Looking to dive into entrepreneurship this year? Here are the three trends most likely to affect your work.
Entrepreneurship trends are a lot like fashion trends. The boxy cropped jacket and tuxedo jogging trouser trends of 2014 are already on runways today. Likewise, next year’s most important entrepreneurship trends begin now.
Here are three big trends you can expect to see affect entrepreneurs in 2014:
1. A new business will be the new first job
The class of 2014 is more accustomed to persistent uncertainty than the shell-shocked class of 2008 or the hopeful one of 2012. The class of 2014 is more self-reliant, and many consider entrepreneurship to be the first step and only path to a career.
Plus, institutions have evolved to offer cost- and time-efficient training and education for entrepreneurs. Wharton became the first business school to offer free MBA courses online, and entrepreneurial training programs like Acton MBA are proving viable paths to career readiness.
In 2014, tech prodigies dominating an industry adults barely understand will no longer be the norm. Instead, young business owners will enter and compete in industries as varied as their interests and field of study.
Even farming has begun to make a resurgence following a 70-year decline, and in April of 2013, the Young Farmer’s Coalition successfully pressed Congress to introduce The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act in light of the trend.
No matter what the industry or field of study, you’ll see more recent grads creating their first jobs instead of merely getting them and building corporate ladders rather than climbing them — probably out of your basement, if you’re a parent!
2. Equity crowdfunding will be the new charity
The myth of self-made men pulling themselves up by their bootstraps has been debunked. If you’ve raised startup funding, you know how difficult it is to succeed in business, no matter how hard you work. That’s why the September 2013 legalization of equity-based crowdfunding opens such an exciting new chapter for entrepreneurs.
Due to the legally mandated $1 million dollar annual fundraising limit, its greatest impact won’t be for tech founders, but for small locally owned businesses like yours. For small business owners who would otherwise put a new mortgage on their home or beg banks for a loan, this marks an emancipation.
And, much like the transformative power of micro-loans in the lives of third-world business owners, equity-based crowdfunding will be the charity of empowerment for 2014. Although it doesn’t replace charitable giving, it offers average citizens a chance to support a sustainable solution: job creation. Helping a business create jobs — even for personal gain — beats telling people to get off their lazy butts and get a job, right?
3. American entrepreneurship will go global
American is used to immigrants and commerce coming to its shores for opportunity. My Indian-born parents are among many such stories. But as the world flattens, opportunity is spreading to every corner of the globe and taking U.S. entrepreneurs with it.
Take Africa. It accounts for 70 percent of global mobile payments, and 40 percent come from Kenya alone, according to Steven Koltai, who heads a consulting company that fosters entrepreneurship abroad.
Growth rates of emerging markets are outpacing the U.S and creating opportunities. American entrepreneurs, with their experience and education in business development, can make huge impacts and gains within these markets.
And it’s not just investors, tech or social entrepreneurs who can join the entrepreneurial gold rush. A documentary by VICE called Cowboy Capitalists focuses on Ian Cox, a small-time hustler-turned-businessman who owns and manages an Africa-based transport service that earned a major contract from the U.S. due to his ability to navigate Africa’s sometimes dangerous, corrupt and bureaucratic terrain and literally deliver.
Expect more American travelers to check the “For Business” box in 2014 as a movement of American entrepreneurship begins to emerge.
The future is anybody’s guess, but its creation is uniquely ours as entrepreneurs. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) In 2014, business people like you will take part in fundamental cultural shifts in careers, charity and Euro-centrism.