Martin Warner, one of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs, speaks to CEO Today about what trends we can expect to see in entrepreneurialism next year.
Anyone who has braved the wilds of entrepreneurship understands it takes courage and grit to make it, and this is especially true of ventures in a new field. But, despite these challenges, enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism remains high in the UK.
Alongside my other business ventures, I run Entrepreneur Seminar, a mentorship and education programme for entrepreneurs, and have seen first-hand the significant pent-up demand from people across the country who are employed in full-time jobs but want to branch out and start their own business next year.
We recently surveyed more than 8,000 people, most of them employed in SMEs and found that 68% are considering starting a business. The main reason, given by more than seven out of ten, was to increase their financial wealth – highlighting the continuing confidence in entrepreneurialism despite the difficulties posed in the last 18 months.
So, with this in mind, what are the key trends for entrepreneurialism in 2022 and what sectors are ripe for innovation next year?
Sustainability must be at the heart of any start-up
The relationship between climate change and business is undeniable and, following increasing government pressure on the private sector, more companies are trying to boost their sustainability credentials. Microsoft announced plans to become carbon negative by 2030 in January last year, while Unilever, a COP26 sponsor, is attempting to reach net-zero by 2039. However, the sustainability agenda is not solely for industry monoliths, with start-ups playing a crucial role in the push for net-zero. The business benefits of adopting a green mindset are numerous and well-documented, with the CBI commenting last month that the UK’s climate targets are creating a “new industrial revolution”.
The most rapidly emerging sectors recognise this and are offering solutions that are both innovative and environmentally friendly, such as eVTOL – electric vertical flight technology, or air taxis, as they are more prosaically known – which is now forecasted to be worth $9 trillion in the next two decades.
Entrepreneurs must understand that sustainability is now tied to resilience since resilience means being able to adapt and survive in the long term. Any business that ignores sustainability is unlikely to do well in this age of conscious entrepreneurialism.
The emergence of new avenues of funding
The way businesses generate funding is also changing. New platforms and mechanisms have emerged that connect entrepreneurs with investors and donors, such as crowdfunding, initial coin offerings (ICOs), tokenisation and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
Several of these new avenues of funding are driven by the decentralised finance movement, where financial services – such as borrowing and trading – occur in a peer-to-peer network, via a public decentralised blockchain network.
While many entrepreneurs will still opt for the traditional route to raise capital, the emergence of new ways to source funding could help stimulate a new generation of entrepreneurs and allow more people than ever to take the plunge and start their own businesses.
Mentorship is more important than ever
If there’s anything I’ve learned over my 25-year career, it is that other people’s opinions are invaluable when launching a start-up and, with entrepreneurs facing more challenges than ever, I expect mentorship to be a key trend in 2022. Any would-be entrepreneur must remember there is huge value in having another experienced entrepreneur or business owner to turn to for advice and support.
Entrepreneurship can be lonely and incredibly stressful sometimes, particularly if you are trying to launch a sustainable business that is eco-friendly, resilient and adaptable in the face of the pandemic.
Mentors deeply relate to the situations and issues you will face and the challenges of entrepreneurship. They recognise the skills and characteristics needed to be a success and have direct experience of making the challenging decisions you will need to make as a start-up founder.
About the author: Martin Warner is one of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs, renowned for having built and sold his 3D printing business botObjects for $50 million in a record-breaking 17 months, Martin Warner is a global thought leader on entrepreneurship and a business mentor, educator, inventor, film producer, and investor. Having taught entrepreneurship for 20 years to thousands of people, Martin now shares his thought leadership, teachings, and coaching through his education program, Entrepreneur Seminar.