Business

The changing face of the entrepreneurial world

As I write this column each week, I find my thoughts ramping up to the topical options for the next journey of an entrepreneurial story, maybe an educational insight or a piece of new found information with an added smattering of anecdote.

Eventually, I drift with intrigue and joy toward the visible changes surrounding my life as an entrepreneurially-minded person.

This week, I feel less a columnist and more as a reporter because I can’t wait to share with you some research concerning the changing face of the entrepreneurial world as it is expected to evolve over the next 10 years.

Tomorrow’s successful entrepreneurs will be far more reliant on technology than their current counterparts.

They will be more connected in a mobile world and will market their gods and services in ways only imagined today. It will blur the lines between the virtual and physical worlds as the hype surrounding today’s technology becomes tomorrow’s reality.

A study produced in 2007 in the U.S. made me sit up and take notice of how technology will propel and transform the entrepreneurial and small business sector in our world.

It will, it appears, offer us three key milestones to embrace—its changing façade, a dramatic rise of personal business and a dramatic emergence of entrepreneurship education.

Entrepreneurs in the next decade will be far more diverse than their predecessors in age, origin and gender.

These shifts in ownership will create new unforeseen opportunities for many, and will change the face of our nation and even the global economy as we know it today.

A new breed of entrepreneur will emerge.

Entrepreneurs will no longer come predominantly from the middle of the age spectrum but, instead from the edges.

People nearing retirement and their own children just entering the job market will become the most entrepreneurial generation ever.

Here is an interesting item that, frankly, doesn’t really surprise me at all.

Entrepreneurship will reflect an upswing in the number of females entering the field.

The so-called “glass ceiling” that has limited women’s corporate career paths will send more women to the small business sector.

I, for one, rejoice in this aspect as nationally, our statistics have, for a number of years, highlighted womens’ successes in business start-ups.

I found this projection quite informative as I am have been interacting with three immigrant entrepreneurs over the past month who are becoming residents in the Okanagan.

But, the projection offers that immigrant entrepreneurs will help drive a new wave of globalization as there are those thought-providers who believe this new category of Canadian entrepreneur is the fastest-growing segment of small business ownership to-day. Time will tell on this point but I have developed an understanding of how this can occur.

For example, immigrants are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship to steer around traditional barriers of entry to the workplace.

Although they bring education, professional experience and a developed network to their adopted Canadian homeland, often their professional assets do not always translate into value across cultural boundaries.

However, immigrant entrepreneurs frequently have contacts in their native countries as well as Canada.

This provides them with the opportunity to create entrepreneurial ventures that link markets.

In his book, The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman claims we’ve entered a new phase of globalization in that we are well into a newfound power of individuals to collaborate and compete globally.

With cross-border skills and contacts, immigrants with small businesses are leveraging the connective technologies to exploit links across the globe.

That presents pretty good reasoning for the surge to this author.

Also, and this point fuelled an earlier column, whether out of need or personal fulfillment, baby boomers will be healthy enough and productive enough to participate in the workforce well past traditional retirement ages.

Most will not want to work in traditional jobs.  They will look for more flexible and part-time work arrangements.

They will zero in on personal ventures and at times “boomerang” back to their previous employers as contractors or consultants. They will join firms aimed at social issues and build on hobbies that may evolve into entrepreneurial new ventures.

And, there will be, I am sure, a taste of what we might call “accidental” entrepreneurs who are those folks who leave closing factories and mills and are left with two choices: leave the area or start a business.

Often these workers turn to contract work but if there is not a market for their acquired skills, they may turn to the world of entrepreneurship.

Once again, I find myself wanting to stand on the soapbox of entrepreneurial rhetoric and share these tidbits of insight into our changing world but let me conclude with this thought.

The demographics of entrepreneurship are rapidly changing. Small businesses were traditionally started by non-corporate, middle-aged, white males.

But recent studies throughout North America show that aging baby boomers, Generation Y, women and immigrants, using changing technologies are joining the ranks to start small and personal ventures at increasingly rates.

This dramatic change in the face of the entrepreneurial landscape, I predict, will undoubtedly become a boon to our socio-economic existence. I hope to be around to enjoy it.

Joel Young is an entrepreneurship educator, coach and consultant and the founder of Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurship Society.

 

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