A Brief History of Entrepreneurship
By: Kayla Stevens 02/05/2015
Apple, Google, Microsoft - what do they all have in common? Sure, they are all monumental testaments to the power of American business, but to what do they owe their success? The answer is rather simple. They were started by dedicated entrepreneurs who were ready to make their mark on the world. In fact, take a look at virtually any reputable business in any modern market and you will quickly see that they are driven by the desire to not just function, but to constantly improve. A simple definition might describe an entrepreneur as a person who creates a business at their own risk, and it is certainly not incorrect. The essence, though, lies in a combination of market knowledge, thorough planning, and an adventurous mindset that sees opportunity at every turn.
Entrepreneurship is hardly a recent concept. Throughout history, it has taken countless forms, though the essence has remained the same. Examine the history behind any given city and its local economy; an entrepreneur was involved and played no small part. However, with the dawn of industrialization in certain markets, particularly American ones, business creation and growth experienced a massive boon. National and local economies grew, and an ever-increasing amount of potential business giants fought to stake their claim. Those who were successful relied upon unique ideas and practices that differentiated themselves from their peers. The result? A historically gradual increase in standards, as well as quality. Take a look at any given product or service people use on a regular basis; their popularity is directly related to the uniqueness of the product, as well as the ethos of the company.
Here in Chicago, rapid business expansion served as the basis of the city. A rapidly expanding economy and a growing workforce resulted in massive growth, attracting people throughout the country. Political turmoil aside, the early 20th century offered countless opportunities for businesses to flourish and grow. Many of these companies were founded by entrepreneurs whose legacies remain in the form of successful businesses across the city.
As for the current day, an ever-changing and occasionally tumultuous economy has left its mark on business practices. The standards and risks for any startup are higher than ever, especially in urban hubs such as Chicago. A can-do attitude is helpful, though it must be accompanied by great skill and dedication. In a September 2014 Gallup study, the required talents of an entrepreneur were explored, ultimately displaying the notion that an entrepreneur is no mere businessman, but rather a uniquely motivated and talented person. It is because of this that entrepreneurs are making a name for themselves while finding success across the nation. Potentially great businesses are finding it easier to secure funding, and as a result, Chicago (alongside many other cities) is looking at an exciting and promising future.