We may be nearly halfway through the first month of 2016, and chances are it’s a little late to extend a “Happy New Year!” greeting so I’ll say thank you for reading our first blog post for for the year.
For many of us a new year is a time for making resolutions (those life changing things you make on 1 January and generally disregard until 31 December), reviewing the year that was (personally I think 2015 should have been called #everythingmustfallyear) and looking ahead with optimism to the year ahead. So what might 2016 hold for us entrepreneurially? Here are three thoughts based on some of the trends.
- The animals will roam the street
Not in real life, of course. Just in the lingo. From gazelles, to skunks, dolphins, butterflies, and the mythical horse-like creatures that made their appearance to such an extent that 2015 was dubbed the “Year of the Unicorn”. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the world of entrepreneurship is a zoo. In an earlier post, we spoke about the long-term economic impact that producing just one billion Rand turnover company (the so called African Lion) would have in South Africa. Once rare companies (startups valued at more than $1 billion and called unicorns) are reported to be so common in Silicon Valley that concerns around the sustainability of their growth instead of the usual preoccupation with their market caps are being raised. The unicorn may be under threat of extinction, but it’s only a matter of time before another creature emerges in the ever-changing world of animalpreneur lingo.
- But the kidpreneur will rise
Just ask Bruce Whitfield. Last year the business radio anchor launched the first kidpreneur challenge which carried a cash prize of R10 000 and encouraged South African children of school-going age to be entrepreneurial. The rationale for the challenge being that the sooner we get kids interested in entrepreneurship, the sooner we’ll have a generation of South Africans for whom building a business is as viable an option as getting a job. This year will be all about harnessing the generally disruptive and creative nature of children towards enterprising activity.
- And we’ll have a feminine future
This might appear a predictable prediction but there are numbers to support it. Last year’s SME survey reported that 78% of women-owned businesses were profitable, compared to 70% for men. Sadly this percentage would be even more impressive if there weren’t such huge gender imbalances in startups not only in SA but the rest of the continent too. As conditions gradually become more conducive to women having flexi-time in their corporate careers and having the adequate support to set up and run their businesses, then the picture will improve not just in service-related sectors where women entrepreneurs tend to be over represented. Both female employment and financial independence get a boost from women entrepreneurs because women tend to hire women.
Hindsight is a perfect science so we’ll only know how right (or wrong) these trends are at the end of the year. So until then we’ll take it one blog at a time. Good luck for all your endeavours this year!