Top 3 Trends For The Future Of Entrepreneurship

By Kawal Preet | March 19, 2021

Becoming an entrepreneur is now the number 1 option for ‘Generation Next’.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the $90 trillion global economy - from job insecurity and rising unemployment to huge levels of stress on people and healthcare services. At the same time, we’ve seen positives emerge. Small firms tapping into e-commerce for the first time. Greater use of technology. More flexibility in the workplace, including working from home.

Much has been written about the future of work after COVID-19, but what about the future of entrepreneurship? How will this disruption affect the next generation of entrepreneurs?

What is clear is that becoming an entrepreneur is fast becoming the number one choice for “Generation Next” – as many young people want to break away from salaried jobs. It’s not just established businesses that help society get through a crisis like COVID-19. It’s a new generation of up-and-coming entrepreneurs who will be creating innovation, ensuring future sustainability, and building safe, equitable, strong economies which benefit everyone.

We see three key trends shaping this future entrepreneurship:

1. Defined by digital; agility, resilience and speed

It is certainly becoming easier to become a global entrepreneur.

First, the entire model for global entrepreneurship is evolving at speed. The future will be defined by digital. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs survey finds rising demand for skills such as active learning, stress tolerance and flexibility.

We’ve already seen how companies that moved quickly during the crisis had a strategic advantage over competitors. Today, people can work and buy goods from anywhere. With millions working from home, firms that delivered fast but continued to provide exceptional service gained loyal customers.

Consumer expectations have changed. People are much more at ease with using new technology. COVID-19 has clearly been a catalyst for digital entrepreneurship in the same way that other crises and health emergencies sparked positive change in the past.

One positive aspect to emerge from the disruption of COVID is that it has helped lower barriers to entrepreneurship – particularly through digital. It is certainly becoming easier to become a global entrepreneur. Cloud-based tech has more than halved costs in starting and running a business, according to Gartner. It’s also much easier to access new technology. Websites and platforms that integrate a tech stack enable SMEs to market products to a wider audience, with better connections between buyers, sellers, and partners.

While all these shifts aren’t new, the acceleration we’ve seen through COVID is. According to McKinsey, businesses that once mapped digital strategy many years ahead have been able to scale those same initiatives in a matter of days or weeks. The speed of change has been phenomenal.
It is certainly becoming easier to become a global entrepreneur.

2. A new age of diverse entrepreneurship

Access to technology enables start-ups from Ghana to Bangladesh to participate on the same global stage as those in more developed countries.

The world is entering an exciting new age of entrepreneurship. That means more women, more young people, and more entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.

In our increasingly connected world, access to technology enables start-ups from Ghana to Bangladesh to participate on the same global stage as those in more developed countries.

This diverse entrepreneurship is fed by an enormous talent pool, and Asia-Pacific stands out. The region has almost 60% of the world’s youth population, a huge resource of 700 million young people aged 15 to 24. As we see more barriers to entrepreneurship falling, we will see much bigger opportunities for young people everywhere – from every country and culture, from every sector and society, all contributing different talent and points of view.

So it’s important not just to “teach” or guide entrepreneurship, but how we embed it in post-COVID recovery and re-set what has gone before. It is how we work to find, fund and support the next generation of diverse start-ups and entrepreneurs which will drive long-term recovery.

Asia is fortunate to have some of the most thriving start-up ecosystems in the world. There is a lot of support for new entrepreneurs and venture capital models at a time when e-commerce and cross-border trade is booming. But there is still not enough focus on the practical elements of scaling up and growing a global business.

How exactly can you seize the digital advantage and innovate on a global scale?

Getting into the intricate detail of supply chains, trading across borders, and government regulations is difficult. That’s where our expertise at FedEx comes in. Just as commerce is constantly changing, FedEx itself is always in motion, moving towards a digital future where “now meets next”. During COVID-19 lockdowns, our teams worked tirelessly to assist SMEs throughout Asia-Pacific to increase their online presence and get access to e-commerce shipping tools. Our job is to make commerce easier for all entrepreneurs so their businesses grow and thrive.

To do so, it’s vital to know just where people are spending time - and how long they spend online. That knowledge is key to what we see as the third trend ahead for entrepreneurs.
Access to technology enables start-ups from Ghana to Bangladesh to participate on the same global stage as those in more developed countries.

3. Location-independent solutions

The pandemic has created opportunities for entrepreneurs and changed how we all work – possibly for good. Future entrepreneurship will be defined by new solutions that work anywhere. Solutions independent of location.

Take healthcare, which has completely transformed in a short period of time. Society is now far more invested in telehealth, remote diagnostics and medical devices. At FedEx, we’re on the frontlines of healthcare and we’re seeing this trends play out in real-time. We’ve been transporting medical technology, new pharma and material for clinical trials for years. Now we are doing some of the most important work we’ve ever done, and are understandably proud of the tremendous efforts of FedEx teams worldwide in COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

In other sectors, technology is creating an environment that is location-independent, mobile-first and social-commerce centric. The new generation of successful entrepreneurs are digital nomads already.

Finding the next wave

As we look beyond the pandemic, it is clear that entrepreneurship will not return to what it was. It will be even better.

At FedEx, we are in the entrepreneur-growing business - always searching for the next wave of innovation. Not just because it will help grow our business, but because entrepreneurship is key to global recovery.

Once, education focused on heading to university or landing a full-time job with an employer. Now we have come full circle. Becoming an entrepreneur will be the first choice for many because the world is moving so much faster - and is more digitally-empowered - to make that happen.

As we look beyond the pandemic, it is clear entrepreneurship will not return to what it was. It will be even better. Future entrepreneurship has the potential to be the ultimate global equalizer, creating many more opportunities for many more people.

Searching for tips and advice on entrepreneurship and growing your business? Check out our insights for SMEs here.
As we look beyond the pandemic, it is clear that entrepreneurship will not return to what it was. It will be even better.

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About the Author
authors photo

Kawal Preet

President,
Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, FedEx Express

Kawal started out as a FedEx engineer in Singapore over 20 years ago, and she’s now the President of FedEx Express AMEA. Kawal is based in Hong Kong.

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