5 reasons why entrepreneurs dominated 2014

There’s a saying that goes ‘there is nothing more powerful than an idea who’s time has come’. For thousands of entrepreneurs – defined as an individual who sets up a business and takes on financial risks in the hope of profit – 2014 was that right time. Let’s look at why.

entrepreneurThere’s a saying that goes ‘there is nothing more powerful than an idea who’s time has come’. For thousands of entrepreneurs – defined as an individual who sets up a business and takes on financial risks in the hope of profit – 2014 was that right time. Let’s look at why.

1 – The economic conditions were just right.

In a global economy that’s just about pulling itself out of a recession, the entrepreneur can use his lean startup model to get ahead of the incumbents. What’s more, governments love entrepreneurial startups. Why? Because they are an invaluable ingredient for a successful, thriving economy. Looked at objectively, self-starters, creative thinkers and service oriented doers are an affordable investment that can stimulate an economy more quickly and effectively than almost anything else.

As this Harvard Business Review article (from 2012) states – “In recent years, we have been witnessing a significant global shift in attitudes towards entrepreneurship in countries around the globe. This is reflected in the dramatic proliferation of start-up programs: Start-up America, Start-up Chile, Start-up Russia,Start-up Britain, Start-up Weekend, and dozens of others.”

Alternative funding options have also become much more accessible. A 2014 report by Nesta (the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) found that the UK alternative finance market doubled in size year-on-year from £267m in 2012 to £666m in 2013 to £1.74 in 2014 (source).

Since access to funds is one of the biggest limiting factors for entrepreneurs, this wealth of potential capital acted as an effective catalyst.

2 – Necessity is the mother of invention

But let’s not forget that, despite the widespread economic turnaround, there was still a fair amount of uncertainty and unemployment in 2014. In a post-recession glow, it’s easy to overlook the fact that one of the main reasons entrepreneurs dominated in 2014 was simply because they had to!

For some people, starting a business on the side provided a much needed second income. For others who were unable to find work, creating a job for themselves was simply a more realistic alternative. Interestingly, the same was true during the Great Depression 100 years ago – “fewer available jobs led more Americans to launch businesses”. (Bloomberg.com).

Looking ahead, one implication of this of course, is that the number of entrepreneurs starting new businesses might start to drop as the economy continues to recover. Other established businesses that are starting to grow again will now be able to raise salaries and hire new staff – removing the necessity for more creative endeavours.

3 – Entrepreneurship went global

The developed world is well accustomed to successful entrepreneurship. But no longer do would-be entrepreneurs have to travel to the land of opportunity in order to get their startup off the ground. In fact, in 2014, the pace of growth in emerging markets around the world was faster than in the US. One perhaps unexpected result of this outpacing was emigration from developed to developing markets! As this expert eloquently put it: “As the world flattens, opportunity is spreading to every corner of the globe and taking U.S. entrepreneurs with it”.

A lot of this has to do with technology – for example, the widespread proliferation of mobile payments in Africa has made it much easier for small businesses to start generating the income they need to rapidly become profitable and grow.

4 – The entrepreneurial lifestyle is attractive

The idea of working for yourself, being able to control your own salary and hours, and having a project you can believe in is an incredibly attractive one. Although the security of employment is of course still important to many, there’s a growing movement of people who would simply prefer to do their own thing.

This is particularly true for young people just starting out in their careers. As the BrazenCareerist.com astutely points out, “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.”

5 – It was the year of the horse!

Ending with a bit of ancient wisdom, one reason 2014 might have been the year in which entrepreneurs dominated is because it was the year of the horse! As this article on the Independent notes, the wooden horse (following on from the year of the water snake) is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac – and was great for certain kinds of business.

Thinking back over 2014, you may not be surprised to hear that horse years have a tendency to gallop along at an incredible rate and generate lots of discussion and debate. These are the perfect incubation conditions for young businesses: fast victories and great adventures, with plenty of energy and productivity.

Neeru Pallen

Neeru works as a marketing consultant for Print Express. She enjoys working along side her talented team and keeping up with business trends.

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