A Generation of Entrepreneurs: Who They Are & Why We Need Them
By Alexandra Gladu, Writer for Independent We Stand
Starting a business will never be easy, but in today’s world, it seems more feasible than ever. From seasoned pros looking for new adventures to innovative high school and college students turning their childhood ideas into action, more and more people are setting out to start their own businesses – and doing so successfully. Together, they’ve created a generation of entrepreneurs, valuing innovation and independence over traditional business ideas.
To this new generation, business ownership is a primary goal, not a back-up plan. Entrepreneurs create approximately 543,000 new businesses each month, adding a whopping 40 million jobs to the American economy over the past 30 years. Nearly 30 percent of these entrepreneurs are between the ages of 20 and 34, many of them current college students and recent grads. Some students are catching the entrepreneurial bug even earlier, as more than four in 10 students between 5th and 12th grade say they want to start their own business. By proving that business ownership is attainable, even without 20-plus years of experience, these entrepreneurs (and future entrepreneurs) are changing the way we think about small businesses.
New resources and new forms of training make the increase in entrepreneurship possible. Small business incubators like Popuphood support future small businesses by offering valuable opportunities like free rent and prime retail space to mitigate start-up costs. Community banks and local credit unions finance new ventures without the unnecessary fees and impersonal service of big banks. Online training courses like those offered by Khan Academy and gap year programs like UnCollege supplement or replace formal higher education to give business owners the specific skills they need. Finally, buy local associations like Independent We Stand provide marketing opportunities for entrepreneurs and teach consumers to appreciate the small businesses in their community. Clearly, it doesn’t take an M.B.A. – or even a bachelor’s degree – to satisfy the new generation of small business owners.
More than an interesting phenomenon, the entrepreneurs’ generation brings much-needed mobilization to the nation’s economy and communities. The hundreds and thousands of small businesses created by these entrepreneurs cycle more money through local economies, create more local jobs, and keep individual communities unique. In fact, small businesses have accounted for 65 percent of all net new jobs over the past 17 years, according to the Small Business Administration.
The new wave of entrepreneurs has a way of doing things that is uniquely theirs. They’ve thrown out the traditional rulebook for starting a business – and for the sake of our country, we hope they don’t slow down any time soon.
IWS Content Team:
Alex is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is double-majoring in Public Relations and Spanish. Since becoming a writer for Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle. Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.
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