Help Members Achieve The New American Dream

Small business trends suggest communities benefit from credit unions' support of small business.


The laid off, underemployed, and recently graduated are taking a new approach to working nine to five. Sure, it’s a way to make a living, but members of this group are reevaluating their ambitions and chasing their dream jobs.

Today’s job market is not picking up fast enough to support the wave of college graduates and other disgruntled day-job workers. According to research conducted by the University of Massachusetts and the Roosevelt Institute, an unemployed person in the United States today has only a 17% chance of finding a job. When a down economy makes Plan A all but out of reach, those pie-in-the-sky career ambitions no longer seem so intangible. Now, a new set of entrepreneurs is focusing its time, labor, and savings on business ventures, reports The New York Times.

According to the Small Business Administration, seven out of 10 small businesses survive long enough to celebrate their two year anniversary. Some make it much further, others don’t, but that’s still two years of professional stimulation and success these unemployeds don’t have now. And the great rates, flexible products, and financial education offered by cooperatives can go a long way in helping these nouveau-business owners prosper.

But the economic contributions of these motivated moguls extend beyond the professional achievement of one business owner. According to Bloomberg, small businesses have contributed 64% of net new jobs in the past 15 years. As millennials focus on building their dream businesses, credit unions have the opportunity to attract lifelong members through small business loan products and personal loans. Help a Gen Y-er launch his or her entrepreneurial ambitions and you’ll have a devoted member for life.

Of course, credit unions can’t support every dreamer, but for the realistically ambitious, opening that event planning service or starting that catering company can be the right move for themselves, for the credit union, and for the larger local community. After all, Martha Stewart built her domestically focused empire only after abandoning her Plan A to become a stockbroker.