Raymond Morin
February 2, 2017

Generation C: The ¨Tsunami¨ of Independent Entrepreneurship

Independent entrepreneurship

Today, there is a real boom in entrepreneurship. Co-working spaces are emerging all over the world.. The American giant, We Work already count 75 offices facilities around the world, and will soon open offices in Montreal.

Co-working spaces are actually only one of quite a number of new services aimed directly at entrepreneurs, freelancers and consultants. This proliferation should surprise nobody, as with each change in work practices, there inevitably come opportunities for enterprising individuals to provide previously unneeded or little needed services.

The Dramatic Rise of Entrepreneurship

In Canadian government statistics, by 2012, there were already more than 1 million small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. At the same time, there were 2.67 million self-employed workers, accounting for more than 15% of jobs.

In the United States, according to US Census Data, the self-employed – and those who they employed – accounted for 30% of the work force by 2014, for a total of 44 million jobs. A mere 2 years later, according to Upwork/Freelancer’s Union, this proportion had reached 35%. (Full disclosure: the previous two sources, obviously from highly reputable sources, present numbers that are at odds with each other. A lesson there for Data geeks! Even great sources sometimes get things wrong. To put it kindly, sometimes, full disclosure as to counting methods is as important as the numbers that are presented.)

By 2020, it is estimated that this segment will represent more than 40% of the population who will be employed in United States of America. (Read Also : The Rise of Independent Entrepreneurship)

While under-35s dominate these new areas of independent entrepreneurship, other generations have been quick to emulate them. Younger baby boomers are taking advantage of these trends and now taking early retirement to realize their old dreams. Meanwhile, those of Gen X, who waited so long to fill the decision-making positions, seek a better work / family balance and many are choosing to form their own businesses.

The demographic impact of the new generations

Since 1994-95, the economic impact of the new generations has become ever more apparent. Currently, companies are experiencing a new demographic boom, even more important than that of the baby boomers in the 50s and 60s. And, according to the latest United Nations studies, this situation will continue until 2100. Despite an aging population, North America will see steady growth in its population (from 396 million in 2015 to nearly 500 million in 2100).

It is the demographic boom in Africa though, that may have the most serious repercussions. Predictions for that continent show an explosion of births that will see the population soar from 1.2 billion in 2015, to 4.4 billion in 2100. This new birth boom will undoubtedly have an important influence on independent entrepreneurship.

Globally, Gen Y youth (born between 1980 and 1996) already represent nearly 2 billion people. This is more than a quarter of the world’s population. In 2015, in the United States, it officially became the largest demographic group. There were nearly 77 million young people under the age of 35 (according to the US Census Bureau). With the arrival of Gen Z, estimated at some 65 million people, new generations will represent more than 140 million Americans by 2030. (Read Also : Towards a New Baby Boom With The Generation Z)

The failure of the hierarchical model of organizations

The oldest millennials have started their own families, and they also show a greater concern for balance between work and family, favoring distance work and flexible schedules. Burdened with heavier debt than previous generations, they also feel a greater pressure to succeed quickly. From one job to another (often 6 to 7 jobs before reaching the age of 26, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gen Y youths have seen the failure of the current hierarchical model of organizations, while Gen X’ers no longer can no longer see their own possibilities for advancement.

Wrapping Up

As we have established, boomers finally decided to retire – or to turn to coaching and mentoring – and hand the reins over to Gen X. In theory, those more and better connected to new technologies than their elders (more than 80% of Generation X regularly use the Web and social media), should have more easily integrate new technologies in the transformation of their organization. However, this is not yet the case. Businesses and organizations are still slow to involve new generations in their transformation. And, this resistance of previous generations certainly contributes to the emergence of independent entrepreneurship. Of course though, surely the main driver is the reduction in numbers employed by corporations.

In this context, many young parents take the opportunity to leave their jobs, start their own businesses or work from home, utilizing the new web technologies and social media. Young millennials then launch their blogs, or promote their new products or services via different social platforms. Finally, they find the means to exploit their natural creativity and to innovate by using the new technologies. And, the natural entrepreneurial fiber of the new generations will continue to grow. This is what we will see in more detail in a future article.

Your Turn

What do you think? Do you believe that the future of entrepreneurship will be based on the new generations? Share your views on this idea by commenting on this article.


Images: Copyright: <‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_nenetus‘ / 123RF Stock Photo



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Raymond Morin

SMO Senior Consultant, Author/Blogger and Speaker at Virage 2.0
Strategic analyst / consultant for over 20 years, specializing in optimizing Web marketing / social media for businesses and organizations, Raymond Morin is also the author of three reference guides (in French), and co-author of three other books about digital marketing, public relations and human resources management. A recognized professional blogger, in both languages, he regularly presents and facilitates conferences for organizations, as well as in-house training workshops. In English, he contributes monthly to various platforms of professional bloggers and social media influencers. His next book, Generation C - Confluence Marketing at the Era of Connected Consumers, will be published next fall on Friesen Press Publishing.