Imagine an entrepreneur.
More often than not, the picture that springs to mind is a genial young man,
clad in casual clothes armed with a tablet computer and a revolutionary idea.
While the media portrayal of an entrepreneur still hearkens to this young male
founder, the face of entrepreneurship is changing.
America is undergoing
seismic demographic transformations that dramatically shift the landscape over
the coming decades. These shifts are influencing not only population but the
economy itself, principally via entrepreneurs.
The Kauffman Foundation, the
world’s largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship, shared some interesting
information in their 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (KIEA).
A KIEA infographic displays some startling
entrepreneurs nearly doubled between
aged 55-64 increased from 14.3%-23.% from 1996-2012
entrepreneurs are growing
started companies during this period at twice the rate of women, overall
decline in business creation rates in 2012 was driven entirely by a decline in
rates among men
However, despite the rising
number of minority, women, senior, and immigrant-owned businesses, these groups
still lag behind in economic indicators, including access to capital and other
resources crucial for growth.
Viewing these kinds of
entrepreneurs as an untapped resource is key to generating long term economic
growth and prosperity for America.
Increasing availability of
resources is key, although the form this assistance may take could be
surprising. For example, crowdfunding has widely been touted as a creative
outlet for increasing funding availability to women and minority business
Inviting women, minorities,
and other nontraditional groups to participate in advisory boards is another
step that the Kauffman Foundation recommends to pave the way for deeper, more
fruitful entrepreneurial engagement.
It’s time for communities,
states, and economic developers to take a close look at the resources and
opportunities they have available and find more effective ways to serve women,
minority, immigrant, and senior business owners and potential entrepreneurs.
By 2050, America is predicted to be 20% immigrant,
less than 50% white, and support an elderly population that will have doubled
in size and be more interested in and able to be active than any time in
history. Ensuring successful entrepreneurs that are representative of this kind
of population is key to our nation’s economic survival.
Content contributed by Anne Dewvall, NetWork Kansas. NetWork Kansas is a proud affiliate of U.S. Sourcelink, America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.