Age of business owners had ‘major impact’ on pandemic performance

Companies headed by young leaders performed better during the pandemic than those led by older generations, according to a report on SMEs published by insurance firm AXA.

The results showed that the younger the business owner, the smaller the impact of the pandemic on company revenue, with businesses led by 18 to 24 year-olds seeing just a 7% reduction in turnover during 2020 compared with a 29% decrease for those with 55 to 64 year-olds at the helm.

The report revealed that this generational divide also had an impact on business adaptation and attitudes towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) during the pandemic. According to the results, 46% of SMEs led by under-35s brought out new products and services to meet the needs of lockdown consumers, compared with 40% of companies headed by over-35s. Meanwhile, just 40% of the over-35 generation said that helping those in need became a business focus in 2020, while over half (51%) of under-35s said the same.

CEO of AXA UK and Ireland, Claudio Gienal, said, Age of business owners had ‘major impact’ on pandemic performance “This report finds that younger entrepreneurs have brought out new services and products, have listened to the needs of local clients, and have been much faster to deploy digital solutions.”