Millennial Entrepreneurs are a Force for Change
By Allen Gutierrez, SBA Official
Millennials are believed to be among the largest generation in the United States, even on the cusp of surpassing the great generation of Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation. There is no doubt that Millennials have made their mark and their inclination for all things digital has sparked an evolution of change in traditional institutions and in the way they do business. For Millennials, technology, innovation, creativity and thinking outside the box are the new norms that will undoubtedly catapult us into the future.
That creative thinking was the spark that propelled Katie Steller on the path of entrepreneurship.
Katie is owner of the Minneapolis-based Steller Hair Company, and she is the SBA’s 2018 Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year. At age 11, Katie was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that dictated much of her childhood, but not her spirit. By age 18, her illness had progressed, and her large intestine was removed. The serious health challenges caused her hair to start falling out. Seeing Katie’s distress, her mom took her to a salon for a professional haircut, something she had never had before. After having her hair cut and styled, she discovered the impact hairstylists could make on their clients. Sitting in the stylist’s chair that day, Katie was no longer defined by her illness and she felt like a person again.
That experience led to Katie’s desire to help others feel the same way. She enrolled in cosmetology school, then worked as a stylist and an educator helping to train others. Soon after, Katie was able to open her own salon and provide her employees with competitive salaries. Like Katie, many Millennials were born with an innate entrepreneurial spirit – a core desire to connect with the world around them, create their own path, and cultivate a shared sense of purpose. Katie has done just that with her salon. In every aspect of her life, she strives to be an advocate for others, her employees, her clients and her community.
At the SBA, our mission is to help small businesses start, grow, expand and recover from declared disasters. We offer counseling and access to capital among our services, both through our 68 district offices and our resource partner network in communities across the country. We have the proven tools needed to help bridge the gap for young entrepreneurs, providing strong resources to help them grow their businesses, reach new markets and realize their full potential. With the help of our resource partners, including the Women’s Business Centers, the Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE, we reach more than one million small business owners every year through mentoring, counseling and training.
We know that Millennials have a unique way of learning and doing business, and we have evolved in some of the traditional business training methods to be more interactive, dynamic and online. The SBA has an extensive learning center online to help you start and run your business.
From the planning stages of her salon to its operation today, Katie has received mentoring and business development resources from WomenVenture, an SBA Women’s Business Center in Minneapolis that helps women entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, from conception to launch and growth. The SBA has helped Katie, and we can help you too.
Have you thought about owning your own business? Are you considering ways to build a financial future for yourself, your family or your community? Let the SBA help guide you on your path to entrepreneurship. Find out how we can help you at sba.gov.
About the Author:
As Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development, Allen Gutierrez is dedicated to enhancing the nationwide network of offices, business executives, and mentors that support current and aspiring business owners as they start, grow, and compete in today’s global market.
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