There’s a lot being written about entrepreneurship and startups today. Entrepreneurism’s resurrected popularity in today’s marketplaces and universities may be a direct result of the global economic meltdown from 2008. That economic event dragged all of us, quite firmly, into the digital millennium. No more post-industrial mindset. There is no turning back to the “way things used to be.” And for some generations, that’s the only way things will ever be.
Instead of a job for life. Instead of being a company man or woman. No more job security. So how does that impact personal longevity in the marketplace?
Entrepreneurship certainly is nothing new when you think about it. Perhaps cultural development could be viewed as a chronicle of entrepreneurship in response to environmental opportunities and challenges.
No doubt that we are being challenged, economically.
Some would argue we still are not out of the woods as the post-recession economy continues to redefine itself. There were a lot of professionals displaced and dumped into the entrepreneurial landscape. They decided to form their own businesses and become their own bosses, when the potential for winning a new position with another company became nonviable. Many of these “unintentional entrepreneurs” have entered business plan competitions in an effort to co-fund their venture. Some continue to self-fund.
Another impact of the new competitive global economy appears to be emerging as an entire generation of contracted workforce whose definition of “work” is defined as being a self-employed, independent contractor and, in a sense, being their own bosses as well. As the CEO of their sub-contracted job, independent contractor entrepreneurs find they exercise more control over their career paths as plug-and-play consultants and temporary hires.
Certainly the universities have seen the rise of various entrepreneurship programs in response to the SBIR program which was initiated in the 1980’s. University-based TechTransfer programs, seek to commercialize technology created within the university settings and take it out into society for the greater good, lest it languish in labs to only serve the function of tenure qualification.
While Gen Y has gotten a bad rap about their sense of entitlement to being entrepreneurs, university entrepreneurship and technical training programs are showing them that it’s not a straight shot from “A to B” to become the CEO of your own business. Just because you have a business card that has CEO after your name doesn’t mean you know what it takes to head up your own business.
Just as there is an entire generation of self-employed, independent contractors, universities are growing today’s entrepreneurs. These programs are showing students that the road getting from A to Z , inception to launch, of their great idea is long, arduous, and rewarding. These students are hardly discouraged by the thought of a lot of work. They are passionate, committed, and like to feel that what they are doing is serving the greater good.
Ever since the first human traded one item in the marketplace for another item they needed to sustain themselves, entrepreneurship has been in full bloom. I’d say it’s alive, well, and a vibrant and thriving response to today’s digital, and globally, competitive marketplace.
What are your thoughts?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools.