Entrepreneurship is very near and dear to my heart. While my title and responsibilities may have changed over the years, I still picture myself as the young kid paving driveways at sixteen, passionate about having a business of my own.
I’ve said many times over the years that the entrepreneurial spirit can be summed up in two words: risk and change. It’s natural to fear these concepts in our personal and professional lives, sticking to the comfortable, secure and safe roads through life. But if you’re passionate about an idea, if you know you have the potential to change the world, you have to embrace them both to succeed.
Today’s entrepreneurs look very different than the ones of my generation. Advances in technology and education have brought the tools of business success to a much wider group of people. Exciting, innovative and risky business ideas will always be around, but the people pursuing them have undeniably changed.
While I may have been paving driveways at sixteen, the business that would eventually become PGi was started when I was closer to 30. I had a solid education under my belt and the drive to bring new, innovative ideas in communications to life. Today, entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger. An increasing number of colleges are offering undergraduate and graduate programs tailored towards potential business owners. While some entrepreneurs forgo higher learning, the complexities of technology and an increasingly global economy have brought renewed value to entrepreneurial education.
More importantly, the information age of the internet has given the world unbridled access to an endless wealth of knowledge. You can do market research, learn how to develop and code software and collaborate with potential partners or investors without ever leaving your home. The information and the technology to pursue your business dreams are out there and available for anyone who wants to go get them, regardless of your age or education level.
Diversity in Entrepreneurship
The freedom to learn and pursue your business dreams has changed the literal face of entrepreneurship as well. Combined with easier, more cost-effective access to essential business technologies, a growing number of female and minority entrepreneurs are entering the business arena—and finding great success. In the last decade, the number of women-owned firms reporting $10 million or more in annual sales has jumped by 57%.
Minority-owned businesses are booming in the United States as well: there are now 5.8 million minority owned businesses in the country.
This trend will continue as the newest generation of business leaders reflects the growing diversity of business models, consumer needs and innovative ideas.
Everyone Will Become an Entrepreneur
Ultimately, as work styles and business environments flex and change thanks to technology developments such as web conferencing, there’s the potential for drastic shifts in what the workforce looks like. Freelance, contract and telework have all become more common as employees shed the 9-5 mentality for anytime, anywhere work. Remote work embodies the mindset of the entrepreneur, requiring drastic change in the way we work, collaborate and communicate.
Embracing that change will be critical to the success of an entire generation of workers, bringing the entrepreneurial spirit to an entirely new segment of the workforce.
For more insights on the changing nature of business , visit the PGi Collaboratory.
Photo Credit: rachaelvoorhees