurs are used to living a lean lifestyle, says Ruhe. “For many recent college-graduate entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial endeavor typically feels like an extension of college life — complete with roommates, ramen noodle meals and very late nights. That gets a bit less tenable the older one gets,” he says.
Of course, being wet behind the ears carries a number of drawbacks. Since a younger person tends to have fewer assets than an older person, for example, that means you generally qualify for less funding or credit. But probably the biggest issue is a lack of experience, says Ruhe.
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