With the economy in a holding pattern and the global markets in turmoil, most normal people are probably saying to themselves, “now is not the time to start a new business.” They’ll do the prudent thing and wait until the markets show signs of stabilization. Then, maybe, just maybe, they’ll consider the risk of going out on their own.
But entrepreneurs are not normal people. Risk-takers at heart and adrenaline junkies by trade, waiting for optimal market conditions is not part of their DNA.
It’s common knowledge that entrepreneurs have a high level of creativity, energy and independence. Nerves of steel is another characteristic, especially for those entrepreneurs who have been through the startup cyclemore than once. “I just love it, it’s so much sport,” says Rod Drury, who has started several tech firms and is currently CEO of an online accounting portal. “It’s really intoxicating.”
That feeling might be catching. How else to explain the increase in the number of business schools in the U.S. offering entrepreneurship classes; it has grown to more than 2,000 from just 16 in 1970. Today’s generation of students, who have little confidence there will be a job waiting for them once they do graduate, are planning ahead. “One of our freshman students recently told me he saw his dad lose his job after 25 years, and he said he would rather put his future in his own hands than in somebody else’s,” says Rebecca White, director of the Florida Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Tampa Sykes College of Business.
The good news for these students? Incubators and accelerators are actively looking for the next big thing. From long-established companies like Johnson & Johnson— which recently announced plans to startup pharmaceutical and medical device companies — to Y-Combinator – who since it was founded six years ago has nurtured more than 300 entrepreneurs by investing small amounts of money — the impact on innovation is being felt around the world.
So, yes, these are uncertain, unpredictable times. But waiting for the economy to improve isn’t what entrepreneurs do. Improving the economy: That’s what they do.