Why is entrepreneurship gaining so much popularity as a career choice?
India registered 36,859 new businesses in 2004, a number which rose to 98,029 in 2014. This increase, documented in the World Bank's Entrepreneurship Survey and Database, is reflected in most countries. Entrepreneurship is unquestionably on the rise. People, both young and old, are starting their own companies with remarkable alacrity. Startups in every imaginable sector are consistently popping up around the world. But how did it happen that something like starting a business, which was earlier reserved for the extremely wealthy or the foolishly ambitious (in the eyes of society), is now a completely accepted career choice? This new trend of entrepreneurship can be attributed to four things:
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The worldview of careers has evolved over the past few decades. Earlier, jobs in the Government or established MNCs were highly sought after as they afforded stability and a guaranteed income. Starting a business was viewed as a near-impossible task, but the current popularity of startups has changed that perspective. With success stories of startups and their founders making the news on a daily basis, the stigma surrounding entrepreneurship has faded. People who start their own business now command a high level of respect and admiration within society.
The rapid evolution of technology has contributed to the rise in entrepreneurship in many ways. The astronomic rise of the internet, in particular, has created several new markets which never existed before; it has breathed new life into sectors like shopping, travel, hospitality, education, and food, and has spawned technologies like social media, IoT, and AI. Companies which make SaaS (software as a service) products are far easier to set up as compared to the brick-and-mortal retail business of yore. And the internet has also made it easy for aspiring entrepreneurs to access the resources they need. The versatility of modern day technology has resulted in a vast scope for innovation which is being leveraged by thousands to solve problems that hadn't even been recognised earlier.
Need for independence
The 2016 Amway Global Entrepreneurship report identified the need for independence from an employer to be one of the two most important motivating factors for entrepreneurs (self-fulfilment is the other). Throughout history, people have detested working for others but they continued to do so as there was no other choice. But the millennial generation has found entrepreneurship to be the answer to this problem. The idea that entrepreneurs are answerable to no one, though not entirely true, is a temptation to great to ignore. It's not as though there are absolutely no good jobs in the market today, it's just that people are no longer attracted to the idea of working for someone else.
Pursuit of self-fulfilment
While earlier generations were content with working in the same company for decades on end, the current generations are wary of the pitfalls such a career can bring. We've seen the spectacular collapse of economies that led to widespread unemployment. We've seen our parents and grandparents slogging for someone else's gain solely for money (which is, incidentally, never enough). And thus, we've begun questioning the purpose of such a work life, a question which eventually culminates in the pursuit of self-fulfilment. Entrepreneurs feel that they're doing something valuable with their lives, or at least trying to, which is more than what can be said for most of the working population.
Fame and money don't figure in this list because people who become entrepreneurs to achieve these two goals seldom succeed. As Aaron Patzer, Founder of Mint, said, “Solve a real problem. You don't start a company because you want to be an entrepreneur or the fame and glory that comes along with it. You become an entrepreneur to solve a real problem.”