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Consider the millennial entrepreneur myth busted

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Millennials as a group probably don't deserve their slacker reputation, and may harbor strong entrepreneurial desires. But in terms of actually starting businesses, they lag behind other generations by a lot.

The number of young (those under 30) business owners has slumped to the lowest rate in 25 years, down 65% since 1985. As the Atlantic puts it, "The media portrayal of young people casting off the shackles of employment to start their own companies is, for now, an illusion."

How come, you ask?

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Between skyrocketing student debt and fear of failure (which can be tied together), the millennial startup slowdown shouldn't come as a surprise.

"Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history," Economic Innovation Group (EIG) Co-Founder John Lettieri recently said at a U.S. Senate hearing.

He said from 2004 to 2014, the number of student borrowers rose 89%.

And millennials who said the risk was what kept them from starting a business rose to 40% in 2014, up from 24% in 2001.

The perception that the blogger with the laptop in the coffee shop is what a typical American entrepreneur looks like is off -- way off, by a generation, to be exact.

Millennials may be seen as having innate entrepreneurial spirits, but the average successful startup owner's age is 40. Currently, the only age group starting more businesses than not is the 55 to 65 age group.

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"Nothing is more integral to our nation's cultural or economic identity than entrepreneurship," Lettieri has said.

The upside to all of this is that young professionals looking to strike out on their own have plenty of time (or at least a couple of years) to get their startups off the ground.

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