The following piece by Startup Weekend CEO Marc Nager was originally published on the Huffington Post Small Business blog on Friday, February 22nd.
We are witnessing the birth of a true industry around entrepreneurship.
Initially, earlier stages of the entrepreneurial movement were largely built on acts of goodwill, passionate volunteers, and visionary advocates. However, it has become overwhelmingly apparent that entrepreneurship is not just a “trend” (try searching “startup bubble” and scrolling through the countless articles rendered by this search topic in 2011 alone) — and it is clear why: Entrepreneurship, the notion that anyone, anywhere, can pursue something they are passionate about, is something so innately human that its manifestation worldwide is nothing short of natural, rewarding, and sustainable. We live in a world where innovation and the pursuit of solving real problems has never never had such a high level of support.
Entrepreneurship is a critical component within any community or culture aiming to foster the innovation and creativity that leads to growth and prosperity. Companies, governments, and institutions understand the ROI on entrepreneurship, and it will be this understanding that secures the reality of a sustainable industry built around entrepreneurship. In 2012, we saw the entrepreneurial movement take hold in political agendas, Fortune 500 boardrooms, and institutional programs at an unprecedented rate. While there have always been early adopters in these sectors, we’ve seen an appetite for discussing the importance of creating and fostering entrepreneurs and a new hunger for the programs that will help drive action.
With an unwavering demand for entrepreneurial resources, it is time to begin building a structure of support within local communities. A key first step in achieving meaningful structure is to unite, empower, and elevate the visions of leaders. Within communities, states, countries, regions, and the world, we should work aggressively towards the consolidation of related activities and resources and a new level of interconnectivity between leaders and community members. With cohesion and collaboration as the glue within communities, we will see the authentic power of the movement’s leaders.
The demand for an industry around entrepreneurship will have lasting, multi-faceted benefits: Entrepreneurs will be better supported to generate jobs, and entrepreneurial resources will become profit centers for those willing to take action and deliver. We’re on the cusp of a great opportunity for those willing to recognize the value of entrepreneurship and the demand for tools that make more capable entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurial movement has graduated to an entire new class of individuals across the globe; we’ve witnessed the reality that entrepreneurial values transcend borders and unite individuals from any background in the name of empowerment and innovation. Indeed, we have become the entrepreneurial generation, or at the very least, the generation most aware of the profound importance and influence that entrepreneurs have on our economies, societies, and on our world.