Young: The changing face of our entrepreneurial world

I can’t wait to share with you some research concerning the changing face of the entrepreneurial world.

As I submit a completed article for this column each week, I find my thoughts quickly “ ramping up” to the topical options for the next journey of an entrepreneurial story—an educational insight; a piece of new found information with the 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 a reporter because I can’t wait to share with you some research concerning the changing face of the entrepreneurial world, as  it evolves over the next decade and beyond.

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

They will be more connected in a mobile world; market to customers in ways only imagined to-day and blur the lines between the virtual and physical worlds as the hype surrounding today’s technology research becomes tomorrow’s reality.

A 2007 study produced in the U.S.  really 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.

I would like to share some of the interesting items that I was able to extract that I think will offer you much thought no matter what your personal journey in today’s world.

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, no longer coming 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 another 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 women successes in business start-ups and longevity track.

I found this projection quite informative as I am currently interacting with three immigrant entrepreneurs over the past month that have moved to the Okanagan.

But while the projection offers that immigrant entrepreneurs will help drive a new wave of globalization, there are those thought providers who believe that this new category of Canadian entrepreneur are the fastest-growing segment of small business ownership today.

Time will tell on this point, but I have developed an understanding of how this thought 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 landscape, 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,  author Thomas Friedman claims we’ve entered a new phase of globalization, now 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.

Also, 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. Sound familiar out there?

And, I’m sure there will be t a tasting of what we might call “accidental entrepreneurs,” those folks who lose their jobs at factories and mills that shut down and are left with two choices—find another job or start your own personal business venture.

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

In the near future, I plan to present a  workshop to a handful of such people on how to pursue the self-employment option.

Let me conclude today’s column with this thought: The demographics of entrepreneurship ownership are rapidly changing.

Small businesses were traditionally started by non-corporate, middle-aged, white males. However, the recent studies throughout North America indicate that aging baby boomers, Generation Y, women and immigrants, coupled with the continuing advances of technology,  are joining the ranks to start small and personal ventures at increasingly powerful rates.

This dramatic change to the entrepreneurial landscape, I predict, will undoubtedly be a boon to our socio-economic existence.

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