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  • Writer's pictureThe Eagle

OPINION: America's Entrepreneurial Revolution

By Skyllar Hodges -- Eagle Staff Writer

A meeting taking place with entrepreneurs at the CoLab in Roanoke. This facility helps entrepreneurs start their business and the basis of what it will become. (Courtesy photo by: Eric Russ)

There are 31 million entrepreneurs in the United States, 783,000 entrepreneurs in Virginia, and 3,994 entrepreneurs in Franklin County. Entrepreneurship is on the rise in your very own backyard, and no one is realizing the impact it leaves. We are in an Entrepreneurial Revolution.

So, what is an Entrepreneurial Revolution? This is a term used to describe who entrepreneurs are and what they are doing within the community or even the world. They take risks to do the things they love, make money, and create a successful business. This mindset is becoming a key part in how our economy is evolving for the better.

The rise of entrepreneurship is partly attributed to the pandemic that we all mainly experienced between 2019 - 2021. One of the many devastating outcomes of the pandemic was shutting down a number of businesses to accommodate the new regulations put into place due to the spread of COVID-19. Unemployment rates skyrocketed, resulting in a wave of entrepreneurs starting their own businesses to make their own incomes so that they can provide for their families. Now that COVID-19 has settled down, we are still seeing demands that need to be met to flourish the ever-changing needs from society.

Many parents and grandparents are telling their children to go to college to be successful and that they need a degree to make big money, but that’s not necessarily the truth. Today we have many successful entrepreneurs who aren’t using their degree, or didn’t even go to college, that are just as successful as a lawyer, doctor, or politician. I believe that there is a negative connotation about skipping college because it is an American dream that not every grandparent or parent was able to achieve in their life.

Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts a small business expo to showcase businesses in the area, so that others can see what the businesses offer. (Courtesy photo: Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce)

Part of becoming an entrepreneur for some people would mean to use the money for a college degree on the startup of your business instead. Entrepreneurship is a risk that a person needs to be willing to take in order to become successful in their business by meeting a demand for the people. The first risk an entrepreneur could be willing to take is not going to college, but putting that money towards a new business. Entrepreneurship is on the rise and is carving a new way of being successful.

Many entrepreneurs encourage the idea of jumping into creating one's very own business rather than going to college. Ndubuisi Ekekwe who is a Nigerian entrepreneur and professor wrote in an article for the Harvard Business Review, “If some dropouts excelled without college degrees, why must a kid entrepreneur pass through college and get rewarded with an average debt of $250,000?” Why spend $100,000 on a college education when you can spend that much on your own business, and come back and earn twice as much from your business?

But it’s not just about the money. Entrepreneurship has also been a big part of the American experience. Being an entrepreneur is important to America because we were founded as a capitalist society, so it creates new opportunities for making money, new jobs, and expanding the country. We have gone through a similar time like this during the Industrial Revolution. We made machinery, assembly lines, factories, and a wave of new inventions to meet our country's demands and expand our economy and employment. This is the heart of capitalism, and it's a key example to describe what is going on in our economy today.

Changing times create changing demands, which call for ever-changing responses. Entrepreneurship will generate reliable employment that will continue to change with the job, so it will always be available. This idea creates a concept called, “Creative Destruction.” This is a theory from a socio-economist named Joseph A. Schumpeter. Joseph A. Schumpeter stated creative destruction is a , "process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

Many Americans are creating their own businesses in their communities to provide income, employment, and opportunities. This is the new American dream that will prosper into something greater as the years go by. As Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

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