The Importance of Millennials

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In a study done by the Prepared U Project at Bentley University it was shown that up to 70% of Millennials would like to own a business of their own and up to 17% already own a small business. Millennials - ages 19-32 - are definitely the "entrepreneurial generation". They enjoy being creative and innovative. In many cases they were forced into entrepreneurship when they were unable to find jobs during the recession. For instance, many IT majors getting out of college took contractual work from different businesses and organizations. Coffee shops around the nation were filled to capacity with these brilliant, self-motivated business people.

Unfortunately, many communities especially in rural areas are not taking Millennials seriously enough. Millennials want their opinions and ideas to matter and are very interested in being included into the community planning process. However, existing community leaders need to understand that Millennials do not communicate in the same way as previous generations. Sitting through a planning meeting is not necessarily a Millennial's idea of a good time. They much prefer to be "heard" through Facebook, Twitter or some other internet based format.

Rural communities in America are "graying" at a phenomenal rate. Millennials are leaving rural areas for opportunities in large metro areas and are not coming back. Small businesses are closing and new innovative ventures are not opening up. Communities need formal plans to attract and engage Millennials or communities will lose much of their future entrepreneurial talent.

For more info on this subject please see the article Five Strategies for Retaining & Attracting Youth To Rural Communities at https://uofi.box.com/5StrategiestoAttractYouth