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Young Guns

Andrea Booker |

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, almost half of Millennials—defined by the Pew Research Center as Americans 28 years old and younger—were unemployed in 2010. The question is, what are they going to do about it?

Late last year I attended a company meeting highlighting Dell’s America’s Favorite Small Business campaign, run in partnership with MasterCard and Microsoft Corp. The prize featured $25,000 in Dell products pre-loaded with Windows® 7 Professional and Microsoft® Office Home and Business 2010, along with a $50,000 prepaid card from MasterCard. The winner was a small business called Shwood, which designs and manufactures handcrafted wood sunglasses.  The business’s founders and most of its 20 employees were under the age of 30.

I asked myself, could this be an emerging trend? And does knowing the age of the owners and employees add to an issuer’s understanding of the business?

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

An entrepreneurial attitude is becoming more prevalent among youth, who are seeking a means by which to lift themselves out of the recession.

According to GfK Roper, 54 percent of Gen Y says they aspire to own their own business, versus 50 percent of the total U.S. population.   However, the Gen Y consumer has evolved; traditional banking schema will not be the only accepted means of reaching this group. Twenty-one percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 40 percent of 25-to 34-year-olds once owned a checking account, but no longer do.

In other words alternative providers, such as SmartyPig, are reaching this demographic. In order to compete effectively in the space occupied by this younger, more nimble segment banks should seek to tailor their offerings to what youthful entrepreneurs determine to be their unique business needs. Customization and partnering with them on their journey to the top is not only a way to grow market share; it also fosters an interdependent relationship that will enhance the credibility of the banks as advisors equipped to aid in young entrepreneurs’ business-related decisions.

Topics: Payments Strategy

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