Business

Young: Entrepreneurialism is changing before our eyes

As I write a 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 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 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 10 years 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 to-day’s technology becomes, dear readers – tomorrow’s reality.

A study produced in 2007 in the U.S.A. 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 to-days 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.  Entrepreneurs will no longer come predominantly from middle age but, instead from the edges.

People nearing retirement and their own children just entering the job market will become the most entrepreneurial generations 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 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 are becoming resident in the Okanagan.

But, the projection offers that immigrant entrepreneurs will help drive a new wave of globalization as there are those thought-providers that believe that this new category of Canadian entrepreneur are 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 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, 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 my earlier column for you, that, 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 tasting of what we might call “ accidental” entrepreneurs, who are those folks who leave closing factories and mills and are left with two choices: Leave or start 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.  Shortly, I will present a workshop to a handful of such people where I will have the privilege of presenting the self-employment option.

Once again, dear readers, 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 to-day 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, of which I cited some pieces for you this week show that aging baby boomers, Generation Y, women and immigrants, coupled with the skyrocketing of technologies, are joining the ranks to start small and personal ventures at increasingly powerful 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 as I am sure – do you. Until next week.

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