Almost half of today's entrepreneurs under the age of 35 are women, according to the Essence of Enterprise report 2016, which is based on an online survey of more than 2,800 business owners.
An average of 47 per cent of entrepreneurs under the age of 35 are women, the report showed, compared with 26 per cent of entrepreneurs aged 55 or over. In some countries, the contrast between generations is greater still. In the UK, for example, the survey found that 59 per cent of entrepreneurs under the age of 35 are female, compared with just 16 per cent of those over the age of 55.
Nick Levitt, Head of Global Solutions Group, HSBC Private Bank, said: "For the first time ever, we are seeing near gender equality in the next generation of entrepreneurs. Women across the world are launching and operating new enterprises at an ever faster pace."
The Essence of Enterprise survey, carried out by Scorpio Partnership on behalf of HSBC, examined the background and attitudes of entrepreneurs in 9 countries and territories in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
The report also showed that many millennial entrepreneurs enjoy significant success at an early stage in their careers, perhaps reflecting the fact that some work in fast-growing sectors such as technology and life sciences. The average annual turnover of businesses run by entrepreneurs under the age of 35 is USD11.5 million, more than double the average USD4.8 million turnover of businesses run by entrepreneurs over the age of 35.
Business owners under the age of 35 are also keen to make a difference in their communities: 79 per cent engage in charitable activity, a higher proportion than among older business owners. More than half say that having a positive economic impact on their community was a factor in their decision to go into business.
Mr Levitt added: "Millennial entrepreneurs are revolutionising the nature of entrepreneurship. They are as motivated to create an impact on the world as they are to make money."
Read the Essence of Enterprise report 2016 (1.7MB, PDF).
The research was conducted online by Scorpio Partnership on behalf of HSBC between August and September 2015. There were a total of 2,834 respondents, who all actively owned or derived their wealth principally from a business and had a minimum personal wealth of more than USD250,000. The research covered China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, the UK and the US.