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About Face

The face of entrepreneurship has evolved over the years, and today, it's dramatically different. But what will the entrepreneur of the future look like?

This story appears in the January 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Fifty years ago, the typical entrepreneur was relatively homogenous and static. He was usually a white man, sometimes working together with his family, who owned a small Main Street retail shop or a local manufacturing company. He knew most of his clients, and his company focused on local goods and services.

Today, much has changed. America's entrepreneurs are much more diverse racially, gender-wise and age-wise, and an increasing number are starting service businesses rather than manufacturing or retail companies. Economists, sociologists and small-business experts say the key trends in American entrepreneurship-growing diversity, an aging work force, a preference for starting companies that fit personal lifestyles, and a move into higher-value, global industries-are only likely to accelerate in the coming years. A decade from now, they say, the entrepreneur of the future will be drastically different from even today's business owners.

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