Ohio Venture - OVA Review Newsletter
News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on May 8, 2015


Millennials and Entrepreneurship: A Conversation About Engaging the Next Generation

Despite massive media coverage of young tech entrepreneurs that might lead one to assume otherwise, members of the millennial generation are actually starting their own companies at a lower rate than their parents' and grandparents' generation did. A special OVA program in May, held at the City Club of Cleveland, explored the issues behind those statistics.

Facilitator Deborah Hoover, president of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, noted at the outset that the percentage of graduates who start their own businesses after college now sits at around 16%, "... despite the fact that three-quarters of them affirmatively state that they are interested in pursuing a venture."

Andrew Yang, founder and CEO of Venture for America, said, "The reality is that starting a business is incredibly daunting. And if we want to channel more of our talent in that direction, then we have to invest resources to give them a concrete set of steps so that when they graduate it's not this leap of faith."

VFA does just that, recruiting and training top recent college graduates to work for early-stage ventures. Nationally, the organization receives 1,600 applications for 130 available spots each year, and a dozen VFA fellows now work in Northeast Ohio.

About one in four VFA fellows have gone on to start companies at the conclusion of their two-year commitment, he added. Why? "Because if you take talented and enterprising people and put them with other really talented and enterprising people then they tend to let their imaginations and energies run wild," said Yang.

Still, the overall trends are not encouraging. "What the data is showing is we have a decline in the amount of entrepreneurial activity by people who are under 30," said Dr. Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University. He went on to say that what concerns him the most is the decline in interest shown among the college-aged in surveys on entrepreneurship, because that's harder to solve than issues such as lack of capital and other support resources.

One VFA fellow, Los Angeles native Lena Kelly, is now working with BoxCast, a Cleveland-based streaming video company. "I'm being challenged in ways I didn't see myself being challenged. I'm seeing opportunities that I didn't know existed nine months ago. There's no better way to learn than seeing someone else do it."

More information:

Webcast from the Meeting:

Click on the image below to view the video.

Video Webcast from Recent Meeting

Webcasts produced by Tom Kondilas.

OVA's Video Archive is Online:

OVA is pleased to offer an archive of program videos to its website. You'll find the full video record of most OVA formal programs since 2008 at www.ohioventure.org/events/video-archives/.

Upcoming Meeting Dates:

  • June 12, 2015
    Venture of the Year Award

See complete details and registration for these events.

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