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Are Credit Unions Doing Enough to Help Young Entrepreneurs?

Lending isn’t the only way credit unions can help young adults start their own businesses. Offering DIY tools, financial counseling, and workspaces are among the creative solutions that can help young adults develop their business ideas. 

  • James Marshall Impact Manager at Filene Research Institute
  • Manny Nat Research Associate at Filene Research Institute

Executive Summary 

For years credit unions have pursued the goal of “getting younger”—and for good reason. With the average credit union member’s age hovering in the late 40s, Gen Y (18–35-year-olds) represents a prime opportunity for credit unions to continue the legacy of cooperative finance among newer generations. However, focused initiatives are seldom consistently deployed to execute these aspirations. It’s easy to stake a claim, but what are you doing to further that?

As student debt skyrockets to record levels and young adults struggle with un- and underemployment, entrepreneurship is becoming a viable option for many. Starting a business is gratifying and self-fulfilling, but it’s also filled with capital challenges and strategic roadblocks. By supporting young adults in their endeavors to become small (or large) business owners where others may not, credit unions can foster loyalty among these members.