Entrepreneurship used to be a form of privilege. That’s changing — but not fast enough

After decades of declining entrepreneurship, record numbers of Americans are starting their own businesses and starting to work for themselves. Thanks to the Great Resignation and booming economy, by 2021, an average of 360 out of every 100,000 U.S. adults will become new entrepreneurs each month.

New immigrants, black and Hispanic Americans, and young workers are at the forefront of starting new businesses in this country. More than one-third of the U.S. workforce is freelance, and startups have spread far beyond Silicon Valley and the big coastal cities.

Rather than positioning entrepreneurship as a privileged career open only to those with wealth and connections, it should become viable for Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and degree aspirations through accessible, inclusive, and equitable high-quality education and training programs career path. Entrepreneurship is critical to economic development, and more Americans must develop the skills and mindset to help them survive turbulent economic times.

Startups and new businesses drive job growth, underpin a more resilient economy, and help lift entire communities. Whether it’s personal and professional liberation, a desire to increase earning potential, or follow a passion, entrepreneurship can be a rewarding path to a more prosperous life. Entrepreneurship should not be limited by race, ethnicity or gender. To protect recent entrepreneurial gains from a potential recession, we need more and better ways to promote talent and opportunity in all communities.

Also Read :  Today's Mortgage, Refinance Rates: Nov. 10, 2022

Historically, our country has done a poor job of providing entrepreneurial opportunities. We either erect barriers that reinforce the legacy of systemic racism, fail to help people acquire the skills they need, or deny funding to entrepreneurs of color. Venture capital funding for Black-owned businesses, for example, soared in 2021 but plummeted this year.

To ensure that entrepreneurship truly becomes an option for all Americans, we need a broad strategy that spans multiple sectors of the country.

This effort must start with families and communities. Parents and adults should teach children early on that owning your own business is a regular job like any other. People mimic their behavior based on what they see around them. If kids can see entrepreneurs in their lives, they’re more likely to see business ownership as a normal and readily available option for adults themselves.

The country’s education system should play a huge role. K-12 schools must teach students that not all paths to success require a four-year degree. Instead, they should encourage other career pathways, such as entrepreneurship, and integrate entrepreneurship training into career and technical education programs. Colleges and universities must continue to increase their entrepreneurial offerings to meet growing student demand, especially black and Latino students.

Also Read :  Innovativeness And Adoption Of The Latest Tech Trends Can Lead Budding Entrepreneurs To Their Desired Success Levels, Says This Self-Made Multipreneur

At all levels of education, there must be courses that provide foundational skills development in sales and marketing, finance and accounting, and leadership so that would-be entrepreneurs learn how to manage people, plan and budget for the future, navigate tough economic conditions and Grow their business. In addition, the programs should support those seeking to start a business in trade, the service industry or in the rapidly growing creator economy.

Nonprofits can establish or fund business incubators that support innovators from underrepresented groups in turning their ideas into sustainable businesses. There must be wider access to venture capital and other financial instruments so that promising new businesses can start, grow and scale. It is critical to specifically target these programs to Black entrepreneurs, who start businesses with significantly less capital than white entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, through its Office of Entrepreneurship Education, can play an important role in helping small businesses succeed and expand opportunities for inclusion. Congress should act quickly to expand another SBA program, Boots to Business, which provides entrepreneurship training for military transitioners and their spouses, and fund similar programs to target other underserved populations.

Also Read :  How Sexism Makes Economics Worse

The U.S. Department of Labor could consider new programs designed to support entrepreneurs and revive past efforts like the GATE program. The program adds a pathway to self-employment to services offered through its One-Stop Career Centers, which have historically supported those seeking entry-level opportunities that can lead to stable, lifelong employment. Although Project GATE existed only for a short time in the early 2000s, it reported a small but significant increase in business ownership.

Existing models, combined with new approaches covering the broader U.S., can help entrepreneurship become a viable and sustainable career path for people from all walks of life, and a powerful driver of economic progress and wealth accumulation for historically excluded communities and individuals power. If we can develop the nation’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in an equitable manner, we can produce the next generation of successful small business owners who can create more quality jobs and realize the power and promise.

Christina Francis is the executive director of JFFLabs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button