Entrepreneurs: The Future is Yours!
Forecasting Market Growth
It’s a tricky business to forecast. I especially appreciate the quote from Niels Bohr, Nobel Laureate in Physics: “Prediction is difficult, especially if it is about the future.” Nevertheless, understanding the trends for small business versus large guide how we can best support each.
I have a special passion for entrepreneurs, as they bring imagination and ideas to life! Working with entrepreneurs to help them succeed is special and exciting every time. To learn more about the direction ahead for new businesses, I reached out to Lawrence Udell, serial entrepreneur of more than 20 companies, adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship, founder of the California Inventions Center and Silicon Valley Chapter of the Licensing Executive Society, to help understand what is happening in trends for big business versus small business.
Small Versus Big Business: Small is getting Bigger and Bigger is getting Smaller.
Larry notes: “ In the last six decades, we have seen the most dramatic increase in new business creation the modern world has ever experienced. Coming out of World War II, both individuals and companies began to see the possibility of enormous economic growth. The military downsized and the return of troops from war brought new energy and balance to the working scene, stoked by young new family growth, new community and city development, all with needs for small business services. This, coupled with technology breakthroughs, fueled the growth of new businesses.
Developing business opportunities across companies of many sizes in the new global environment lead to the idea of intellectual property and licensing as valuable advantages, as exchange of technology can increase sales and profits and can spur economic diversity, create new industries and expand to more regions and socio-economic groups. This created strides in all areas of invention, innovation and scientific discoveries that fueled growth of entirely new industries. This created growth for both industries and small companies. Consider how computers spawned growth. Corporations formed that never existed decades ago and employ thousands of people. The same industry giants also created thousands of small companies by entrepreneurs who recognized the direction ahead and the needs for the path of progress.
That brings us to today.
Small business in the U.S. today employs more that 60% of the workforce;
More than 600,000 new firms have been created each year during the last decade;
Women-owned small business sole proprietorships in the U.S. have passed 8 million.
Fifty years ago, there were 402,000 women-owned businesses in the U.S. Today there are 12.3 million women entrepreneurs, between the ages of 40-60.
African American women-owned companies in the US provide more than $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy and employ 2,230,600 people;
There are 31 million entrepreneurs in America today, 71 out of 100 of which are women; and
Investment capital resources for new business are ample. The venture capital industry in the first nine months of 2022 raised $151 billion, which does not include angel investors or corporate private funds and small business investment companies. During the same time, the industry invested $195 billion in new ventures and supplemental investments.
While small business growth is at its highest in history, large entities are downsizing, especially via mergers and acquisitions. The big companies -- unintentionally and indirectly – are creating small business growth and creating a mindset against working for the Fortune 500. No longer do people follow the tradition to “follow in the footsteps of a parent” with loyalty to a company for generations. Young people now see their future is in their own hands and not controlled by big companies.
This independence will result in fewer company giants. Many more smaller companies will feed the giants the new technologies for the future. The exchange of these inventions and new products will be done through licensing so both parties benefit from the innovation. “
The Crystal Ball for the New Millennium
Entrepreneurs have an exciting future ahead as the opportunities expand. Lawrence envisions we will see:
Much greater diversity of industries
Growth of small, successful companies able to introduce new products
Increase in individuals and teams motivated to create more start-ups across wider segments of our society
Big corporations create in-house entities that spawn new companies which they partially own, so they do not lose employees while expanding and diversifying.
The opportunities for new entrepreneurs and new ventures in the near future is incalculable. It will expand individuals’ potential to invent the new products of the future which can be licensed by corporations eager to use the technologies of the future. As entrepreneurs feed the technology giants, prosperity will grow.
Making the Most of Opportunity
Entrepreneurs have a wide road ahead. The chance to make significant contributions to our future. Creative innovators will need support to reach their goals. It is time for successful entrepreneurs to mentor new ones to prepare them to face challenges and create their new businesses. As a professor of Entrepreneurship for 30 years, Lawrence was for even longer. We both believe educating future entrepreneurs will be valuable to sparing them trials and learning by mistakes.
Our firm provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses to ensure they manage the stepping stones to their future. If you are an entrepreneur, or in a small business with dreams, feel free to reach out to us for advice, mentoring and operational service support to bring your dreams to life.
Lawrence J. Udell serves as Founder and Executive Director of the California Invention Center (founded in 1995 with federal funds) at California State University where he was an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship. Also, he founded the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society where he serves as Chair-Emeritus As a serial entrepreneur, he has created more than twenty companies in his career and serves as a consultant to both Fortune 500 corporations and new ventures throughout North America. He has worked with world famous inventors, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Lear of Lear Jet fame, James Pergason, Robert Rines and Dr. Paul MacCready. A published author, he contributes to major magazines, including Popular Mechanics. Larry also provides lectures on a variety of creative subjects for both the government and the private sector and has taught courses on Entrepreneurship at various universities in the US and international. He presents on creative and key innovation topics for the government and private sectors globally. He is a partner at Boardwise, Inc. as advisor to entrepreneurs in a wide span of industries. He can be reached at: Larry@les-svc.org
Dr. Donna Hamlin is founder and CEO of BOARDWISE, Inc. leading the global practice, putting wisdom to work for managing and governing well. The firm provide best practices services, education, independent evaluations, advisory support, and award-winning research. She works with clients to improve strategy, human and organizational performance, and sustainable growth. Working across a wide range of industries, she has worked with companies in more than 54 countries and brings a cultural insight for solutions globally. She has served as adjunct professor in entrepreneurship since 1984, working to prepare creative minds for business development. She welcomes working with entrepreneurs to accelerate their valuable success.