While economists will analyze our nation’s economic meltdown for quite some time, Nevadans with a “can do” attitude are looking beyond the issue of “How did this happen?” to the more optimistic “How can we fix this?” The short answer to that query: entrepreneurship.
A study just released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation indicates that more than 70 percent of voters polled say the health of the economy depends on the success of entrepreneurs; 80 percent want government to use its resources to encourage entrepreneurship in America; and 56 percent trust small business owners to guide the economy.
Why are entrepreneurs more likely to survive and even thrive in a down economy? Entrepreneurs are typically risk-taking, forward-thinking people who have an ability to see far beyond the boundaries of “the box” in assessing business-building opportunities. Entrepreneurs are more likely to move forward with new innovation in times of economic crisis when large businesses are typically still in the “survival mode.”
Additionally, entrepreneurs generally operate in a different fiscal mode than traditional small businesses. According to FastCompany, one of the reasons entrepreneurs will do well in this economy goes directly to the issue of financing. Venture capitalists that fund entrepreneurial endeavors work on long fundraising timetables and deal in liquid money. As a result, faltering banks and tight credit don’t affect VC funds as much as other institutions.
What can we expect of entrepreneurial pursuits in coming months? Business author and entrepreneur Larry Farrell predicted at a recent meeting of the Society of Entrepreneurs that a “revitalized business paradigm” will emerge from today’s economic chaos, with the foundation built upon a new generation of small-business pioneers.
“There’s never been a time in our nation’s history when it was more important for young people to think of entrepreneurship as a career option,” Farrell said.
Entrepreneurs as the saving grace? Let’s review the facts: Entrepreneurship education is gaining ground throughout Nevada; the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College are strengthening their entrepreneurship offerings: NCET’s Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition gets stronger every year; and programs like Junior Achievement and high-school-level business plan development programs are becoming more popular all the time. Entrepreneurs as our state’s saving grace? As one of the most entrepreneurial-friendly regions in the nation, it most definitely will be a theory worth watching.
Dave Archer is the CEO of Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, a statewide nonprofit organization that encourages people to start their own businesses and connects them with the resources. For more information, visit www.ncet.org