The media love to claim it’s the Year of the Something every spring – and not in the Chinese New Year sense, either.
For many years the headlines have focused on mobile technology, from smartphones to tablets and beyond that to smartwatches too.
But in 2016, there are a few forces combining to make it the Year of the Entrepreneur in a way that has not previously been seen.
A Year of Ambition
First of all, Generation Y – also known as Millennials – are coming of age in terms of their careers, with many looking to move on from the early stages of their employment.
This is a generation raised on the belief that they can have it all, and in many cases that means they want a successful career, but with the freedom of working for themselves.
Platforms like social media have given individuals a voice, and in many cases a personal brand in their own right, with hundreds, thousands and even millions of followers in some instances.
It is genuinely realistic for any reasonably capable person to launch themselves into business in their own right – and the business world is responding to this realisation by creating more opportunities for them to do so.
A Year of Opportunity
Following a protracted recession and several years of a stagnant economy, the green shoots are finally starting to bear fruit, creating tangible market opportunities in many different sectors.
Alongside this return to more normal levels of activity, there is a boost in services associated with the burgeoning economy itself, such as advertising, marketing and market research.
In an upward cycle, there will always be demand for those services that help growing firms to win a greater share of the potential market, and to build their customer base as consumers and business buyers alike have larger budgets to spend.
Entrepreneurial spirit is crucial to this – not just recognising that larger (and in some cases, completely new) markets exist, but having the wherewithal to go after those prospects even if it means taking a gamble in the first instance.
A Year of Adaptation
The economy has emerged from recession before, with traditional employment accounting for the majority of people returning to work – so why should 2016 be any different?
It is in part because this is the Millennial generation, a cohort of savvy consumers and candidates who are willing to hold out for the job they want and deserve, rather than take the first vacancy available.
Modern opinions about work-life balance and professional freedoms are driving this desire, but it is no bad thing for employers either.
While it may mean it is harder to find the ideal permanent employee, the new found flexibility in many markets is removing the need to employ people on a permanent basis at all.
Rather, the entrepreneurial spirit of many candidates is leading them to embrace self-employed and contract roles, putting all of their energy into achieving immediate success in each new position.
This provides quick gratification for the firms who employ them in this way, while satisfying the Millennial thirst for new challenges and personal growth – ambitions that many individuals of all ages will be seeking in 2016.