In recognition of National Small Business Week, Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, released the following statement:
“New research from the Pew Research Center shows that 71 percent of Americans say small businesses have a positive effect on the way things are going in this country, more than any of the 13 sectors the group asked about. At the bottom of the list are large corporations (64 percent said negative), the federal government (65 percent), Congress (65 percent) and banks and financial institutions (69 percent negative).”
In a recent article in the Wilson Quarterly, Margaret Graham notes that two generations ago, folks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates — entrepreneurs who built monolithic organizations — would have been viewed as marginal, even perhaps disreputable figures. Today, they are heroes of industry, having taken their entrepreneurial creativity to a new level in corporate America. They made the corporation entrepreneurial. Beneath the big umbrella that is Apple or Microsoft are hundreds of inter-relationships with small firms, creative units and enterprising individuals.
Could it be that the little guys have taught the big guys a thing or two? The fact is that all through history, it’s been the entrepreneurs who gave birth to the revolutionary ideas that revolutionized a nation. Think Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Whereas the emphasis in that era was to grow big, create systems of mass production and take those innovations to an eager nation, the emphasis now is on agility, response to innovation and adapting to new market demands. The idea of entrepreneurship as a disruptive force has gone from a negative connotation to a positive one.
Regardless of the time, generation, economy or environment, whether they are viewed as villains or heroes, entrepreneurs have changed the course of history in more ways than we can fathom.