Gen Y Women: Better than Their Mothers?

When comparing the motivations and confidence levels of Gen Y entrepreneurs and their Baby Boomer moms, a recent survey shows Gen Y are off to a much quicker start.

In fact, compared to 30 percent of Boomer women, 50 percent of Gen Y women like taking risks. And, 38 percent are interested in serial entrepreneurship; whereas, only 27 percent of Boomer women expressed interest.

Are Gen Y women more motivated? Not necessarily.

According to the AMEX Open findings, the top reason for Baby Boomers to start a business was to be their own boss and make money. While, Gen Y woman started businesses to do something they were passionate about.

Perhaps, it’s differing world views.

“I do think we have different values,” says Jennifer Maggiore, CEO, Red Balloon. Women of the “me-generation” are putting their own spin on traditional values. “You write your own rules – stay home with your kids, work from your bed.

It’s also a reality of the times.

“Boomers aren’t leaving their positions and career prospects are bleak,” she adds. “Starting a business is as secure as climbing the corporate ladder these days.”

But, Shopetti cofounder and CEO, Shefa Weinstein does not attribute her ideals entirely to ideological evolution and circumstance.

She credits her Boomer mom for laying the foundation that women can do anything they choose.

“My mother started a business with my dad and always taught my siblings and me that women could do anything,” she says. “I grew up with that as a baseline fact.”

The mother of four young children has been the only female founder in some of the most prestigious accelerator programs, including Microsoft, but has never felt out of place.

“My generation did not have role models and many of us were told we couldn’t do the things that are acceptable in business today,” says Becky Blalock, author of DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage and Career for Women in Charge.

The former Southern Company executive turned entrepreneur admits, “I was not as confident as the young women we see today.” They don’t see the limits their mothers did.

“I had lots of life experiences that made me more ready to take risks than others in my generation, but I had blinders on about what was possible,” Blalock adds.

During her early career days she was regularly told her time would be short – that she would have children and go home to raise them.

Today, women like Weinstein are showing that doesn’t have to happen – that family and career can be mutually inclusive, and it’s possible to have your all when it’s on your own terms.

Comment: Did you become an entrepreneur in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s? Tell us why.

BONUS PINK Link: Are you carrying the weight of other women? Marissa Mayer and feminism’s trickle down effect.

By L. Nicole Williams

“You can’t cross the sea by merely staring at the water.” Rabindranath Tagore

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Dudarev Mikhail

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