Business · Education

Poll: Teens say Bill Gates is ‘Greatest entrepreneur alive today’

Chancellor Merkel Meets With Bill Gates
According to a survey of 1,000 teens conducted by Junior Achievement USA and ORC International, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the “Greatest Entrepreneur Alive Today,” far outpacing household names like Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump.

Of those teens expressing an opinion, more than a third (37%) picked Bill Gates, followed by entertainment legends Beyoncé (15%) and Oprah Winfrey (11%). Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg trailed (tied at 7%), as did Mark Cuban and Taylor Swift (3%). Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran rounded out the list (tied at 1%).

So….what about Casey Neistat? The YouTube star — now CNN employee — should definitely be in the mix, no? Anyway, I digress. Back to the study:

The JA Launch Lesson highlights current JA programs by bringing an inspiring entrepreneur into the classroom for one hour during the week to share his or her experience with students. The program is designed to be simple for the entrepreneurs to implement, but impactful for the teens   participating. For example, during a JA experience, students can learn how to create a business plan or successfully interview for a job.

“JA is known for bringing entrepreneurship education into the classroom,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “What makes this initiative different is that it is an intensive experience designed specifically for today’s up-and-coming business owner who might not otherwise have time in his or her busy day to engage as a mentor to young people.”

According to another survey of 500 teens conducted by JA and ORC International, most 13-17 year olds (87%) have an interest in starting their own business. Nearly half (47%) of teens who expressed an interest would only consider doing so if they were given information on how to run a business, while one-in-five (20%) would only do so if someone was willing to lend them money to start a business. One-in-ten (11%) would if they knew someone who owns their own business, while nearly as many (9%) would need to have a family member with their own business to feel confident enough to become an entrepreneur.

To help engage entrepreneurs in the JA Launch Lesson, JA will be working with organizations including the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Babson College. To find out how to become involved with JA Entrepreneurship Month, visit

To learn more about JA programs throughout Northern California, visit


This report presents the findings of two Opinion Research Corporation’s Youth CARAVAN surveys conducted among a sample of 1,002 and 500 13-17 year olds. Respondents for these surveys are selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error are calculated.

About Junior Achievement of Northern California (JA)

Junior Achievement of Northern California connects students, educators, and business professionals together to build quality partnerships that empower young people to own their economic success by becoming financially literate, workforce ready, and equipped with entrepreneurial skills.

In the past year, JA engaged and supported 3,036 volunteers to provide 603,795 instructional hours to more than 90,000 students. This means more than 90,000 students participated in experiential, hands-on learning that enabled them to connect their studies in school to real-world business and industry. Students saw, first-hand, how academic success can prepare them for a fruitful and meaningful future.

This is the true value of Junior Achievement and it’s something we proudly share with our partners.  In fact, since our founding in 1950, JA has impacted more than 3.5 million K-12 students with 25 million hours of education.  As the 10th largest JA operation in the United States, we take our leadership role seriously by creating replicable opportunities to benefit students throughout Northern California.



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