With this tumultuous year behind us, I'm fixing my mind on what's to come in 2017. Change is the only constant in life, and with a new administration about to take over--I'm truly optimistic about next year since entrepreneurs seem to be looking forward to the potential changes that this new year might bring.
I see a lot of good things on the horizon for next year in the realm of entrepreneurship, as technology continues to enable innovation, and passionate people around the globe are able to connect and create. Here are some of the trends coming down the pike in 2017:
The new faces of entrepreneurship
- Youth: Now that millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation out there, expect to see more fresh faces pitching their companies. In addition to the new boom of millennials, we're starting to see Generation Z innovating in the marketplace. They're pragmatic, socially conscious and I expect a huge crop of bright entrepreneurs to rise from their ranks.
- Women: 2016 was a banner year for female entrepreneurs, as the number of women starting businesses reached a 20-year high. Although gender parity is still not there, women are starting 40 percent of all new businesses. As part of Dell's quest to even the playing field for women entrepreneurs, we released an open letter to the presidential candidates called #WhatWeNeedToSucceed, with policy recommendations to lead to more success for women.
- Diversity: Entrepreneurs are growing more and more diverse, proven by the 40 percent of 2016's new entrepreneurs, who were African American, Latino, Asian, or other non-whites. We need people of every age, gender and race to start innovating, because we all have different needs and different points of view. Check out the Case Foundation's #FacesofFounders to see the rise of diversity in entrepreneurship.
Creative Coworking: Good entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to cut expenses and boost creativity, and coworking spaces hit both those marks. 2016 saw huge jumps in coworking, with more than 835,000 people working out of 11,300 locations--a 64 percent increase over 2015. These spaces function as more than just desk space, offering built in communities, events, coffee shops, and accelerators. 1776, a global incubator and shared workspace in DC, is one of my favorites, and I love the atmosphere at every WeWork location I've been to--plus the beer!
The Rise of Cities: The relationship between a city and its entrepreneurs is a two-way street--the regulations on the books shape how new businesses are allowed to function and grow, while the relative success (or failure) of entrepreneurs can either help a city thrive or keep it stuck in first gear. I'm enamored by the way New York City has come to the aid of its entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities, with programs such as the WE NYC and by setting the aggressive goal of spending more than $16 billion over the next decade with women and minority owned businesses.
This year, we took used the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index to take a closer look at the best cities in the world for female entrepreneurs, and surprise surprise--New York was No. 1.
We also took a look at which global cities are best positioned for growth and prosperity by evaluating their human capital, infrastructure and commerce in the Future Ready Economies Index. Obviously entrepreneurs play a huge role in this, and two Bay Area cities--San Jose and San Francisco--topped this list.
Earth First: My personal philosophy around entrepreneurship has always been to focus on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit, and I think 2017 will be the year the rest of the world gets on the same page. Seeing cities like London put out a call for green entrepreneurs is inspiring, and I hope more cities, countries and companies understand the need for keeping our planet top of mind. We need more entrepreneurs like Scoop, a carpooling app that'll save our air from excessive emissions, and Goodshop, a way to shop online while donating money to your favorite charities, in order to make our planet a healthier, happier and more sustainable place.
So, here is to 2017! My bullish outlook is based on the fact that no matter what, entrepreneurs will keep us moving forward!