Entrepreneurship is as embedded into the idea of America as life, liberty, and Big Macs. It is an expression of the country’s ideals, like prosperity and access to upward social mobility. A beacon of hope, the US represented a haven for those seeking freedom to take ownership of their lives, whether religious or economic freedom. In many ways, entrepreneurship is a tangible manifestation of those same ideas.
Entrepreneurship is also integral to the development of society. New businesses drive innovation and are necessary to the evolution of society. From the industrial revolution to the technological revolution, entrepreneurs were fueled by entrepreneurs creating new, more efficient ways to meet life’s needs, tackle life’s challenges, and create new demands, new challenges, and new possibilities.
In 2021 there are competing narratives about the state of entrepreneurship in the United States. On the one hand, Kauffman Foundation research shows that entrepreneurship has declined over the last few decades, according to US Census Data. With more businesses dying out than are created, Kauffman Foundation estimates a 44% decline in entrepreneurship between the years 1978–2012. Generational differences, skewed demand due to a more slowly growing population, lack funding, skills, and legal infrastructure are cited as the most common roadblocks to early-stage startups.
There’s a different perspective, though. Perhaps entrepreneurship isn’t declining but instead transforming and becoming more selective. While the rate of new firms being created in the US has slowed, maybe the metric by which we track the formations of new firms has changed. This could happen for a couple of reasons. The startups of the past are now the megabrands of today. Large chains, franchises, and established brands make it difficult for new startups to gain traction. Instead of simply providing new services, startups today need to leverage technology, quality, and innovation to stand out. It’s not enough to be unique, and you have to change the game.
Whatever the reason, it’s crucial to keep the spirit of entrepreneurship alive, and there are definite challenges to maintain it. Dan Offner recognized this and the struggles that startups face at their conception. Often the challenges these early-stage startups face are in direct contradiction to their solutions. For example, to be adequately prepared for venture capitalists, a startup should enlist legal counsel. But, this could cost upwards of $700 per hour, a bill most startups are not prepared to pay. However, without some guidance, newly forming firms struggle to mature.
Dan Offner searched for a better way to help entrepreneurs stuck in this position to broaden their reach and accessibility so more individuals with potential for significant growth can succeed. With a focus on education, startupprogram.com is an online platform that uses technology to empower entrepreneurs to learn the early-stage logistics and get started on the right path. In this podcast, we talk about the inspiration behind startupprogram.com, how this changes the games for startup companies, and its impact on entrepreneurship on a broader scale. Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and check out links/show notes.