Youth Entrepreneurship In The New Economy
In the global neoliberal economy, youth is presented as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Young people are expected to embrace the free labour markets, to accept flexible working conditions and to adapt to any changing economic and political circumstances. The entrepreneurial, innovative economy is booming: co-working spaces open all over the world and increasingly young people become entrepreneurs. Yet, young people face numerous challenges: since working-age cohorts outnumber any other age-group, competition among young people is increasing. Simultaneously, global youth unemployment rates remain high and working conditions poor thereby enlarging the risk of socio-political unrest. To understand the social concept youth and its relationship with transforming labour markets, it is crucial to take a closer look into young people’s mindsets, habits and sub-cultures of which the currently emerging entrepreneurship culture appears to be part of. Mexico, the location of the case study, is currently experiencing a boom of entrepreneurial policies and an increasing number of entrepreneurs and small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By conducting semi-structured interviews with young entrepreneurs, this investigation explores their motivations for becoming entrepreneurs, as well as threats and difficulties they are experiencing. This paper addresses a popular but insufficiently qualitatively researched topic. In doing so, this investigation problematizes the rosy discourse on youth entrepreneurship. As this research has shown, young entrepreneurs have internalized neoliberal values and practices to such a high degree that there is no space in youth discourses for a critical reflection on entrepreneurship and on the issue of failure within the entrepreneurial culture.
Keywords - New Economy; Entrepreneurship; Neoliberalism; Neoliberal Self; Youth; Mexico