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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?

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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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