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Youth entrepreneurship

Publication Authors: 
William Damon, Kendall Cotton Bronk, Tenelle Porter
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
In R. Scott and S. Kosslyn (Eds.) Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource. New York: John Wiley and Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9781118900772

Entrepreneurship is critical to job creation and economic growth in the United States and abroad; however, interest in pursuing entrepreneurial careers is on the decline among young people today. As a means of designing programs that effectively encourage and prepare young people to pursue entrepreneurial careers, the present article calls for increased focus on how entrepreneurs develop. An understanding of the experiences, opportunities, and interests that lead to successful entrepreneurship is needed. To that end, the present article, in addition to addressing leading process-oriented definitions of entrepreneurship and briefly reviewing relevant empirical studies, outlines three promising areas of research on youth entrepreneurship. First, researchers have becoming increasingly interested in entrepreneurial purposes. Recent research finds that at least some young people seek out entrepreneurial careers as a means of applying their skills and talents to create organizations or businesses that solve personally meaningful problems in the broader world. This leads to the second emerging area of interest in youth entrepreneurship: the distinction between social and business entrepreneurship. The growth of new businesses and organizations that are at once highly profitable and at the same time exist to address social problems has blurred this distinction. Third, researchers are increasingly interested in identifying ways of effectively fostering entrepreneurial interests. The present article highlights key issues regarding the role that educational experiences and institutional support play in supporting the development of successful entrepreneurs.