‘Change is the only constant’, such wisdom spoken by Greek philosopher Heraclitus more than 2500 years ago remains relevant to the modern world. In fact, even more pertinent. A study done by Global Entrepreneur Monitor (GEM) had found ASEAN to be the fastest growing entrepreneurial region. This is further supported by a VISA study that finds many ASEAN millennials have great ambition in starting their own business in the future. Entrepreneurship has become a dream of many in Asia, and changing trends can never be ignored.
1. Increasing Ease in Financing
Whilst angel investors and venture capitalists used to be an unknown term decades ago, it has became an essential to entrepreneurs when sourcing for funds today. The increasing avenues and ease for entrepreneurs to acquire funding has contributed greatly to the rising trend in entrepreneurship in the recent years. As more angel investors and VC firms continue to join the market, this will continue to encourage entrepreneurship in the coming years.
2. No Inventory
The rise of Uber and Airbnb are spectacular ones. Without owning any cars, Uber is now the biggest taxi company in the world. Without owning any property, Airbnb has revolutionised the entire globe into a hotel. With just a software tool, new business models are cutting massively on inventory costs. Such business model will be highly sought after by entrepreneurs, and will continue to change our lifestyle in the coming years.
3. Cooling of Venture Capital
The increasing ease in funding has definitely boosted entrepreneurship. However, since the third quarter of 2015, investors are becoming more discerning with their money. . With excessive funding in the past, entrepreneurs focused greatly on growth and expansion. Many even splurged on free food for staff and holidays abroad. However, the cooling of venture capital suggest that not only should startups have innovative business models, the business plan should shift from ‘growth at all costs’ to ‘building sustainable business.’
4. The Arrival of Generation Z
Generation Z consist of people born after the year 1994, also know as the generation born into technology. Unlike the Millennials, they did not experience the transition of technology replacement. They do not yearn for physical items, they yearn for more technology. As Generation Z begins to take centre stage, the focus will shift further into technology advancement. Being highly connected online, Generation Z is becoming the biggest influencer of the middle class, their growing purchasing power has also seen many entrepreneurs targeting this rising market.
5. Rise in Artificial intelligence
Computers are becoming exponentially better in performing many of our jobs. In 2016, computer beat the world’s best Go player, 10 years earlier than predicted. IBM Watson provides legal advice within seconds with 90% accuracy, compared to 70% accuracy of lawyers. The rise in artificial intelligence have greatly reduced the need for human capital of any entrepreneur, with higher efficiency and accuracy. This has made entrepreneurship even more attractive. Together with the use of artificial intelligence, who knows what new business models we can create?
In 1998, Kodak sold 85% of paper photos in the world and had 17,000 employees. Today, Kodak is almost unknown to many, and had faced bankruptcy in 2012. In the world of exponential technologies, together with the ever changing trends, entrepreneurs continue to navigate our world into a more convenient and efficient one.