Becoming an entrepreneur is a goal for many. The lifestyle, flexibility of working hours and the ability to set yourself up financially and potentially for life, is a call that thousands each year find difficult to ignore. Taking the leap and setting out on their own business ventures is their biggest dream. What puts a large fraction of potential entrepreneurs off, however, is the inability to decide what kind of business best to venture into in the first place. Additionally, factors like what consumers favour and what makes them more likely to succeed leave them confused and more so demoralised. As much as all our dreams come true when fervently pursued, entrepreneurship has been shaped by many trends and changes that are determining not only how enterprises have to function but also dictating the future of entrepreneurship. Let’s dig in to what the future of entrepreneurship is and where it is headed.
One of the lessons from the pandemic was the need for a new construct and mental model for technology. In almost every industry, some form of technology will become the product or an enabler to it. Those who cannot participate in digital transformation will be left behind. The pandemic was also a global crisis tailor made for global responses and we have witnessed entrepreneurs doing the most with digital tools and opportunities at their disposal. Case in point, Xente has created an e- commerce platform where businesses can easily access markets and create networks using social media networks, particularly LinkedIn. This has enabled businesses to set and maintain their brand positions even after social interactions were restricted. Another is Farmunera, an Afro-tech startup is bridging the gap between agro-product suppliers and smallholder farmers within Uganda and all over EastAfrica and has not only improved the supply chain in the agricultural sector but further entrenched Buy Uganda Build Uganda. There has been a shift in how entrepreneurs communicate and connect with their customers and clients from physical interactions to using online platforms. This has not only been brought about by the recent pandemic but also the increase in digital transformation that is to say the inevitable and continuous dependence on search engines, mobile applications, computers and smartphones.
This rapid migration of enterprises from traditional to online is remarkably setting the pace for the future of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.
The rise of social enterprises
Social enterprises are proving to be the new paradigm of entrepreneurship.There has been a sharp increase in the social awareness of consumers and the desire to contribute to businesses who use a percentage of their profits to help a range of deserving causes, and this change in habits has paved the way for a new kind of business venture. These businesses are driven by purpose rather than profit, with a goal to improve the lives of others and they’re most certainly becoming more and more common in today’s vast business landscape. For example, The Ghetto Youth Research Lab is helping young adults transform their lives by skilling them, providing employment opportunities and is also transforming slums and ghettos through social work and development. The mission behind social enterprises is to generate funds that can be used to contribute to helping groups of people who are less fortunate, which is increasingly important to certain demographics when choosing which businesses to spend their hard-earned money on. Also, investors are finally catching up on this by leaning towards impact investing. Although social enterprises appear to be on a clear and consistent rise, the ecosystem in Uganda is just maturing.
One of the great opportunities of the new digital landscape is the gig economy. The gig economy has given millions of people the freedom to work and live more efficiently and effectively in sectors as diverse as accounting and consultancy, software testing and mobility. It has become the disruptor and has also opened up powerful new income-generating opportunities for the continent, with individuals now easily able to offer local services within cities, as well as export services to companies abroad seeking specific inputs. It has now become vital given our urgent need to get jobs and sustain livelihoods and some actually refer to it not only as the Future of Entrepreneurship but of Work as well.
There has never been a better time to set up your own business. A focus on trends and the ability to anticipate community needs will give you an edge and who knows, you could be the next big entrepreneur steering the Future of Entrepreneurship.