How entrepreneurship is evolving in the U S
Over the years, entrepreneurship inevitably changes. It’s helpful for entrepreneurs — and especially the services and resources that hope to support them — to know and understand these changes and trends. The business owners of today and tomorrow aren’t those of the past; they have different motivations, goals, and challenges. Society needs entrepreneurs to drive innovation and economic growth, so it’s only fair to ask “What do entrepreneurs need from us?”
Women and minorities are starting businesses at record rates
From 2007 to 2018, the number of businesses owned by African American women grew by 164%, according to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report. They make up 20% of women-owned businesses, and African Americans are the only race or ethnic group where women own more businesses than their male counterparts.
According to the same report, the number of Latina-owned businesses increased an equally striking 172%, fueled in part by the fact that immigrants are more than twice as likely as native-born citizens to start a business and many U.S. immigrants come from Central and South America.
This is heartening and inspiring news, but it’s important to recognize the disparities and challenges that women and minority entrepreneurs face. Access to capital is one of them: minority-owned businesses are less likely to receive loans; when they do get loans the amounts are often lower and the terms less favorable. It can also be challenging for these entrepreneurs to find mentors, advisors, and networks of other business owners to learn from.
Financial services and economic development initiatives that support entrepreneurs need to actively work to identify and solve the underlying causes of these disparities. They also need to build new programs and products to serve the entrepreneurs of the future.
Entrepreneurship is increasing among people in their fifties and beyond
A handful of recent studies and reports, including one by the Center for an Urban Future, show that entrepreneurship is increasing among people in their fifties and beyond.
Older entrepreneurs can face age bias, especially in certain industries or from VC firms. However, more mature entrepreneurs have decades to build up the confidence, skills, experience, networks, and financial resources to succeed. Potential investors or business partners who overlook older entrepreneurs are making a mistake: a recent study from MIT (nicely summarized here) shows that the average entrepreneur’s chances of success rise with age, at least until their late fifties.
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