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创业潮背后

Sophie Wade 2014年07月01日

统计数据显示,2013年,风投人士向3995家企业投入了294亿美元资金,投资额比上年增长了7%,所投资企业数量也增加了4%。业内人士认为,科技、金融和文化的发展共同促成了新一轮的创业热潮。

    迄今为止,经济复苏一直步伐迟缓,但经济前景中出现了一种令人感兴趣的潜在趋势,那就是在科技、金融和公司文化发展的共同推动之下,小公司的力量和杠杆水平不断上升。在这种情况下,人们纷纷离开大公司,尝试建立自己的企业,而且这个群体正在变得越来越多元化。

    如今,普通大众都能接触到平价计算机资源,也能通过互联网找到如同无主宝藏一般的信息和数据。新一代创业者可以把智能手机、平板电脑和价格不高的打印机连成网络,还能使用低成本仓储。在线软件和服务让创业者得以尽可能提升自己的能力,而且不会暴露自己公司的大小,从而让这些企业有了更大的覆盖范围和业务规模。

    这种情况对大公司来说是个双重打击。大公司的一体化系统很复杂,跟上技术发展的脚步对它们来说绝非易事,它们还发现自己很难为了满足商业需求而迅速做出反应。与之相反,动力十足的创业者能迅速做出调整,立即执行。他们可以在与别人共用的办公场地里灵活地扩张,还能受益于不断增长的弹性人才群体。

    此外,创新以及投资模式的增多给这些创业者提供了更多的融资方式。普通大众现在可以通过以捐赠为基础的众筹模式直接为创业者提供资金;面向可靠投资者的私募众筹正在成为种子资金的稳定来源;几十年来,孵化器、天使投资团体以及加速器层出不穷,许多大公司也通过与本行业相关的风投渠道在创新领域进行投资。随着楼市回暖,房屋产权再次成为企业融资的主要来源。

    Association)公布的MoneyTree报告显示,2013年,风投人士向3995家企业投入了294亿美元资金,投资额比上年增长了7%,所投资企业数量也增加了4%——处于各个发展阶段的公司都得到了更多的投资。

    企业文化也发生了改变。为了获得成功,以价值为基础的灵活的整体性文化正在成为不断发展变化的工作环境的关键组成部分,目的是为了吸引和留住顶尖人才。通过整体方案来解决工作和生活之间的平衡问题正在成为成功的创业方案和可持续的增长模式中很重要的一环。

    伦敦商学院(London Business School)在即将发布的研究报告中指出,到目前为止,80后一直是最明确强调这些文化演变的群体,表明他们正在积极设法提高工作的灵活性和可控性,而且希望从工作中发掘出更多的意义。美国人力资源管理学会(Society for Human Resource Management)预计,到2020年,80后将占劳动人口的近一半(46%),因此有必要满足他们的这些需求,以便制定出成功的发展规划。

    在这些新趋势的共同鼓舞和支持之下,一个人数更多、更为多元化也更加分散的创业者群体正在崛起。1996-2013年的考夫曼创业活动指数(Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity)显示,45-64岁群体在创业活动中所占的比例已经从2003年的22%上升到了2013年的53.4%;在此期间,拉丁裔人群创立的企业在创业活动中所占的比重从16%增加到了20%以上。针对创业的教育和培训项目正在让越来越多的初创型企业出现在圣路易斯、美国中西部、佛罗里达州和俄亥俄州这样的非传统创业地区。

    同时,女性创业者获得了更多的支持。在涵盖17个国家和地区的全球性别创业发展指数(Gender Global Entrepreneurship Development Index)上,美国在扶持很有潜力的女性创业者方面排名第一。美国风投研究中心(Cener for Venture Research)对2013年上半年天使投资市场的总结显示,在此期间,虽然只有15.9%的女性创业者在寻找天使投资,但她们的成功率为23.6%,高于整个市场21.5%的平均水平。这表明,那些帮助女性创业者找到投资者的措施已经开始见效。

    如今的创业者拥有足够的实体工具和虚拟工具,而且有越来越多的情感和环境方面的支持来帮助他们把自己的想法付诸实践,取得成功。所有的创业者都在只争朝夕,这是典型的美国式作风。

    本文作者索菲•韦德是Flexcel Network创始人兼首席执行官。这家公司经营着一个在线项目市场,目的是在成长型公司和老练的职业人士之间建立联系,同时提供弹性就业服务。韦德定期撰写文章并举办讲座,内容涉及弹性工作、工作的未来和多元化职业生涯。她拥有牛津大学中文硕士学位和欧洲工商管理学院MBA学位。(财富中文网)

    译者:Charlie

    It has been a laggard recovery thus far, but the economic outlook shows interesting potential. A combination of developments in technology, financing and corporate culture is behind the rising power and leverage of small companies. As a result, an increasingly diverse cross-section of individuals is leaving large organizations and pursuing the creation of their own businesses.

    The general population now has access to affordable computing and treasure troves of information and data via the Internet; new business owners can network their smart phones, touch-screen tablets and inexpensive printers, and leverage low cost storage. Online software tools and services allow entrepreneurs to maximize their capabilities and mask their size, giving their new ventures greater reach and scope.

    It has been a double strike against large organizations. Large companies, with their complex integrated systems, are struggling to keep up with the pace of technology developments and finding it hard to respond quickly to meet business demands. In contrast, empowered entrepreneurs can adapt and execute fast, expanding nimbly at co-working spaces and benefiting from the increasing pool of flexible talent.

    Also, funding options for entrepreneurs have increased through innovation and expanded investment parameters. The general public can now contribute directly through donation-based crowd funding; equity crowd funding for accredited investors is becoming a viable source of seed capital; incubators, angel groups and accelerators have multiplied over the past decade, and many large corporations invest in innovation through industry-relevant venture funding. Home equity has returned as a key source of business financing as the housing market improves.

    In 2013, venture capitalists invested $29.4 billion in 3,995 deals, up 7% in dollars and 4% in deals from a year earlier – total funds invested increasing at allstages of development, according to the MoneyTree Report by PwC and the National Venture Capital Association.

    Work culture has also changed. To be successful, a holistic culture – value-based and flexible – is becoming a critical component of the evolving work environment in order to attract and retain top talent. Taking an integrated approach to solving the challenging ‘work-life’ balance, this is emerging as an important component of a successful business plan and sustainable growth model.

    Millennials have been the most vocal group so far emphasizing these cultural changes with London Business Schools’ soon-to-be released study, indicating that millennials are actively seeking more flexibility, control and purpose at work. This generational group is forecast by the Society for Human Resource Management to be almost half (46%) the workforce by 2020, so successful growth plans necessitate addressing these needs.

    The confluence of these developments is encouraging and supporting the rise of a larger, more diverse and dispersed group of entrepreneurs.According to theKauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity 1996-2013, 45- to 64-year-olds’ share of new business activity rose 22% to 53.4% from 2003 to 2013; Hispanic-owned new enterprises increased from a 16% share to more than 20% during the same period; entrepreneurship-focused education and training programs are catalyzing business launches in St. Louis, the Midwest, Florida and Ohio, not traditionally entrepreneurial hubs.

    Meanwhile, there is more support for women entrepreneurs.The Gender Global Entrepreneurship Development Index ranks the US first, ahead of 16 other countries, for fostering high potential female entrepreneurship. While only 15.9% of women entrepreneurs sought angel investments in the first half of 2013, the acceptance rate was 23.6% — higher than the overall market’s 21.5%, according to theCenter for Venture Research’s summary of the Angel Investor Market Q1Q2 2013 This suggests that programs helping women get “investor ready” are yielding results.

    Entrepreneurs now have a toolbox replete with real and virtual tools and complemented by increasing emotional and environmental support to facilitate their ideas, journeys and successes. Quintessentially American, entrepreneurs of all kinds are seizing the day.

    Sophie Wade is founder and CEO of Flexcel Network, LLC. Flexcel operates an online project marketplace connecting growth companies with vetted professionals, and also provides flex placement services. She writes and speaks regularly about flexible work, the future of work and diversified careers. Sophie has an MA from Oxford University in Chinese and an MBA from INSEAD.

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