Nowadays we are experiencing a tremendous upsurge of entrepreneurial spirit, and more start-up activity than ever before. Just in the UK according to the Financial Times, more than 500,000 businesses were being forged in 2013, according to figures from StartUp Britain. It is as if an entrepreneurial spirit contaminated us into doing what Mark Twain encited us to almost a century ago:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
The entrepreneurial spirit is so present in society of nowadays, that some have ventured to speak of an entrepreneurial renaissance. Renaissance was a cultural movement that happened between the 14th to the 17th century, having started in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. Renaissance, which is a french word meaning “re-birth” brought innovation to various fields, spanning from the social to the political until the artistic. Its achievements shaped society as we know it today. The men contributing to such renewal were polymaths, men such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. A polymath is a person whose expertise approaches a significant number of different subject areas: such a person is known to draw on a complex body of knowledge to solve specific problems.
It is easy to find the links between renaissance and the new movement of entrepreneurship happening in the highly technological society of nowadays. We live within the information society and with the internet it is now easier than ever to acquire the wealth of knowledge that can make us all become a polymath. Actually some of the most famous and interesting entrepreneurs of our time, embody the inventive and entrepreneurial spirit of the renaissance men, as is the case of Elon Musk, also engaged in fabricating wonderful flying machines in the world of today.
Another, is Creel Price a serial entrepreneurs and influencer, and an eager advocate of the terminology of entrepreneurial renaissance. Price founded the Entreprenaissance Movement, as he believes that we are at the threshold of what he hopes will be one day the start of a 21st century renaissance. Creel Price is considered to be one of the most dynamic business minds of our times. He co-found Blueprint Management Group by the age of 25 with just $5,000 in capital and sold it within a decade for over $100 million.
Price defines The Entreprenaissance as coming from the combination of two words: “Entrepreneur”: French word meaning ‘A person who starts a new project, opportunity or venture”, and “Renaissance”: meaning ‘revival or rebirth of learning and culture.’
According to Creel Price there are six frames of thinking that form a foundation for a new era of creation that is being led by a whole new set of words and ways of doing things:
Change – Renaissance not revolution: The need to revive past learning and culture to create a 21st century renaissance in order to change civilization for the better without the requirement of revolutionary force or alienating doctribe
Fullfilment – Passion not possession: The need to revive the pursuit of activities we are passionate about that makes us fulfilled, over and above our obsession for attaining more and more possessions.
Freedom – Vocation not vacation: The need to revive having the freedom to pursue a vocation that we love doing: when we want, with whom we want rather than living for the occasional vacation or retirement
Meaning – Purpose not pointless. The need to revive the attainment of meaning in our lives to satisfy our human spirits requirements for a significant motivating purpose, instead of living for the pointlessness of mere surviva.
Community – Cooperation not competition: the need to revive the leverage and pleasure from working in cooperation as a united community, as opposed to competing as self seeking individuals.
Legacy – Extraordinary not Ordinary: The need to revive aspiring to create a legacy, something so extraordinary that it defies all acceptable knowledge, yet doesn’t steal from future generations.
But who is behind this new kind of entrepreneurial spirit, that is fueled by a whole new set of values, so different from the ones of the big corporation world ?
In an article written for Fast Company, Shawn Graham tried to characterize the men and women standing behind the “renaissance” startup world saying that : “Technology has vaporized the chasm between big corporations and small businesses. Gen Y has flipped the way we think about work and our careers on its ear. The economy will continue to have its ups and downs and its recessions. In other words, it looks like the entrepreneurial renaissance might be here to stay.”
Gen Y is also called The Millenial generation. Millenials are characterized in a book written by William A. Draves and Julie Coates, entitled Nine Shift: Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century as having distinctly different behaviors, values and attitudes from previous generations, as a response to the technological and economic implications of the Internet. This group of individuals aren´t happy anymore with jobs and careers that imply sitting behind a desk passively doing monotonous work for a whole day and for all their working careers. Being tech savvy, many opted to start their own businesses taking advantage of the way the internet allows now anyone with a solid idea, basic technical skills, and an entrepreneurial mindset to easily set up a business online. These people are able to do multitasks and excel in various activities, just like the Renaissance Man. They are also the result of the economical situation of their times, as when they arrived to the job market they had to deal with a widespread recession.
The millenial generation embraces the set of values that Cree Price defined as the ones of entreprenaissance. Even though Price´s ideal entrepreneurs is still just a tiny part of the large landscape of ways to do businesses, I believe that start ups and entrepreneurs that follow up on this new set of values, will be the ones capable of disrupting the business world in a truly innovative way contributing to make us live in a better 21st century.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.