19 June 2017

Young business owners with a social conscience are bringing a fresh perspective to the world of enterprise, according to research from HSBC Private Bank.

Many people choose to start a business because it offers the prospect of self-made success – independence and wealth in exchange for hard work. But others, especially younger people, have different motivations.

Business owners in their 20s are more likely than those aged over 50 to focus on having a positive impact in society. They are keener to make a name for themselves. And while many entrepreneurs of all ages are motivated by the idea of being their own boss and growing their personal wealth, young business owners are less likely than older business owners to see these as priorities.

Younger entrepreneurs are more likely to take practical action in their local community

Stuart Parkinson, Chief of Staff, HSBC Private Bank said: “Entrepreneurs of all ages share many common traits, but a focus on making a difference to their community sets today’s younger generation apart.”

The findings come from the latest Essence of Enterprise research commissioned by HSBC Private Bank, based on a survey of more than 4,000 business owners in 11 markets across the world.

The contrast in attitudes between older and younger generations is clear when it comes to environmental and social considerations. Entrepreneurs in their 20s are more likely to put a high amount of effort in tackling these issues within their business (37 per cent) compared with the over-50s (25 per cent).

And younger entrepreneurs are more likely to take practical action in their local community. Those in their 20s spend almost twice as long (54 minutes per day on average) participating in community activity or volunteering than those over the age of 50 (30 minutes).

The differences between younger and older business owners extend to the way they deal with challenges, the research suggests. Older business owners tend to look inwards and rely on themselves when things go wrong. Younger business owners are more likely to ask for help, drawing on a network of professional acquaintances and friends.

Mr Parkinson continued: “It is important that we understand the challenges faced by the next generation of entrepreneurs so we can support them as they create jobs and economic growth, as well as prosperity for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Read more about the latest Essence of Enterprise report on the HSBC Private Bank website (opens in new window) .


The Essence of Enterprise research was conducted by Scorpio Partnership online in September 2016. There were a total of 4,038 respondents all of whom a) were major shareholders and active decision-makers in privately-owned businesses and b) had a minimum personal wealth of more than USD250,000. The research covered mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, Germany, France, US, Switzerland, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. For further details please visit the HSBC Private Bank website (opens in new window) .