A global study released by talent investor Entrepreneur First in August 2019 revealed that many of the Generation Z Singaporeans surveyed held positive views of entrepreneurship and relate to the values of entrepreneurs, but remain pragmatic and cautious due to fears of potential financial loss and a perceived lack of access to capital.
Singapore’s Generation Z is ambitious about entrepreneurship
The study, conducted by independent market research consultancy Censuswide, found that 55.3% of Singaporean respondents were keen to set up their own company, a greater percentage than those from the UK, France and Germany.
60.2% agreed that setting up their own company was the best way to realise their professional ambitions, while close to half (41.7%) also believed that startups and new companies backed by new ideas and concepts have a greater propensity to change the world for the better.
Linked to this interest in entrepreneurship are attitudes toward careers typically associated with ambitious and talented people. Singapore respondents ranked entrepreneurs as the top profession associated with talent and ambition, followed by investors and venture capitalists, and professionals in the medical and healthcare sector.
Entrepreneurial role models for respondents included Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Jack Ma.
However, young Singaporeans remain pragmatic
Despite a growing interest and enthusiasm towards entrepreneurship, the majority of young Singaporeans still adopt a pragmatic approach when considering decisions around life and career ambitions.
Major concerns for respondents included the potential for financial loss, the fear of a lack of stability, the perceived lack of access to capital, uncertainty about knowing how to pursue their ambitions as well as a fear of failure.
Benevolent Aspirations Prevalent
Despite kiasu-ism being commonly associated with Singapore’s national identity, many young Singaporeans choose benevolent aspirations over wealth accumulation or career success when it comes to legacy building. One in six Singaporeans (16.7%) said they would like to create something that would change the world for the better, while 13.6% want to create something of value for others. In contrast, 14.2% aimed to be a millionaire or billionaire.
Generation Z: driven and optimistic
Overall, Generation Z Singaporeans expressed an overall positive outlook towards realising their potential in the future, despite some of the perceived challenges. Seven in ten respondents believe that they will achieve or exceed their ambitions for life. Similarly, 67.6% believe that they would be able to accomplish the same in their careers. Local environment also plays a part.
Many younger Singaporeans (67.2%) also view themselves as more ambitious than older generations from an entrepreneurship perspective, reflecting a generational shift in attitudes towards ambition. This was a sentiment that was also echoed across all six markets, with almost three-quarters of respondents (74.4%; the highest) in India believing that they are more ambitious than the previous generation.
Singapore’s environment also plays a part. According to Alice Bentinck, Co-founder and CPO of Entrepreneur First, the “top-notch education system and business ecosystem have long made Singapore a magnet for some of the world’s most ambitious individuals”.