For younger professionals, ‘entrepreneur’ isn’t a bad word anymore

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Matt Rivers became an entrepreneur at age 17 when his favorite surf shop went out of business, and he bought it with money he made as a dishwasher.

"At first there was only one T-shirt rack and one shorts rack, and when I sold a T-shirt I bought two more." Today his Orleans-based business has one of the most recognized names in East Coast surfing thanks to his sponsorship of the Pump House surf team. And of course, Rivers surfs every day.

It used to be that people started out in a large company, and after ten or fifteen years of little fulfillment, they tried entrepreneurship as a way to get out of a bad spot. Today, many young people recognize the downsides of corporate life right off the bat, and according to the Entrepreneur’s Organization of Alexandria, Va. the most common age for starting a business has shifted from 35-45 to under 34.

A new view of entrepreneurship has swept through a generation that has seen its parents’ loyalty rewarded with layoffs and parents’ pensions destroyed with impunity. The goals and values of younger workers make entrepreneurship look more appealing than ever as the bad rap of the twentieth century fades. Consider these comparisons:

By Penelope Trunk, Globe Correspondent

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