This blog post from The Economist looks at the rise of young entrepreneurs in emerging markets and notes a shift in these countries from old fashioned ‘seniority’ systems and job security to a new respect for youthful risk and innovation. The median age in some emerging markets is well under 30 (though China’s is rising rapidly) compared to high 30s in the ‘West’ and a staggering 49 in Japan. The author sees this as one of the forces driving a “pro-entrepreneurial revolution”. He also credits programs by the World Bank, World Economic Forum and Microsoft for their encouragement, and even Goldman Sachs with its $100m program for female entrepreneurs, mainly in emerging countries.
It’s nice to see the ‘BRIC’ acronym extended once again to ‘BRICI’, including Indonesia in the emerging giant category. This region has 610 million internet users on predominantly mobile platforms, and the number is projected to double by 2015. Access to information is no doubt helping the cultural shift as young people begin to understand what is possible. Each emerging market still has its own unique obstacles and challenges, however, and some will ride the transformative wave better than others.
One thing though: In the first paragraph, the article describes Indian company Globals as the kind of business Westerners “simultaneously admire and fear”. While this may be true, fear of the young and new leads to incorrect responses like protectionism, anger and crippling regulation, and eventual doom for the establishment. Future profits will go to the fearless in all markets.