Intuit Study Foresees Profiles of Small Business as Radically Different in 2017

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The face of small business will dramatically change as seasoned baby boomers, kids fresh out of high school, mid-career women, “mompreneurs” and new immigrants come together to create the most diverse pool of entrepreneurs ever. Those are among the key findings of the groundbreaking Intuit Future of Small Business Report™, a unique study that looks forward 10 years and examines the prospects, influences and profiles of small business.

The first installment of the study, sponsored by Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) and authored by the Institute for the Future, was released today. It focuses on new entrepreneurs who break the mold, the coming proliferation of personal businesses and the emergence of entrepreneurship education. Two upcoming installments will examine the technologies that will propel the small business sector and how small businesses will affect society and the economy through 2017.

Greater Diversity by 2017

The first installment concludes that the newest entrepreneurs will be far more diverse than their predecessors in age, origin and gender. By 2017, the white, middle-aged men who traditionally launch small businesses will be outnumbered by Generation Yers – those born after 1982 – women, immigrants and “un-retiring” baby boomers opting for entrepreneurship as a second career.

The report identifies three major trends: the changing face of small business, the rise of personal business and the emergence of entrepreneurial education. Those trends led to five major findings:

· Entrepreneurs will no longer come predominantly from the middle of the age spectrum, but instead from the edges. People nearing retirement and their children just entering the job market will set the bar as the most entrepreneurial generation ever.

· American entrepreneurship will reflect a huge upswing in the number of women. The glass ceiling that has limited women’s growth in traditional corporate career paths will send a rich talent pool to the small business sector.

· Immigrant entrepreneurs will drive a new wave of globalization. U.S. immigration policy and the outcome of the current immigration debates will affect how this segment performs over the next decade.

· Contract workers, accidental and social entrepreneurs will fuel a proliferation of personal businesses. Economic, social and technological change – and an increased interest in flexible work schedules – will produce a more independent workforce seeking a better work-life balance.

· Entrepreneurship will be a widely adopted curriculum at educational, trade and vocational institutions. As a result, artists, musicians and others not traditionally exposed to business education will learn not just their trade but small-business management skills as well.

“The next decade will see small and personal businesses become increasingly important sources of employment, economic growth and innovation,” said Steve King, senior advisor at the Institute for the Future and study co-author. “Leading small and personal businesses will be a diverse group of Americans, including young adults – even teens, women, immigrants and aging baby boomers.”

The study represents the first time that a wide set of business and demographic trends have been consolidated.

“Until now, the picture for American small businesses has been a fragmented set of statistics and forecasts,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president of Intuit’s small business division. “By putting the pieces together we’ve shown how different this sector may look in the future. These businesses may be small, but the changes in store will be anything but.”

Face of Future Entrepreneurs

Many baby boomers nearing retirement age will launch new businesses in far greater numbers than their counterparts from earlier generations, the study found. Their motivation: diminished job security, disappearing pensions and health benefits, and the need to match savings with longer life expectancies.

Many of their children will follow suit, becoming the most entrepreneurial generation in American history. Generation Yers view entrepreneurship as a way to maintain independence by owning their own careers. They are remarkably well-suited to the emerging entrepreneurial environment in which social and professional networks intermingle, information is ubiquitous and the inner workings of the economy are far more transparent.

Women will increasingly turn to entrepreneurship. Among them: “mompreneurs” – mothers who start part-time, home-based businesses, often with the help of the Internet. These personal businesses, as the one-person sector is sometimes called, will be launched by people who may not even consider themselves small business owners.

A new breed of immigrant entrepreneurs will turn to the Internet to launch business, using their language skills, strong educations, multi-country contacts and professional experience to form international partnerships.

Shift Away from Traditional Employment