The rise of the “minipreneur”

The excellent has recently noticed the trend minipreneurs. Minipreneurs are individuals using the available business, production and distribution platforms to run their small business. Some of them are picking together their platforms from parts available as building-block business services on the Internet, others are using the availability of free software and cheap web hotels and some just start by using exisiting platform like e.g. the online auction site eBay. A recent US survey tells us that 724.000 americans have their primary or secondary income source from eBay. A Mastercard study states that there are about 5 million “Web-driven entrepreneurs” in US representing 25% of all small business.

In an article some time ago in MIT Technology Review (The Tech Boom 2.0), the author noted that (at least a class of) entrepreneurship, which have been restricted by the availability of venture capital, not will be so for much longer. The availability of high quality Open Source software decrease the time (and then required money) for an entrepreneur to actually create something that works.

The driving forces behind this trend is of course the communication possibilities which opens up for markets of both building blocks to potential entrepreneurs and
also a market place for the global market of potential 6 billion consumers. Trendwatching notes some other important driving forces behind this trend as well.

  • The strive to be in control of your own destiny (and your income) in turbulent times
  • Enterprising is chic
  • The risks of trying are much smaller than traditional entrepreneurship
  • There is a market for the unusual (see the trend Nouveau niche) – there is a market for the creations of the Generation C (a recently noted trend from Trendwatching)

Where is this trend going? It is obvious that this is just another evidence for larger macrotrend that it becomes shorter distance between idea and realization. The individual is stepwise becoming more powerful in acting when we add new tools to extend the brain.

Who are the losers and winners here? We will definitively see more sneaking cutting-ins into value chains by individuals and small businesses who see a possibility earn money. This will be a risk for all those who are selling directly to consumers. The long term winners (as usual) will probably be those who provide the tools to all those gold diggers out there.