Intergenerational Entrepreneurship: The New Model to Create and Fund Startups


Businesses that adapt and survive in the turbulence of our economy have always been the backbone of the global marketplace. The ability for a business to survive and profit is solely based on the ability to adapt and diversify. When we think about diversity, we often think about race and gender. However, there is another important way to diversify that many businesses should learn about: intergenerational entrepreneurship. This type of management means forming a business with at least (two) of the four major generations we have in the workforce: Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Intergenerational co-founder teams foster diversity in backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. These differences yield smarter decisions, better cash management, and more innovation when bringing products and services to market. Startups having intergenerational teams provide a competitive advantage. Traditional models of intergenerational businesses have been formed as family businessesThere can be several drawbacks associated with family businesses, so companies like Graebel are reducing potential issues by building an intergenerational entrepreneurship team of non-family members.

Did you know?

Too few startups are created and 80% fail within 18 months. And within the sample of startups, many have never heard of the phrase intergenerational entrepreneurship. Building an intergenerational team of entrepreneurs gives you full advantage of the intelligence each generation has, and also builds a strong sense of community. Being in touch with each generation is important in order to learn from one another and work collaboratively with each other.

One of the key points to keep in mind when working on an intergenerational team is paying attention to communication, which is a common obstacle that many professionals face. When forming an intergenerational entrepreneurship team, there will be a learning curve in understanding different communication styles. The best way to learn is to listen intently to one another and ask engaging questions such as: “How can we create a more harmonious culture by leveraging technology and face-to-face interactions in our meetings? If you are reading this, you may be an entrepreneur yourself. Adapting to the different communication styles of each of the four main generations is critical to one’s professional growth and the success of a company.

Forming a company with multiple generations will give you a competitive advantage, or as some would say, a cut above the rest. Come join us at our second annual 4GenNow conference in Denver, Colorado on October 12th at CU South Denver, and take an important step to find your intergenerational business partner. Learn how you can get a competitive advantage by diversifying your business, one generation at a time.

Samantha Sugarman