Best Practices

NetWork Kansas: The Changing Face of Entrepreneurship

Published Jun 12, 2013

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 information:

-       New Latino entrepreneurs nearly doubled between 1996-2012

-       Entrepreneurs aged 55-64 increased from 14.3%-23.% from 1996-2012

-       Immigrant entrepreneurs are growing

-       Although men 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 owners.

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.