Young entrepreneurs motivated by purpose, not just profit

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A sign is seen above the entrance to an HSBC bank branch in midtown Manhattan in New York City, December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The new generation of global entrepreneurs is going into business motivated by purpose rather than just profit, according to research by the HSBC banking group released on Tuesday.

One in four entrepreneurs aged under 35 said they were more motivated by social impact than by moneymaking, compared to just over one in 10 of those aged over 55, according the results of the HSBC survey.

“Our research suggests this is a generational shift,” Stuart Parkinson, global chief investment officer of HSBC, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Younger entrepreneurs are focused on environmental and social concerns and that’s because they see these values as being their own.”

The bank surveyed 3,700 entrepreneurs in 11 countries. One in five said their priority as a business owner was to deliver solutions to environmental and social challenges.

Mr Parkinson said social media had brought greater scrutiny of businesses, while awareness of the social and environmental impacts of business practices had also increased.

“Social enterprise has taken off as this new formula for success, which is this combination of capitalism and doing good, and younger entrepreneurs are clearly leading this,” he said.

Social enterprises are businesses with a mission to benefit society or the environment as well as turn a profit and Britain is seen as a global leader in the innovative sector.

Last year it had about 70,000 employing nearly 1 million people last year, according to membership organisation Social Enterprise UK, up from 55,000 businesses in 2007.

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