Gen Y entrepreneurs here driven by passion, personal growth: Poll

Singapore entrepreneurs from Generation Y - those aged between 18 and 32 - are motivated more by personal growth and pursuing their passion than meeting family expectations but they are still keen to generate wealth.

A new survey has found that 38 per cent of those polled said pursuing a passion was their greatest motivation, while 35 per cent cited personal development. In contrast, 71 per cent of business people over 50 pointed to wealth generation as their primary incentive.

The results for Singapore millennials also differed from their regional counterparts in the survey conducted by HSBC Private Banking, which polled around 4,000 entrepreneurs in 11 markets, including 263 here. While 35 per cent of Singapore millennials stated that generating wealth was their main reason for starting their businesses, 45 per cent of Asia-Pacific millennials noted this as their key driver.

Mr Sandeep Sharma, head of South-east Asia at HSBC Private Banking, said: "Entrepreneurs are strong economic catalysts and important sources of innovation in any market.

"But being successful requires tenacity and passion, especially when the going gets inevitably tough.

"The findings show that Singaporean millennials have these ingredients, which should lead to greater creativity and innovation as they pursue their projects."

They also revealed that Singapore millennials place themselves before family more than their global counterparts and those from past generations.

It noted that 29 per cent of Singaporean millennials stated a desire to succeed for their family. This is significantly behind the global average of 39 per cent. This compared with the averages of 37 per cent for the Asia-Pacific, 32 per cent for mainland China, 38 per cent for the Middle East, 45 per cent for the Americas and 36 per cent for Europe.

"In the next decade, especially as technological advances open new commercial frontiers, we expect wealth generation to increasingly be led by millennials," said Mr Sharma.

"However, as these entrepreneurial businesses take off, it is crucial that millennials take a different approach to achieving personal wealth.

"Invariably, passion and instinct are what built the business, and there is a natural tendency to re-invest funds back into it.

"However, to sustain and grow your wealth requires you to decouple your investment strategy from your business strategy."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2017, with the headline Gen Y entrepreneurs here driven by passion, personal growth: Poll. Subscribe