Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

13/7/19: A New Era of Entrepreneurship? Not in Data so Far…


We are living in the Great New Era of Entrepreneurship that started in 2013 (according to someone at Forbes) and the academia is pumping high entrepreneurship training and education (the Golden Era, according to some don from Stanford). Living in all of this 'game changing' stuff around you can be daunting, inducing FOMO and other behavioural nudges toward dropping everything and launching that new unicorn doing something disruptive and raking in the miracle dollars that everyone around you seems to be minting out of thin air. Right?

Well, not so fast. Here's the data from the U.S. - that 'super-charged engine of enterprising folks':


Hmm... anyone can spot the 'New Era' in entrepreneurship out there, other than the one with historically low rates of business creation?

21/5/19: ‘Popping up everywhere’ or not? Entrepreneurship and start ups


Much has been written, taught and said about the New Age of Entrepreneurship and the new generations of entrepreneurs, allegedly springing up across the modern economies. The problem is, for all the marketing hype and academic programs enthusiasm, entrepreneurship (new business formation) is actually running pretty low.

Here is the U.S. data on new business formation:


While other data, e.g. Kauffman Foundation, shows relatively stable and even higher rates of entrepreneurship over recent years, much of this data aggregates both incorporated and non-incorporated businesses, including sole traders and self-employed. This is reflected in the fact that entrepreneurship rates in recent years have been sustained solely by a massive increase in entrepreneurship uptake by individuals with less than high school education and of older age cohorts:

Source: https://indicators.kauffman.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/02/2017-National-Report-on-Early-Stage-Entrepreneurship-February-20191.pdf

Over the same time, cohorts with higher education have seen a decrease in their entrepreneurship rates, driven in part by their rising share of population, their rising numbers, and, well, yes, lower incentives to undertake entrepreneurial risks.

Now, as to the age of entrepreneurs we have.
Source: https://indicators.kauffman.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/02/2017-National-Report-on-Early-Stage-Entrepreneurship-February-20191.pdf 

In  summary, the above table shows that the rates of entrepreneurship amongst the Millennials have declined, the rates for GenX-ers (35-44 cohort) have risen, but are quite volatile, with significant increases (2009-2010) associated with greater involuntary entrepreneurship (high unemployment), while overall increases in entrepreneurship have ben sustained by entrepreneurs of ages 45 and older.

So, to that often repeated popular and academist 'truism' of the New Age of Entrepreneurship and the great entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generations... errr, not quite.

Note: caveats notwithstanding, good data on the subject is available here: https://www.kauffman.org/currents/2019/02/indicators-provides-early-stage-entrepreneurship-data.