Liam McGee, CEO and chairman of The Hartford Financial Service Group, says today's entrepreneurial culture is like nothing he's ever seen in his four decades in the business world. And the world is on the verge of an explosion in entrepreneurial growth.
McGee's observations were recently surfaced in an Inc. article by Gene Marks, a successful entrepreneur in his own right. McGee believes that entrepreneurs are now leading the economy:
"In the last 20 years, you've seen an historically unprecedented level of small business creation and success. You have an economy now that's driven by entrepreneurs. There's a tremendous amount of liquidity that could be potentially available. There's a pent-up urge to do something."
McGee's optimism is underpinned by a recent survey conducted by The Hartford, which finds small business optimism is on the upswing. Close to half, 48 percent, feel the national economy will strengthen this year -- up from 33 percent a year ago. Overall, most small business owners (70 percent) believe that their business is currently operating successfully.
The only thing holding the boom back right now is the circus in Washington.
What's different now than four decades ago, or four years ago for that matter? Marks outlines reasons to be optimistic that an entrepreneurial boom is unfolding:
More startup communities, and thus, more peer-to-peer assistance and support.
More funding sources: "There are more sources of capital than ever before--from community banks to angel investors, venture capitalists, and crowdfunders," says Marks.
Cheap and widely available technology: Marks mentions collaboration tools, social media outlets and mobile devices that connect people of all means across the globe. In addition, there is a vast array of cloud-based resources and tools from which one can build a fully operational business. 3D printing is another example of a means to develop cheap manufacturing facilities in the same room where a product idea is formulated.
Increasing amounts of natural energy: There have been enormous leaps in alternative energies, and North America is producing record levels of oil and natural gas. In early October, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that the U.S. is overtaking Russia as the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas.
Along with Marks' observations, we would be remiss if we overlooked the most significant driver of the entrepreneurial economy: people seeking better opportunities and outlets for their creativity. Members of the workforce are becoming increasingly educated, and at the same time, frustrated and uncertain about their traditional jobs with employers. Combined with digital resources and community support, many of these professionals either already are or will soon be exploring entrepreneurial opportunities.