Teens Admire Steve Jobs Most Among Celebrity Entrepreneurs

National survey shows teens admire celebs for making a difference in the world over fame and wealth

Oct 13, 2009, 05:20 ET from Junior Achievement

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- More than ever, being a celebrity means being a brand. The fabulous and famous increasingly are entrepreneurs, marketing products to their adoring fan base. For example, Britney Spears, Sarah Jessica Parker, Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez--in addition to numerous other stars--have fragrances. Supermodel and Dancing with the Stars contestant Kathy Ireland oversees a home furnishings empire and was introduced on the show as an entrepreneur.

Junior Achievement recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. tweens and teens ages 12-17 and asked them to choose the well-known entrepreneur they most admired from a list provided. Surprisingly, teens chose a business legend from the technology sector over fashionistas, Facebook and even the Queen of Daytime. Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder responsible for bringing cool gadgets to the iPhone generation, was selected over Tony Hawk, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Kimora Lee Simmons, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg.

Jobs received 35 percent of the votes, Winfrey 25 percent, Hawk 16 percent, Zuckerberg 10 percent, the Olsen twins seven percent and Simmons four percent. The list was focused on celebs who had started business enterprises themselves, as opposed to licensing their names and images to products produced by someone else.

Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) selected Steve Jobs because he "made a difference in/improved people's lives or made the world a better place." Eighty-five percent of teens who selected Oprah cited the same reason. One-third (33 percent) of those selecting Mr. Jobs cited his "success in multiple fields," assuming teens are making a distinction between Apple's iMac and iPod/iTunes brands.

Indicating that teens may be more altruistic than adults give them credit for, the predictable reasons why a teen might admire a hugely successful entrepreneur like Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey--wealth and fame--were selected by only four percent of those who admire Jobs most and three percent of those who admire Winfrey most.

To teach aspiring teen moguls how to start their own business enterprises, Junior Achievement recently unveiled its newest program, JA Be Entrepreneurial(TM), created through support from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The program, whose implementation is sponsored by UPS, is targeted to high school students. Through hands-on activities and the support of a classroom volunteer, students start and run their own business ventures.

Jack Kosakowski, president of Junior Achievement USA, commented, "We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, so it's no surprise that teens admire famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey, who have built brands around their personas as well as around their products. More importantly however, given that many teens show interest in entrepreneurship, we want to provide them with the tools to start successful businesses. Junior Achievement's programs, such as JA Be Entrepreneurial, give teens a solid foundation upon which to achieve their dreams of business ownership."

More information about JA Be Entrepreneurial, including a series of free, supplementary podcasts, can be found at: http://www.ja.org/programs/programs_high_be_entre.shtml.

This is the seventh year that Junior Achievement has conducted the poll, which attempts to gauge teens' attitudes around business ownership. The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation from August 20-24, 2009, and surveyed 1,000 U.S. teens ages 12-17 by telephone. The survey's margin of error is +/- 3.2 percent.

Visit www.ja.org to read an executive summary of Junior Achievement's "Teens and Entrepreneurship" survey results.

About Junior Achievement® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 131 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional five million students served by operations in 125 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.ja.org.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Jack Kosakowski


    Stephanie Bell
    JA Worldwide(R)
    (719) 540-6171

SOURCE Junior Achievement