You've Come a Long Way, Baby

A new picture is emerging of the American entrepreneur

How much have entrepreneurs changed over the years? A lot, it turns out, according to a study undertaken by the National Commission on Entrepreneurship.

In 1917 the median age of successful entrepreneurs was 40, vs. 26.5 in 1997. Why? They had to accumulate savings -- and so, not surprisingly, they had more experience in their industry. Years ago, starting a business was for those with few other options. But today's entrepreneurs usually have myriad opportunities, and experience isn't a defining factor. As for savings, entrepreneurs now come from wealthier backgrounds.

Younger, wealthier, less hidebound -- it just might add up to new and improved.

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