The Washington Post

In 2013, a search for entrepreneurship where it hasn’t traditionally been found

For many Americans, the term “entrepreneurship” evokes images of people like Mark Zuckerberg and places like Silicon Valley. But next year, expect start-up enthusiasts and government leaders to push for new business formation among demographics and in cities not traditionally known for producing entrepreneurs.

Startup America, a public-private initiative intended to accelerate high-growth businesses across the country, is among those leading the charge to dismiss the notion that tomorrow’s next big company must come out of start-up hotspots like Austin, Tex. or New York City. Over the past year, the group has launched regional chapters in 30 states, and the team is planning to set up at least another half dozen in early 2013, hoping to boost the number of entrepreneurs and high-growth firms in those regions.

“I believe Silicon Valley will remain the most important entrepreneurial ecosystem, but in the next decade we’ll see an acceleration of innovation and entrepreneurship all across the nation,” Startup America Chairman Steve Case wrote in a blog post earlier this month. “As the cost of starting companies continues to decline, and connectivity makes it easier for entrepreneurs to hire the best talent from across the U.S., the ‘rise of the rest’ will give entrepreneurs more flexibility to start companies where they prefer to live.”

The declining cost of entry, thanks in large part to technology like cloud computing and inexpensive social media marketing, has also made entrepreneurship more accessible to individuals who in past years may not have been able to afford the risk of starting a business.

RELATED: Washington’s start-up engine gaining momentum

Through its Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), which provides federal funding to help low-income individuals start and operate their businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration this past year awarded 127 grants to business development organizations in 43 states and the District of Columbia, more than double the 58 grants it doled out in 2011.

Meanwhile, the agency is making a new push to promote entrepreneurship among the nation’s aging population of baby boomers, many of whom they hope will elect to start businesses after they retire. The SBA formally teamed up with AARP this past summer on a new initiative intended to encourage what they call “encore entrepreneurs.”

“Millions of Americans keep dreaming of owning their own business as a second or third career, using their creative talents to do productive work that also helps them gain economic stability as they move toward retirement,” AARP chief executive A. Barry Rand said following the announcement of the partnership.

In the U.S., the self-employment rate for adults 55 and older has been on the rise for roughly a decade, now up to 16.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor. Rand and SBA officials said they hope to accelerate the trend by offering targeted counseling and training resources designed specifically for an older generation of business owners.

Follow J.D. Harrison and On Small Business on Twitter.

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Program turns prisoners into poets
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
Play Videos
The signature dish of Charleston, S.C.
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
The most interesting woman you've never heard of
Play Videos
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
The art of tortilla-making
A man committed to journalism, caught in the crossfire
Play Videos
Tips for (relatively) stress-free dining out with kids
How to get organized for back to school
How the new credit card chip makes purchases more secure

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.