Merriam Webster defines an entrepreneur as “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risk of operating a business or enterprise”. Sounds right to me.
You start a business, you are an entrepreneur. But here’s the problem:
In today’s world, we are so over-exposed to the wonderfully successful tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and those with companies acquired by the likes of Facebook and Google, that when most people here the word entrepreneurship, all they think about is the tech scene.
And I think that’s a problem. Here’s why:
Ben Casselman, writing for Five Thirty Eight, detailed the slow death of entrepreneurship in America. And while this is not a new problem, it’s a problem that most people can’t see because of the success of a very few “lucky” technology startups.
I’m not trying to discount the work of those in the tech space, all I’m saying is that by glorifying their work over other fields, we don’t expose would-be entrepreneurs to ventures that might be right for them. And we don’t make people aware that the rate of entrepreneurship in this country is going down when we spend so much time thinking about how successful a small number of entrepreneurs have been.
And so, at the end of the day, we end up raising a generation of people with fewer and fewer people who end up starting a business. That means fewer new businesses, which make up a big chunk of new jobs every year.
We used to be a nation of entrepreneurs. And in many ways, we still are. But less so than ever before. And that could spell trouble for the economy of today, and even bigger trouble for the economy of the future.
It’s not all about tech. But it is a little bit about tech. Thanks a lot Zuckerberg.