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#Entrepreneurs — 25.02.2018

Millennipreneurs: Solution-Driven Success

Youthful, wealthy and motivated to make positive impact, millennial entrepreneurs are outshining their business peers.

Millennipreneurs mastery of the digital economy has made them wealthier than any other entrepreneur age bracket and today’s youthful tycoons are determined to use their windfalls for the greater good.

Millennipreneurs – those aged 35 or under - reported an average net worth of $15.6 million, the highest among any generational grouping, while also reporting larger annual company revenues than the Elite Entrepreneur average - $27 million versus $25.1 million.

In addition to standing apart from the rest of the Elite Entrepreneurial pack financially, Millennipreneurs also distinguish themselves for the priority they place on achieving positive social impact in their business and investment dealings.

A total of 80% of Millennipreneurs are responsible investors compared to an average of 55% among the Elite Entrepreneurs surveyed as part of the 2018 BNP Paribas Entrepreneur Report.

The report, produced in conjunction with Scorpio Partnership, quizzed 2,706 business owners around the world - 40% were “Millennipreneurs”, 44% were Generation X, or 36-54 years old, and 16% were Boomerpreneurs aged 55 or over.

Creating value from nothing

So how did these precocious business founders accumulate fortunes so fast?

Millennipreneurs specialize in technology, with 64% making most of their wealth in the online, mobile and digital sectors, compared to Boomerpreneurs who tend to build businesses in slower yet steadier growth sectors such as manufacturing.

“In a year, Millennipreneurs can create value out of nothing. They get money much quicker and much younger,” says Eléonore Bedel, Head of Responsible Investments at BNP Paribas Wealth Management.

The internet has lowered entry barriers for would-be entrepreneurs, who can now start a business with just a laptop, a can-do attitude and some stock to sell – Millennipreneurs on average started their companies aged 24.8 versus the overall mean of 30.5. Fashion retail entrepreneur Alice Hall, 29, was among them. Her Pink Boutique online clothes store was started with a £90 investment and now employs 76 staff and ships some 4,000 garments a day. In addition to revenue growth, her priorities are clear. “We’re passionate about the jobs we’ve created and keen to inspire other start-ups. I’m interested in training the younger generation to ensure their skills are adequate for employment.”

Her sentiments chime with the findings of the new BNP Paribas Entrepreneur Report, which revealed that 46% of Millennipreneurs define their business success in terms of social impact, higher than the 39% average among all Elite Entrepreneurs.

Deconstructing the millennial mindset

A total of 48% of Millennipreneurs feel their business has already achieved a positive social impact, with 29% aiming to achieve this within the next year, and 20% setting a five-year deadline.

“Millennipreneurs are environmentally conscious, and want to work the way they live and to build companies the way they would like to be treated if they were employees there,” says BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s Bedel. “It's a completely different mindset. It doesn't mean they don't want profit, but they integrate sustainable development, environmentally and socially, into the companies they're building. They're much more solution-driven than just profit-driven.”

Ferdinand Grapperhaus embodies that approach – as the millennial co-founder and chief executive of the Netherland’s Physee. His company has created The PowerWindow, a patented technology in which window glass is used to harvest solar energy from sunlight.

"Our idea is not that the windows will power the building, but that our technology will create an autonomous building façade and decrease on-grid energy consumption by 10%."

Ferdinand Grapperhaus

Co-founder and CEO of the Netherland’s Physee

Pivot to positive impact

“It's in our DNA to really have a positive impact on many levels, creating comfort for people in buildings and decreasing energy consumption,” adds Grapperhaus.

When entrepreneurs are in start-up phase, the priority is creating a sustainable business, but once that is achieved company founders broaden their mission.

Those priorities are also borne out in the differing asset allocations. Millennipreneurs have devoted 21% of their personal wealth to socially responsible investments, philanthropy and angel investments, whereas these asset classes account for just 12% of Boomerpreneurs’ portfolio and 16% for those entrepreneurs aged 36-54.

Analysing the figures another way, Millennipreneurs are three times as likely to hold angel investments and four times as likely to make impact investments than Boomerpreneurs.

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