Entrepreneurs and small business owners have generated more than 65 percent of self-employment growth nationwide over the past two decades, according to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. The expanding number of start-ups in high-tech sectors alone account for nearly 50 percent of job creation each year. Experts say the power of entrepreneurship is being felt in Los Angeles, a fast-developing pole star of innovation.

(Photo Courtesy of Barney Santos)

(Photo Courtesy of Barney Santos)

“Nearly $5 billion have been invested in start-ups between 2009 and 2013,” said Barney Santos, an adjunct lecturer in the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Los Angeles. “With this kind of investment comes economic growth in the form of high-paying technical jobs, community development, new wealth creation and a lot of taxable dollars that fund programs for the city of Los Angeles.”

How has the need for tech start-ups progressed since 2012?

“Investor confidence is gaining traction, which helps L.A. retain tech-savvy talent and develop the creative ecosystem we need to thrive in this new innovation economy.”

How will an entrepreneur’s position change by 2022?

“An entrepreneur’s role is to develop the vision, gather the best resources to execute that vision and do whatever it takes to lead the team towards constant growth, while maximizing potential profits. That probably won’t change, but think about this. Seven years ago, Uber, Airbnb and Oculus Rift didn’t exist. So, whatever challenges lie ahead will be determined by the technology being currently developed today by these entrepreneurs.”

How should entrepreneurs plan for a sustainable career?

“Nothing can really prepare you for the roller-coaster ride that is entrepreneurship. Even I have challenges with my startup, Gentefy. The best thing to do is find some mentors, gain access to start-up training or practical workshops, plug yourself into ecosystem events and just jump right into it, because the best learning is done while doing.”

What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?

“Stop aspiring to be an entrepreneur and go be one by talking to customers, understanding their big problem and building a solution that they’re willing to pay for. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get started today.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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