Millennial Founders – How They are Changing the Game

Here at Dell, we’ve talked a lot about the millennial worker and how they – and technology advancements – are forever changing the way we work. They are changing the face of entrepreneurship as well.

Since February 20-24 is National Entrepreneurship Week, I thought we should celebrate this group of passionate and innovative founders.

Sara Judd Welch sitting at a desk

Sarah Judd Welch (above) knows millennials—she knows what platforms they use, what brands they shop for, what slang they use and how to catch their eye.

Born in 1986, it doesn’t hurt that Sarah is a millennial herself, but as the founder and CEO of the community building agency Loyal, she’s especially adept at keep tabs on where influential consumers are.

“Loyal is very sensitive to the ways different groups use the internet,” she said. “For example, a lot of young people don’t have Facebook accounts, they’re using Instagram or messaging apps.”

Sarah has always been driven by a need to solve problems, but wasn’t always working for herself. Fresh out of college, she went to work for Goldman Sachs during the height of the 2008 recession.

“I thought I’d be working for a non-profit or go into politics, but it was the only offer I got,” she said.

After a few years working through corporate hierarchies, Sarah decided to pursue her passion and created a business that provides value to companies by developing and leveraging communities online. Almost five years later, Loyal is a thriving company that provides many of the perks millennial employees desire, like flexible work hours and telecommuting.

Millennials are starting more businesses at a younger age.

The numbers show that Sarah is not alone in her quest to break free from the corporate chains and start a new venture. Millennials are starting more businesses and at a younger age than their Baby Boomer counterparts, according the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report.

The report found that the average millennial entrepreneur started their first company at 27, compared to Baby Boomers generally starting off at 35. Additionally, the companies these millennials are building tend to employ more people—employing 122 people on average, compared to 30 people at the companies of Boomers.

Millennial-run companies employ 122 people on average. Boomer-run companies employ 30 on average.

Not only are these enterprising millennials starting more companies at an earlier age, but they’re also changing the face of how we work. Flexible hours and remote work capabilities have allowed more people to find jobs that lend to a better work/life balance, enabled by technological innovations like mobility, cloud computing and security advancements.

According to a study commissioned by Dell and Intel, 36 percent of millennials believe a remote work environment enables them to have a healthier work life balance.  Plus, more than 75 percent of millennials say that flexible work hours are key to boosting productivity, according to a Randstad study.

It’s not that millennials figured out something that past generations were overlooking. Remote and flexible work simply weren’t as possible before and like our small business customers Dell has these policies in place and a goal that 50 percent of our workforce will be remote by 2020.

Remote/flexible work is made possible by technology solutions that are ubiquitous these days. According to the study, almost 90 percent of millennials with smart phones are “always on” and check their email outside of the traditional 9-5 work hours.

Forty-two percent of young employees say they are willing to quit their job if office technologies are not up to standard (Dell).

“Technology has changed the way in which we’ve approached work,” Sarah said. “It helps you to move faster, but at some point in time you have to untether yourself from that.”

The technical changes have come to the workplace—from all-day battery life on laptops to coworking spaces to collaboration tools to the cloud—and have permanently altered the face of the typical day on the job.

Loyal takes advantage of all the ways technology allows them to connect. Loyal employs workers in New York, the Bay Area, Florida and even the UK. “Our teams use Slack, Google Hangouts and will hop on video meetings throughout the day, but I still prefer in-depth work to be in person,” Sarah said.

Dell for Small Business is there to assist every business owner—millennial, Boomer or my generation Gen X. Dell’s Small Biz experts are on-call to help entrepreneurs with IT solutions that keep your employees happy and connected.

Dell is proud to spotlight Sarah and Loyal during National Entrepreneurship Week.

About the Author: Erik Day

Erik Day has been at Dell for over 16 years. He first joined the company as a temporary consumer sales agent in 1999 shortly after finishing his Bachelors of Psychology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Erik has held multiple sales, merchandising and marketing leadership roles in his tenure at Dell which has taken him to 25+ countries over 5 continents. Erik spent 2009 to the early part of 2013 leading Retail Merchandising, Retail Marketing and CSB Direct Media Budget and Planning for the Europe, Middle East & Africa region. Most recently, Erik has been responsible for leading an outstanding team of sales leaders covering large format retailers and CSB distribution channel partners across the United States and Canada. Between 2013-14, Erik built a $500M Acquisition business in retail and helped grow Best Buy over 50% YoY between 2014 and today. Erik is an avid tennis player and just got married in August of this year. He loves spending time in Up North Michigan on the Lake with his husband Craig and their 2 Samoyeds, Chester and Chase.